Kate Davies Ásta Sóllilja Sweater from her book Yokes. I got the book for Christmas and although this wasn't initially my first choice to knit, it became the pattern that I kept coming back to. Cardigans are a useful everyday (workwear) staple for me but I have been wearing, and loving my Ysolda sweater so much that I decided another beautiful sweater would have its place.
It was SO HARD to select yarn colours for this project. Looking at finished versions on Ravelry, most people have selected the same colours as Kate. I can see why, because I love her colours and they work beautifully together. You can read her post here in which she talks about the rationale for the choice - a dark blue to the bottom to blend in with dark trousers or skirt, plus shimmering shades of blue and grey.
However I wanted a sweater that was different from everyone else - that’s one of reasons to knit, right? I used the recommended yarn (for once!), which is Icelandic Lett Lopi. I ordered a swatch booklet/shade card from Carreg Yarns (£3.80 inc. P&P) because it was hard to decide without seeing the yarns in person. Yarn was ordered from Deramores as it was cheapest there, at £2.69 per 50g ball plus free postage.
I highly recommend getting a shade card to help in a project like this, where the yarns have to work together. I found it most helpful to snip off strands of yarn and hold them together to check how they worked. I needed a Main Colour (MC) plus 1 main Contrasting Colour (CC) for the bottom and ends of sleeves, and 4 additional contrasting colours for the yoke design. I tried to select yarns in the 'spirit' of Kate's selection - a light MC with dark main CC and a selection of toning and complementary shades.
Yarn motorcycle display team, with MC at bottom and main CC 2nd from bottom row (left and middle)
I kept the orange and mustard CCs from Kate's palette as these went well with the selection of beautiful blue-greens I chose. I decided on Straw as the MC, partly to be different from the light grey and also because the warmer tone was more 'me' and went well with the other colours.
I am really, really hoping that I have made a good selection and the colours work when knitted up. This was so much trickier than choosing one colour of yarn.
Having knit 2 previous designs by Kate, I suspected I would never be able to get her gauge and would end up knitting a smaller size. My measurements put me as a 5 but I am knitting a 2 as she recommends a 4.5mm needle but I couldn't even get gauge with a 3.5mm needle, and I won’t go any smaller. That way madness lies.
I've done this before with good results, and Kate provides an excellent measurements table covering many aspects of the garment so that I can ensure that my sweater matches the measurements of size 5. This makes the project less daunting, so that I can ensure I'm on track. I will have to be diligent about checking measurements throughout the project, in case my calculations are incorrect. It has been known. I am planning to use a larger needle for the yoke section as this would be easy to work too tightly and the stranding will make the area smaller, while I have broad shoulders and need extra width here.
I'm really hoping my planned adjustment will work, although I have been knitting for a good few years now, I find adjusting knitting patterns daunting.
Now I just have to knit, knit, knit!. My last project (Tin Can Knits Lush cardigan) is blocking and awaiting buttons, soon to be photographed. Look out for this new project in a Work in Progress Wednesday post. With any luck I'll have it finished at the height of summer (insert Scottish summer joke here) and it won't pose any significant problems to knit.
p.s. Don't ask me how to say the name of this pattern, I've never tried...