We're going to take another detour from dev talk today so I can share my new FO! I've been wanting a comfortable everyday sweater that I could also wear to work, and the Split Stone pattern from Sister Mountain fit the bill beautifully.
We managed to get some snaps of it during a recent weekend trip to Copenhagen, one of my favourite cities in the world. (I'm a complete Louisiana Museum fangirl.) Here's me showing off my new make in the Palm House of the Botanical Garden, trying to pretend I always hang out with my hands on top of my head.
I was especially attracted to this pattern because of the beautiful yarn. Lyonesse is a lovely British made blend of linen and Corriedale wool from the Falkland Islands. It knits up into a smooth, drapey fabric with a good amount of structure and bounce. The linen gives it a slight sheen on the surface. It's very soft and perfect for three season garments.
I agonised over which colourway to use, even going so far as to order the colour card (unheard of, for me). In the end, I opted for Onyx. I really wanted to use one of the undyed shades, but they had a slight yellowish undertone to them which wasn't entirely flattering on me. I'm glad I decided on Onyx - it's a nice versatile mid-gray which goes with just about everything. I've saved the colour card, though, for future projects. I'll definitely be wanting to use Lyonesse again!
The pattern itself is simple in structure, but with a great deal of interest. The body is a box with no waist or bust shaping, but Clare has added a fun knit/purl design on the sides which keeps things entertaining. There are also lots of cute details, like little eyelets all along the ribbed trim, and a roll neck.
The design managed to really surprise me. I thought that it was going to be very straightforward, as I've made many sweaters before. However, there were a lot of new techniques which I had never tried - a new cast on, and two new bind off methods! I especially liked the tubular bind off, for which Clare has a great tutorial on her blog. I've done sewn bind offs before, and this was much simpler than anything I've tried. I went with my usual cast on method, which I now regret slightly. It's not quite as stretchy as I think it could have been.
This is a really versatile sweater, great for everyday. It feels a bit like wearing a knitted sweatshirt, but is also suitable for the office with nice trousers or a skirt. I've been wearing mine quite a lot since I made it.
I was also surprised and pleased to find that I was able to learn something new from the pattern. As a fairly experienced knitter I thought this was going to be a mindless knit. The little details kept me interested all the way through, but the techniques are easy enough to be done by anyone. Clare does a great job of guiding you through the more difficult parts with step-by-step photo tutorials.
I also appreciated thoughtful touches in the pattern writing, such as providing both written instructions and a chart for the knit/purl design. She even provides the chart in two formats, one of which is optimised for print.
The yarn is also a real find. I wasn't aware of Blacker Yarns, but I'll definitely be following them from now on.
It's hard to find anything to dislike about this. My only (minor) gripe is that I found it impossible to get gauge, even after going down to needles the size of toothpicks. This isn't unusual for me since I'm quite a loose knitter, so I don't think this is necessarily a fault in the pattern. However, it meant that the fabric is more drapey, and the neck is a tiny bit looser than I might have liked.
Knitting this pattern has turned me into a dedicated Clare Mountain fan. I now want to try all of her designs! She's just released two new patterns (Fragment and Shorthand), and I purchased both immediately. The Fragment tee would be great for winter layered under a cardigan, and Shorthand looks super cosy! I happen to have some Quince and Co. Sparrow to hand, so Fragment is looking very tempting.
Hmmm...what to knit next...?