What I Got Up To Whilst Home Part I

by Sarah Lake Upton

As usual, despite my firm resolve to do better this time, I failed to keep up with blogging while I was home, so here are a few catch up posts, and then (fingers crossed) I resolve to continue with my series about natural dyes and history (thank you for the encouragement on that front M.)

I spent my entire rotation home working with indigo to fill an order for the Netloft in Cordova, Alaska.  More on that next post, but for those wanting a preview, the yarn in question is in honor on the Netloft Fiber&Friends: Fisherfolk gathering this summer. 

On the personal knitting front, I was inspired by Kay Gardiner’s Instagram #bangoutasweater knit-along to knit another Icelandic sweater.  The knit-along focused on Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Stop Over, which I love (especially seeing so many of the completed sweaters in so many different color combinations) but I have long been looking for an excuse to knit Ysolda Teague’s Strokkur, so I seized this as my excuse and ran with it.  

In catching up with the Fridge Association blog during my last rotation on the boat I found myself agreeing with Karen’s love of dark icelandic sweaters with light yokes.    And then I took this photo of a sunset off the coast of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica and thought about what a lovely dramatic sweater those colors would make. 

The yoke Ysolda devised for Strokkur already captured some of the feeling of light on the ocean, so all I needed to do was chose a darker yarn for the main color. 


I love everything about this sweater.  On the creative front I feel like it translated the color and texture of the sunset on water, and more importantly I love everything about how the sweater itself fits.  Ysolda is the queen of sneaky waist shaping and short rows to make finished garment fit the contours of the wearer in a way that is flattering but more importantly, more comfortable.   I could not be more pleased with the resulting sweater (though reading about everyone’s Stop Overs and the beauty that is Lettlopi yarn knit on size US 10s I may have to knit myself one next time I’m home).

The #bangoutasweater along was a wonderful and much needed pallet cleanser after the fine color work of Kate Davies Machrihanish, .  A ridiculously over the top Fair Isle vest has been on my dream to-knit list for years but for one reason or another I always found myself working on something else instead. But something about the Machrihanish pattern struck me and I felt the immediate “must knit” response drives us all to feats of knitterly exuberance. Luckily Sam and I share a similar taste, and he was equally struck by the need to wear such a gem.   I chose to knit the vest in exactly the same colors and yarn that Kate designed it with, because it was the colors and texture that drew me to the vest in the first place, and also because part of the beauty of Fair Isle vests (I have discovered) is the way the colors play against each other when the same motif is knit using different color combinations.   (There is a musical allusion to be made here, but the correct words are escaping me at the moment - please insert the obvious clever allusion here). 

When Sam was a sailor and sailmaker ganseys were obviously the necessary thing to keep him supplied with, but now that he is a grad student, a smart Fair Isle vest is clearly required.  We’re both quite pleased with the result.  And now having tackled one, I am very much itching to knit another for myself. 

While home I also managed to steek my Epistrophy, knit in my DK Weight Bluefaced Leicester, but I chose the wrong ribbon to sew over the steeked edges (not quite enough body) and ended up being too busy (and at one point too sick - wretched colds) to make the much discussed foray into Boston in search of good fabric (for different projects) and ribbon, and so the whole project has been sent to the time out corner until I get home.  Sigh.  I’m looking forward to picking it up again.