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Almanac hack

December 13, 2018

Part of the joy of a deadline comes the day after, when I allow myself to cast on a project IMMEDIATELY with whatever yarn or concept I’m most desperate to get on the needles. After we sent Strange Brew to the printers this black-and-white version of Almanac went right on the needles! I combined a special subtly shifting marl from Uist Wool (Meireal Aran) with a Canadian grown & mule-spun yarn by Custom Woollen Mills (I’m relatively sure it was this one).

The day after the deadline, John and I and the kids headed off on a little cycle trip to Peebles in the Scottish Borders, a day’s ride south of Edinburgh. Despite the fact that most of the time would be spent cycling there and back, I had to bring yarn, right? For me it’s just not a holiday without a knitting project!

I chucked a skein of each into the panniers, and cast on that evening, over take-away curry in the rental cottage, and as you can see, the result was pure BLISS.

The knitting of the yoke was over too soon, but once the exciting bit was done the project languished in the back of the closet for months. Eventually I came back to it and whizzed through the stockinette of body and sleeves on the knitting machine. Knit night at our local pub got me through the hem colourwork, and then I pushed onward to complete cuffs the next evening.

I love the way that the CC yarn, a marl which is also a subtle self-striping yarn, changes slowly through the yoke, and fades to a lighter grey at the hem! A pretty happy accident.

I finished in the nick of time! With temperatures plummeting here in Scotland, I’m pleased to have such a comforting and lovely sweater in my collection! I’m hoping (or cultivating a wilful optimism?) that I’m past that period of parenting during which it is impossible to own anything white. But to be honest, I don’t know if I was able to manage white even before the brats… Ahhhhh well, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

The original Almanac sample fit in a slouchy, cozy way on me and Nina.

I loved the cozy, oversized, feel of the original sample which had been made to fit my husband, John. I wanted a sweater that had that same slouchy feel, but with lengths to better suit me. I worked the women’s size ML, but as the yarn I chose was a bit bulkier than the Lettlopi, my sweater is 44″ in body circumference, rather than the 40″ it would have been had I knit it to pattern gauge. My bust is 39”, so that’s 5” of ease at bust (more through the rest of of the body). Curious about ease and choosing a sweater size? Read more on that here.

Adjusting the charts from colour to black & white

To create this version of the Almanac design, I re-coloured the pattern chart, using the white for the parts of the pattern that I considered the ‘lines’ and black for the parts that I considered the ‘fills’. In order to transition from dark at the neckline and cuffs to a white main colour for the sweater body, I added 2 pattern rounds to the top-down yoke chart, and also to the the cuff and hem charts in order to create a line of dark against which the white of the pattern would show up.

I am curious to see how some of the other designs from Strange Brew would work in black and white. Some of them, like Compass or Cartography, were designed for two colours, so it’s pretty obvious how they would work out. Others, like Trek or Marshland which were designed in a wider palette of colours, and would require a bit more experimentation to convert to black and white.

How do you prefer your colourwork? Do you reach for ALL the colours when you get started on a project, or do you prefer to pick a pairing that you know will shine in two colours? We discussed monochrome in regards to Mad Colour a couple of years back; and we talked about how simple it is to make monochrome (or two-colour) pairings work in this post.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Olivia permalink
    December 17, 2018 4:10 am

    That white sweater is gorgeous

  2. Jane Cook permalink
    December 16, 2018 6:36 am

    I was very interested to see that you had hand knit and machine knit your sweater. Could you expand more on that. I have a bulky knitter and would like to use it with lopi wool to make my husband a cardigan.

  3. Marcia permalink
    December 14, 2018 10:34 am

    What Brand of knitting machine do you have or would recommend?

  4. Angela J permalink
    December 14, 2018 8:33 am

    Those grey yarns are wonderful, and make a beautifully subtle and highly contrasted mix with the cream.
    I have a wonderfully soft Jacb x grey fleece I’m spinning, you’ve inspired me to consider something similar with it……. I shall have to search for a good cream fleece to use with it, I might have just the right Border Leicester.

  5. December 14, 2018 7:20 am

    What does your knitting machine look like? Did I miss the post?
    Also, I love the new sweater!

  6. December 13, 2018 7:42 am

    I prefer self stripe or self patterned yarn and then I let the yarn do it’s thing so I don’t have to change colors and strand. I am not a fan of having to alternate colors when knitting. I like textures with various stitches and one color or variegated yarns. It’s not that I am not good with color, because I am great with color when it comes to making quilts and sewing bags. I guess more than one yarn (unless I am using up scraps) is just more tedious for me. Too many ends to weave in and I tend to strand too tightly, so my knitting doesn’t look so hot, but I am afraid of holes showing. I guess I never learned the art of using more than one color yarn very well. But that’s me. Your sweaters are always gorgeous!!!!

  7. Elizabeth Ann permalink
    December 13, 2018 7:31 am

    You simply amaze me! You produce these beautiful knots all the while raising children let alone A thriving business!!! I barely have time to think!
    Merry Christmas and thank you for all your inspiration!

  8. December 13, 2018 7:17 am

    Totally love the black & white interpretation, so chic.

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