When one has been away from blogging this long, it's hard to figure out what to post first. I decided to restart with a bang and present one of my favorite finished objects.
I made this sweater for DH Mike about a year ago. Hjalte by Elizabeth Lavold, from Spring 2005 Knitter's Magazine, in denim colored Silky Wool.
I achieved gauge on my swatch with no problem, but this thing grew and grew and grew upon washing. I didn't stretch it out at all during blocking; just the opposite. I did my very best to pat it gently into submission. I guess the silk is prone to stretching. I've been considering putting the sweater in the dryer the next time I wash it. I'd measure it carefully before washing, then put it in the dryer on low heat for maybe 5-10 minutes at a time, pulling it out to measure again. Has anyone had any luck shrinking a stretched out sweater in this manner?
I had plenty of yarn left, so I don't think I was knitting too loosely necessarily. The yarn was very soft and pleasant to knit. There was quite a lot of "vegetable material" (straw? hay? twigs?) that I picked out as I went. The pictures don't do the stitch definition justice. The cables are much clearer in person.
I would definitely use Silky Wool again, but I'd knit a much larger swatch and block it better before choosing my final needle size.
One of my favorite features of this pattern was the cable detail around the neck and sleeve cuff. For the neck, you knit a long 6-stitch wide strip with a 2-over-2 stitch rope cable. Then you sew the long edge around the neckline, and pick up around the other long edge to knit up the neck ribbing.
For the cuff, you knit another cable strip, pick up along one long edge and knit the ribbing downwards, then pick up along the other long edge and knit the sleeve upwards. It's a simple technique that adds a really attractive detail. Best of all, you'll drive your knitting friends nuts trying to figure out how you knit that cable sideways in the middle of the sleeve!