Sweaters for Penguins

No, I’m not really knitting a sweater for a penguin. Unless you count my youngest nephew as one and, honestly, he’s about the size of some of them.

When I was up in Alaska, I picked up some yarn (Fiber ‘n Ice, colorway: Ice Road Trucker) with the extremely optimistic goal of knitting a sweater for little Sam. Keep in mind…I only learned how to knit in January. Attempting a sweater with only four finished items under my belt? (those items are incredibly simple) Like I said – extremely optimistic.

However, I had pulled up the Flax sweater pattern from Tin Can Knits, which purported to be a simple sweater that even a beginner can knit. I printed out a copy and searched around for some tutorials online (I find it helps seeing what other people have done, and learning from their mistakes, as I fumble through a new skill). Tools in hand, I set about making my first sweater.

I am surprised at how quickly I am progressing through the pattern. Of course, this being me, I did make a mistake fairly early on and didn’t notice it until it was time for me to start dividing for the sleeves. It’s okay, though. It doesn’t affect the physical construction of the sweater, just the end look.

[The caps of the raglan sleeves are currently all in garter stitch, instead of there being a thinner panel starting up at the neck, like there is supposed to be. Once I realized what I had done, I made an adjustment to my pattern, so I’m back on track for the rest of the sleeves looking the way they’re supposed to.]

The Flax sweater pattern is, as it claims, remarkably simple. There were a few times here and there where I needed to look up how to do something (more to clarify that I was doing it correctly), but the pattern moved along pretty quickly. If you’re a beginner knitter like me and you’re looking for something that will push you a little more, I recommend trying the pattern out.

Halfway through making the sweater, I decided that Sam’s older brother, Joe, needed a matching, hand-knit sweater as well. And, because I never do anything halfway, I’m thinking this may become an annual tradition. Sure! I’ll just hand-knit sweaters for my nephews each Christmas, like Molly Weasley! They’ll get a new pattern each year!

Sam’s sweater is almost done – I started on the sleeves about a week and a half ago. It’s my first stab at using double-pointed needles (DPNs), which meant a slow start to actually knitting the sleeves. I’m really starting to get the hang of them now (I’ve finished one sleeve so far), but I’m also looking forward to being able to use the circular needles when I make Joey’s sweater.

As I mentioned before, Mom and I went to the Fiber Farmer’s Market on Saturday. I had hoped to pick up the yarn for Joey’s sweater (Sam’s should be done soon), but there were fewer vendors selling the weight and colors I was looking for. Most of the vendors on Saturday had roving — not a bad thing, but not what I was looking for, for Joe’s sweater.

Not to worry, though. The Powhatan Festival of Fiber, and Maryland Sheep and Wool are coming up at the end of April/beginning of May, and my goal is to find a lovely worsted or Aran superwash wool yarn for Joey’s version of the sweater. His favorite color is purple, but I haven’t decided yet whether I want to get yarn in a single shade of purple, in variegated shades of purple, or another color all together with accents of purple.

I’m really like this color that I found on Etsy (and got to see in person at the Fiber Farmer Market) but I think that’s more along the lines of what I would wear. For Joe,  I’m thinking it will probably be more along the line of “Purple Haze,” “Ziggy Stardust” or “Severus Snape” from Dancing Leaf Farm.

I’m also really tempted by “Bed of Iris,” from Kim Dyes Yarn, which she had at the farmer market.

Of course, it’s just as likely that something else will jump out at me when I’m at one of the upcoming festivals, but I’m really leaning towards that Bed of Iris.

I might have to contact her for a specific weight.

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