How’s your weekend going?
It’s been quiet around these parts — errands, laundromat (blergh!), cooking, and a little bit of knitting.
But I’m not here to tell you about what I’ve been working on at the moment — I’m here to share a finished sweater: my Rocquaine Pullover!
The Rocquaine sweater has been a feature of this blog for quite awhile! The pattern is by Christina Danaee and is from Pom Pom Quarterly’s Autumn 2016 issue. It first appeared here in a Friday Favorites back in August. In early September, I took a trip to Rose Lane Farm, got some lovely undyed Ramboulliet yarn, and cast on with my mom over Labor Day weekend. I worked on it on and off throughout the fall (as evidenced in multiple Yarnalong posts!) and finally cast off January 6, making this my first FO of 2016. Despite frequent snaps of my progress on Wednesdays, I haven’t actually talked a lot about the knitting of this sweater (and if you’d prefer to get straight to the details of this sweater, scroll on down to the end of the post for the project specs).
I’ll start by saying that I really enjoyed the pattern. It was very clearly written and included charts and written insturctions for the guernsey pattern. I love charts, but it’s nice to have both options. I’ve never knit a guernsey sweater before, and it was really fun — the fastest part of this was probably working the charts, because I just kept wanting to work one more row. The pattern was also simple to work — just knit and purl stitches, but the result is something beautiful and complex looking!
I love that the pattern mixes traditional textures and shapes (drop shoulders, no waste shaping) with some modern twists. It’s slightly cropped (though I did add a little length — more on that in a second) and has a playful split hem:
Working with this yarn was also really special. I wrote a whole post about my Mom and I visiting Julie Jeavons and Rose Lane Farm when I got the yarn. Julie raises Rambouillet sheep and sends the fleeces off to be spun. The yarn was delightfully sheepy, with teeny bits of vegetal matter and lots of lanolin — but not at all scratchy. It has beautiful stitch definition, and the finished fabric relaxed nicely during blocking (and I think LOTS of lanolin came out — the color of the water after I took this thing out was incredible!). I talked on Friday about my desire to experiment with different types of wool, and this definitely fits the bill. Not only is it breed specific, but it’s probably the most local wool I’ll ever knit with — the sheep were raised just thirty minutes from my parents’ house!
I made very few modifications to this sweater. I struggled to pick up the called for number of stitches around the armholes (a pretty usual problem for me!) and ended up picking up two more on each sleeve than the pattern called for for my size. Those two stitches of course don’t make a terrible amount of difference in sleeves that are deliberately oversized. The body was provisionally cast on, and when I when back to finish off the bottom, I opted to add around an inch and a half on (if you look closely in the photos, you can actually see the line where I restarted — I’m not sure if this is because the skein I used wasn’t a perfect match, or if it’s because the sweater didn’t soak long enough to relax the crimp from where the stitches were on hold). I’m fairly long in the torso, so I’m glad I added the length. I wanted to maintain the cropped feel of the original — with a sort of oversized sweater, I think having it a bit cropped is nice! — but if I had done it as the pattern had written, it would have just been a bit too midriff bearing!
Overall, I think this is a classic sweater that I’ll get a lot of wear out of. It’s surprisingly soft — I can definitely wear it right next to the skin, and I love the style, shape, and neutral color! I constantly evaluate my knitting, though, and there are a few ways I think can improve the sweater. I absoultely love the Rose Lane DK I used for this, but it was fairly tightly spun (Julie actually commented that it seemed to be tighter than in previous years). I am not 100% happy with how the sleeves turned out … the combination of the oversized sleeve and the somewhat tightly spun yarn left me, pre-blocking, with sleeves that were big and didn’t have much drape (read: awkward!). I got so worried about this that I actually blocked the sweater after I knit the first sleeve, and the sleeve relaxed enough to allay my fears. But I think I could have left the sweater to soak a little longer and more aggressively stretched the sleeves in the final blocking. Similarly, I think there are little places where uneven stitches are more noticeable than I’d like (not to mention the line where I resumed the body), so I think my Rose Lane Rocquaine is due another bath again soon. (And I’d like to stress that I think these issues are the fault of my knitting/blocking — not the pattern or the yarn!) I used my favorite sewn tubular bind off for the k1 p1 cuffs and bottom edges, and while that usually gives a very neat edge, in this case, I think a less elastic bind off might have been better. Again, reblocking might solve this (especially if I pin the cuffs and bottom flaps — I couldn’t find my blocking pins when I first blocked this, but have some on the way!), but if it doesn’t, I might take off the cast off and try something else — we’ll see!
Still, I’m very happy with this sweater — I’d highly recommend the pattern and Rose Lane yarn!
You can check out my notes on my Ravelry project page, but here’s a quick recap!
Pattern: Rocquaine, by Christina Danaee, from Pom Pom Quarterly, Issue 18.
Yarn: Rose Lane Farm DK Rambouillet (for information on yarn and availability, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Needles: US size 6
Modifcations: Added ~1.5 inches to body length; picked up two extra stitches on sleeves.
Project Duration: Knit between Sept 4, 2016-Jan 6, 2017, with several long pauses.
With Mr. N back in California, taking pictures of this sweater was a bit of a challenge. After coming up with a makeshift tripod (bar stool with my blocking tub turned upside down – high tech!), I did some experimenting with the remote shutter app that I have for my camera on my iPhone. And guys, I found out that you can do remote shutter on a timer (meaning I don’t have to awkwardly hold my phone in my hands to take pictures!) and that it can take multiple shots at a time (duh, say all you readers that are more camera savvy than me!) But I was really having a hard time getting some pictures that didn’t look horribly awkward — even with no one around, I always feel weirdly self conscious trying to get knit pics. So I tried something new: I set the timer on my shutter and set it to take multiple shots and tried to loosen up and dance around — which really helped! Most of those pictures ended up blurry (although you can spot a few above!) but I thought I’d share a few of the “outtakes” — it was a great way to get out of the hyper critical mode that the double whammy of 1) having photos taken of yourself and 2) photographing something you made can bring out! I highly recommend it!
And on that note, I think it’s time for me to step away from the computer and get back to knitting! Have a lovely rest of the weekend!