October 31, 2019

It's been a while since a lopapeysa featured on the blog, hasn't it? I actually made this particular Icelandic sweater last year, before I moved. You'll have seen some glimpses of it on instagram, mainly of my cats' brave attempts to steal it for naps -their love for lopi is still unchallenged by any other yarn. Between moving house, installing floors, painting walls and unboxing and settling in I kind off forgot to write up a post about it. By the time I had regained enough energy and wits to remember the projects I made pre-move it had warmed up so much that I wouldn't even force myself to wear a lopapeysa, let alone somebody else!

Pattern: Riddari
Designer: Védís Jónsdóttir
Yarn used: Ístex Léttlopi

Because yes, get this, I made this jumper for someone else. I knitted a whole ass adult jumper for someone else. Truly a once in a blue moon event! The last time I did this was over 5 years ago when I knitted the bulk of a seed stitch sweater that my mum, who had just taken up knitting again, had bravely started for my dad. She lost steam somewhere along the body of the project, and I felt bad for both of them so offered to finish it. Did I mention I hate knitting seed stitch? Ahem, yeah, I did get it finished but it did put me off seed stitch for quite some time. I could of course say that it also put me of knitting sweaters for other deserving adults, but to be honest I think I've always been a knitter that mostly knits for herself and I'm okay with that. 

One thing I have learned from this project is that when I do decide to knit something for someone else, it should be something I actually enjoy knitting. I mean, this should be self evident, it is not some wild groundbreaking revelation, but I was truly surprised how much more I enjoyed this knitting experience over the previous time I did this. My love for Icelandic knitwear and design is not exactly a secret. I've knitted my fair share of Icelandic sweaters over the years. I made my first Icelandic sweater back in 2012 when I was still very much a colourwork-baby. I've worn Lopapeysa a lot, in fact I still wear that very first sweater. Even, or perhaps especially, when I was creatively stumped in my knitting, I always returned to the lopapeysa and (so far) it always got my creative rivers flowing again. I also test knitted a couple of them in recent years. All this is to say that lopi and lopapeysa's have a special place in my heart.

Other than in words I have never shared that love (unless the aforementioned tug of war games between the cats vs me over lopi counts). That changed last year. I was just putting the finishing touches on my Ashland jumper and I started to think about what I was going to knit next. I fairly quickly decided to make a lopapeysa as a gift for my partner who is a long-time admirer of Icelandic knitwear. He never asks me to knit him anything even though he loves and wears knits and also is a pretty cool person all things considered. So no reason not to go with my whim of fancy to go an knit something for someone else for a change, so I went ahead.

I asked him to pick a pattern and yarn combo before I'd finish my (then) current knitting project. I helped him by giving him some sources to look at patterns (I mainly let him browse Ravelry, but also gave him some books) as well as a shadecard of all lopi colours. He decided on the loved-by-all Riddari pattern. I think this is possibly the most popular Icelandic pattern out there? I made this pattern as part of the Ravellenics in 2014, with a steek to make it into a cardigan. Incidentally it is perhaps the only of my collection of lopi sweaters that I'm not completely happy with. I was mostly bothered by my own execution of it, rather than the pattern itself, so I thought it was nice to give this pattern a chance to redeem itself.

After a pattern was decided, I helped him narrow down a couple of colour options. He had decided on a couple of colour themes, but colour picking for colourwork is hard if you don't do it often and it's sort of a skill in itself. I helped him a bit with finding combinations that I thought would work, derived from his initial colour ideas. From these he decided this brown-blue-green-yellow combo. Not to toot his, or our combined-, horn but I think it worked out great and definitely outshines my first attempt at this pattern.While I was working on it I got some questions about the colourways I used, so I've added them to my Ravelry page. Just a heads up though, one of the colours (the mustard/light yellow) was already a discontinued colour at the time, I just happened to be lucky and the yarn store I bought my wool from still had quite a bit in stock. I think istex made some new colourways so perhaps one of those will work out as a replacement if your heart is set on it. 

Knitting was a breeze and I greatly enjoyed seeing this yoke coming together.  I really love the colours and it took every ounce of self restraint and selflessness to actually give it away when it was done. I had one mildly dramatic moment when I did run out of yarn of the green colour while working on the yoke. When I went back to check I realised that I, stupidly, ordered the wrong amount in the first place and because I replaced the I-cord-ish, but not really I-cord, edgings with ribbing I needed a bit more than the pattern asked for.

I recently went back and replaced the neck ribbing with an actual I-cord because as it turns out my partner has a significantly larger head than I do. Honestly, I knew this and I thought I had accounted for it, but apparently not enough. I mean, he'd get it over his head and everything, but he wanted a bit more wiggle room. I offered to either redo the last bit of the yoke or see if an I-cord cast off instead of ribbing would help. In the end he decided on the I-cord. I usually prefer ribbing over I-cords, and probably still do, but I also like the I-cord edging on this one.

Since he's had an entire autumn and winter to wear the sweater, I can also definitely say it's been a success and he wears it a frequently. As an out of my control, but cool side note nonetheless: When he wore it the first time out to his job in the dead of winter last year someone he didn't know recognized it as a hand knit lopapeysa and complimented on it so that was cool. She wasn't a knitter as it turned out, but a general all things Iceland admirer. But it it always nice when something like that happens in the non-knitter muggle world!


