Murder of Crows

Sounds kind of wicked, but it’s just a sweater. Wait, did I say “just a sweater?” No, it’s not. It is one of Dawn Barker’s new Assigned Pooling designs that I got to test knit a few months ago. Remember how I was so excited to do it that I abandoned all of my summer knitting plans?

Sitting meditatively in my new Murder of Crows sweater
Image of me checking the length of my Murder of Crows sweater

I have talked about my love of Dawn’s ingenious use of variegated yarns that pool to create a feature in a design, rather than an impediment that must be worked around. Changing the stitch pattern on those high contrast segments of yarn was the “new thing” I felt was needing in my knitting life. It also gave me fresh ideas for stash yarn I hadn’t known how to use other than as a million pairs of variegated socks.

Image of me holding my less than happy cat.

We all have the sweater or shawl of Malabrigo or Madelinetosh that refused to cooperate, even when alternating skeins. I certainly do! Dawn’s AP designs let you embrace that pool of bright color and even ham it up. Her Mend shawl gave purpose to some old high-contrast variegated yarn in my stash to awesome results (My Mend is on Ravelry and Episode 52: Sneaky Extra ) and my queue is slowly filling with her newest AP patterns.

I don’t know how to categorize this sweater in my mind. There’s the cottagey Grandmommy feel of the bobble stitches, but the randomness of their placement and the high contrast feel kind of rock and roll- like a cross between a 60’s cropped bobble sweater and something Neo wore in The Matrix. I like that.

Image of Barker Wool kit for Murder of Crows sweater all caked up

Details: I knit Murder of Crows using US size 1 and 2.5 needles. It only took 3 skeins- yes, I did say three skeins! One skein was in Barker Wool Nightfall, the Assigned Pooling colorway, and the other two were Steadfast. All were in Barker Wool’s BFL 4-ply base. Nightfall is basically Steadfast with contrasting taupe (maybe her Serenade colorway) added in. Dawn has been perfecting her variegated AP yarns and patterns, adjusting each to get the most workable amount of randomness to the design.

It was wild to see how differently each of the tester’s sweaters were knitting up. We were all using different indie-dyed skeins (always a gamble,) working different sizes, and had our own methods of working the contrasting AP stitches. Some had evenly spaced bobble stitches here and there much of the way through the pattern, and some of us had clusters bunching up, leading to some soul searching about just how comfortable we were with random. There are ideas for dealing with too many clusters and dye variations in the pattern, in case you’re wondering.

Image of the yoke of the Murder of Crows sweater design.

I decided I am into random and I like it. I don’t know if I would have made that decision ten years ago, but now I am pretty secure in my ability to make something “perfect” and have decided if it takes too much focus or energy, it’s not for me. I prefer the random, or surprising, or just the chill.

I had one issue when knitting and it was that I feared I would run short of main color yarn before finishing the sleeves. I had already added a tad to the body length becasue I have a long torso, so I finished my sleeves short of where I normally would. I always add an inch to sleeves, sometimes more. When it was all blocked and dried, I wasn’t satisfied with my sleeve length but I wanted to take photos for Dawn before doing anything about it.

Image of the randomly placed bobble stitches in contrast color on the sweater.

After discussing this in the testers group, I realized if I combined the bit of yarn I had left with my swatch, I would have enough to add that extra inch, so I probably will. I may also rip each sleeve back a few inches to iliminate the decreases. I am weird about sleeves that fit all the way down. I like having the option a lot of flailing and arm swinging movement. You never know when you might have to direct traffic or play charades.

There are new Assigned Pooling designs out and Dawn has yet to release that awesome yellow sweater pattern I know that I want to make some day. What I have planned is Drift , striping the AP stitches in her Veridian and Steadfast colorways. I also want to make Floriculture, using In High Feather and Boro. That’s another striping option.

Image of just my cat stretching in "her" chair.

I talk more about my Murder of Crows in this blog post and in Episode 57: Famous Last Words. And of course, I’ll be wearing it for my next blog episode.

Also on Flickr, just because.

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