Gingerbread Sweater aka Like Wearing Kittens, if That Were a Good Thing
I had high hopes of taking interesting photos of this sweater while on hiking vacation in The Grand Tetons. But just because I am surrounded by landscape that’s beautiful, it doesn’t assure great photos of myself in knitwear. In other words: I was often sunburnt, frizzy haired, and grungy. It was also either very dark or very bright when I had the opportunity for photos. This was just before our big backpacking trip. I took it on that trip, but there was no way I’d ask my husband or son to take FO photos during that time. If I had, they might have thrown me over a cliff and seen it as a great way to shave pack weight. But the fact that I tried at all shows how much I think of my Gingerbread sweater, by Libby Jonson. I simply love it.
I wanted to knit Gingerbread for the neckline. It is unlike any of my other knits to date. I think it is extremely feminine and delicate looking. I am aware that my multiple straps from sports bra and tank tops, peeking out, do not highlight this fact, but I was dressed for heat and hiking, so just blur your eyes and imagine.
Trying it on as I would normally wear it, it is a great silhouette. Not fitted, not boxy. That amount of ease filled a gap in my wardrobe. So, I think another version is coming, eventually.
I am so glad I put it in my backpack because it ended up keeping me from freezing on our hike. I brought it on a whim because it is vey thin and would fit between Under Armour and my jacket. We would sweat immediately upon donning our packs each morning, but the second the sun dipped behind the mountains, each evening, it was freezing. In true mom fashion, I was the only one prepared for that. I’d have loaned my sweater out if it weren’t my husband and son that needed it. That certainly would’ve tested the stretch potential of the Lana Grossa yarn.
Though my photos may not do the actual fabric of the sweater justice, I loved knitting it. Had I knit it in a yarn I was familiar with, it would have flown off the needles. This Lana Grossa Alta Moda Cashmere Fine yarn created some issues. That name is a mouthful and sounds fancy, doesn’t it? I guess it is, for me. I bought it on sale at LoveKnitting and was so excited to knit with something so fine. It’s just 10% cashmere, but with the merino it is much softer than the usual utilitarian 100% wool I use for sweaters. However, it was strangely stretchy, and hard to get a good gauge read on while knitting. I trusted my gauge swatch and cast on, knitting the second size, using US needle sizes 4 and 5.
The construction of this neckline was a little different and fun to sort out. Then there was loads of stockinette for tv knitting. I didn’t run into any gauge issues until it came to sleeve length. This yarn would stretch when hanging from the needles, making me think I’d knit enough. I did slip my arm through the armhole to check this, but after binding off, I put it on and they were a decided three-quarter length! It was weird. After debating with myself and seeking advice on the Truly Myrtle forum, I soaked and blocked it. With no stretching on my part, the sleeves came out the perfect length.
Alta Moda Cashmere also made for a fuzzy knit, which rates high on the comfort scale, but not so much on stitch definition. The cute gingerbread stitch pattern at the bottom and cuffs doesn’t look bad, just indistinct.
So, I have some Patons Classic in my stash that I think would make a much more predictable version, if this sweater doesn’t wear well. I’d knit it right away, while the pattern is fresh in my mind, but it is almost the same color as the one I have, so I’m letting myself be distracted by other things.
Some of those things include more of Libby’s designs. I have knit a bunch of her patterns and have yarn intentionally stashed away for 4 of her designs, besides another Gingerbread: Timely, Joss, Cloud Kisses, and Peck on the Cheek. She is one of my favorite… everythings: a knitter, designer, and excellent podcaster. And while I was driving through Yellowstone I heard her (then) latest podcast episode referencing my blog, which was a sweet surprise.
Because I love you all, I am sharing the least fetching photo of myself where I accidentally make the face I usually make on purpose, pushing up invisible glasses to mock something nerdy. But it shows my lovely Gingerbread in the wild. Truly. We had just emerged from our tents, where we were camped completely alone in the backcountry of the North Fork Granite Canyon. My son and I had trouble sleeping the night before because something very large was rooting around near our tents and over by the bear cans. We saw hoof prints the next morning.
(ravelry, instagram, and flickr)
More posts on this sweater here: the beginning before I got sidetracked, progress, and needing sleeve accountability.