Oh My-osotis!

October 18, 2019

Every once in a while a pattern hits the sewing world and everyone you know seems to have made one or have plans to make one. The Zadie jumpsuit was this year's spring/summer hit pattern, before that, there was the Persephone pants and before that there was this one: the Mysosotis dress. It is always a bit of a question when such a pattern comes around: do we all like it so much because it's so good, or because we all have a fear of missing out on the hype. The knitting world can have this same dynamic too, but perhaps less obviously, if only because of how much longer it takes to finish a knitting project than to sew something.    

If that sounds like a negative, don't misunderstand me: many times when a pattern comes out that becomes an instant hit, it has good reason to be one. The pattern itself might be really good, the fit might be really good for a lot of us, it's got design elements that just speak to a lot of people, or we just see others that look excellent in it. It might be all of these reasons, or multiple, or even just one of them that drives us to jump on the hit bandwagon. My reasons for wanting to make this dress is because reasonably straightforward patterns for relatively basic dresses with a small bit of interest that sets them apart are my jam. So here we are.

The good thing about jumping on a bandwagon after said bandwagon has had its big hit moment, is that there are many people who made this pattern before I got to it, and subsequently many people who have posted about that. What I found most helpful is just being able to see so many variations already out there on many different bodies. These days I have an good idea of what I like but it's still helpful to see what other did. This made me decide that I wanted my Myosotis in a solid colour.  I've also wanted to work with double gauze for a while and then I saw this rusty orange double gauze had just got in at one of my go-to fabric stores and I knew we had a winner.

The constructions is pretty straightforward and so are the instructions. I didn't run into any problems and it came together smoothly. The collar might be a hurdle if you don't have a lot of experience with them but that too is pretty straightforward. There was one mildly dramatic moment when I had almost finished the dress and was serging the skirt-bodice seam and accidentally serged a tiny cut in the sleeve hem. Not a huge problem, I unpicked the hem, repaired the hole, and rehemmed it folding it inwards a tiny bit further (so the repair isn't visible), but yeah consider this your bimonthly reminder to be careful when you are merrily zooming your way through a seam with your serger.

Some things that you'll want to take note of if you are planning to make this dress: First off, it takes less fabric then the pattern asks for! I used a fabric that was narrower in width and used less than the recommended 2,5 metres for this version in my size. I had initially planned to make version B with the longer skirt, and add the tier on the skirt from version A, but in I last minute decided against that.  I left it off for a slightly more versatile/basic dress with the potential to become a real workhorse pattern. I still think that was the right call, but now I still have a tier shaped void in my life which I'm on the lookout for to fill. Maybe go all out with a skirt with multiple tiers? Might be something to keep in mind for next spring and summer!

The neckline and collar are probably the most challenging features of the pattern, but shouldn't worry you to much if you ever sewn anything with a collar before. Normally I'm not a huge fan of standing collars, and they can be a bit of a hassle to layer under sweaters, but I think on this dress it balances the proportions nicely. If this does turn out to be a workhorse pattern though, I can see myself tinkering with the collar and neckline for future variations.

The fit of the dress is pretty much spot on for me for an oversized boxy dress. Which is great, because although a boxy dress is a bit more forgiving when tinkering with the sizing, there is always the chance of it just looking like you are wearing a dress that is a couple of sizes too big. This dress does not have that. I went with my bust size to pick the size for this, so I'm wearing it with the intended ease of the pattern. I usually don't have to tinker a lot on Deer and Doe patterns and the patterns I've tried from them so far fit my pretty well out of the box and this pattern was no different.

Another thing that you might want to know it you make this dress is that the pockets, when positioned as per pattern, sit very low on the skirt. Lower than on any other dress, skirt or trouser pattern I've made. It isn't a huge issue or something but you might want to pin and try it on beforehand so you can decide for yourself.

Now for the "not good" part of this pattern: the size range is pretty bad. This is not so much a specific pattern complaint, but part of a critique of the brand size range and the size ranges in the sewing world in general. In the case of Deer and Doe, it's better than it used to be, since they added a bigger size range in the pdf version. I had the printed version which has even less sizes which is not impressive. I know that they are still working on extending the size ranges of their old patterns but I hope that with the ongoing inclusivity discussion in the craft world, which specifically focussed on sizes in the sewing world Deer and Doe will decide to increase their size range further for new releases.

I like it a lot. I mean, easy to wear dresses *with pockets* will always find a place in my wardrobe, but my wardrobe was also severely lacking in rust coloured garments and I'd been meaning to make one for a while. So when I did, I instantly had lots of things in my wardrobe that I was excited to pair it with. If you want to have an idea how this dress looks when layered with cardigans and jumpers, in my previous blogpost you can see it paired with the Love Note sweater I made. This dress has made me fall in love with double gauze so all in all it has definitely been a success.

Now, is Myosotis for you? That, of course, depends on what you are looking for. Many of the blog posts I read went down a couple of sizes or added a waist tie, which is great and yay for sewists making adjustments. If you know yourself well enough to know that you don't wear boxy, loose garments, and you don't have this pattern yet, I'd say you can skip it. There are so many shirtdress patterns at this point, you probably have some in your stash that you could use instead. However if you are in the market for a boxy dress with the right amount of positive ease, here you go. 

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