I really wanted to write about graduation but my heart feels full, so I’m copping out with a sweater post instead. This isn’t just any sweater post, however. It’s a big, fat, Icelandic, image-dropping post. And yes, that is a knitting needle you see hanging from my left sleeve.
Birch is one of a collection of beautiful, classic designs by Pam Allen in Plain and Simple Knits. It’s one of those books from which I could knit anything and love it. As much as I say “I love this” and “I absolutely love that” here, I can’t say I love every pattern in many knitting books. It is true of this one, though.
The yoke is excellent, but the combination of that and the oversized fit of the sample is what grabbed me. I am in search of the perfect oversized, handmade sweater, you know. In hopes of getting that My Closet-circa 1992-fit, I knit the third size. This was another one of those commercial knits for the Commercial KAL that never even got entered into the KAL at all because I was really too busy to be knitting three sweaters at once. However, just knowing the KAL existed, and it’s purpose, was motivating.
I talked about how my plan to knit the sleeves en route to Iceland was a fail in Episode 10. In my haste to pack light, I left the yarn at home. So these are not quite FO photos, but still memorable, taken by the Skaftafelljökull (a glacier) in Skaftafell National Park. So if you want to see this sweater with the sleeves, hop over to the podcast Episode 10 at about 42 minutes in. Yes, I know. I’m talky.
Details: I used size US 5 and 6 needles and Patons Classic Worsted in Moss Heather and Aran to knit a size 44.25″ version of this. I was surprised to find that my ten year old skein, mixed with new ones in the Moss Heather colorway didn’t match. So I actually alternated balls of Patons yarn. I wondered what level of hell this was. Not worrying so much about dye lots is one of the joys of commercial yarn. But, whatever, I did it all the way up to the yoke. Then I just used one color of Moss Heather and the Aran colorway as the contrasting color. When all was said and done, had I not started in my ancient ball of Moss Heather, I wouldn’t have even needed it and could have chilled with all the alternating strands tangling up everywhere.
My only modification hardly counts as one. I just picked up two extra stitches at the armhole gaps, one after the first 4 underarm stitches and one before the last 4. These extra stitches were more like picking up the side of a stitch one row down. I then decreased to get rid of them on the very next row. This always works for the inevitable armhole holes.
There is an error in this pattern chart and it’s a pretty big one. Some of the books have been corrected, but mine was not. It has taught me an important lesson: to check for errata before starting a pattern. If I had, this would’ve been an FO shot in Iceland instead of an In-Process photo.
The error were, firstly, that the main color and contrast color markings for the main chart are reversed. So, You can see in the photo, below, how it didn’t match up to the pattern sample.
It wasn’t so bad on the first little colorwork section, but it didn’t look good for the second one. The second mistake was the omission of a 2 round CC border for that second colorwork section. I have since looked for an acknowledgment of the errata online, but couldn’t find it. If you do knit this, just keep an eye on the sample in the book to make sure yours looks the same.
So I got to the second colorwork section before I realized the error. I’m glad I compared it to the photo instead of just powering through. I did see that another raveler reversed the MC and CC for a section too. Ripping back and starting over cost me precious Icelandic sweater knitting time, but it all worked out okay.
Even with all the skein alternating and color variation, I love how this yoke turned out. And I love it’s roominess.
I know, for sure, that I will be knitting Larch one of these days. Maybe for the Summer Sweater Knit-along. Another Pam Allen knit I want to knit in Cotlin is Bobbie. I’m sure you remember Edith and Paulina from the Home Collection, too. So good!
More about this sweater on podcast episodes 7- 10, especially episode 10.