Pardon me, I couldn’t hear you over how awesome my sweater is

Legendary, folks. Legendary. It is done, it fits like a dream, and it is going to kick all kinds of ass when I wear it at Rhinebeck this fall. This is Autumn Rose.

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Pattern: Autumn Rose, by Eunny Jang (published in Jamieson’s ‘Simply Shetland 4′)
Yarn: Palette fingering weight, from Knit Picks
Needles: 3.25mm Addi Turbos
Cast on: April 25, 2009
Bind off: July 23, 2009 (then a couple more days for washing/blocking)
Modifications: Many.

Oh, where do I start with the modifications. The most obvious one was the colour scheme. I went with Knit Picks’ Palette because I own quite a lot of it, and I quite like the colour selection now that they have been expanding the heathers line. I hope they will continue to expand further, as it can only make the yarn more versatile as a colur-work tool. The original Autumn Rose colours in the pattern are gorgeous, but just not a good fit for my own colour preferences. I tend more towards reds and purples and jewel tones and the original scheme reads more on the rustier – or, well, ‘autumn’ side of the spectrum. After much swatching and indecision, I settled on the one you see here.

In place of golds, I made use of the new green shades Knit Picks added to their Palette collection recently. The main one is clover (in place of old gold), and the others from darkest to lightest are spearmint, edamame, celadon, and green tea heather. In place of the oranges and blues used in the original, I used purples and reds. The main one is garnet heather (seen next to clover in the ribbing sections), and the others from darkest to lightest are merlot heather, bark, clematis heather, huckleberry heather, and lilac heather. (Aside: if Knit Picks ever discontinues the garnet heather shade, I may not survive. It is my absolute favourite).

Also, let it be known that swatching is WORTH IT. The only thing keeping me on the ledge while I fretted over whether it was coming out too small was knowing that my swatch did indeed block out to gauge after I washed it (when knitting sweaters remember to both knit and wash your swatches, friends, much tragedy could be saved.)

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Another key area in which I made modifications is in the length and sizing. Essentially, if I had knitted this pattern purely according to the written instructions and not put any thought into it, it would have been several inches shorter, the waistline would not have fit me, and the shoulders would have been far too snug. This alone does not make this a bad pattern – it is extremely gorgeous, make no mistake. It simply means that this pattern is designed for a person several inches shorter than me. This is also a pretty common thing for me, the only difference is that with a fair isle patter like this, you can’t exactly rip out a few inches and start over as easily as with a plain single colour project.

I think that anyone making this sweater would be smart to begin by drawing their own pattern schematic based on their own body and the desired measurements you want, then ensure that once you have begun and established the chart, your knitting follows the length measurements you need and the stitch counts you need for width based on gauge.

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Never forget that when you are knitting a sweater, whoever designed it is never going to be exactly as smart as you. That pattern was not designed for your body, and your job – which you are entirely qualified for – is to know your body well enough to adjust whatever it is you are knitting to fit yourself. This concept generally gets emphasized in the context of knitting plus-sized sweaters (and rightly so), but I’m here to tell you that as a tall woman, never once have I encountered a sweater pattern that hasn’t required some modification. I’ve added length to sleeves and hems, and re-placed waistlines so often now that it’s become second nature, and I generally need to add at least an inch or more between the waist and armholes in order to ensure the waist actually sits where my waist is. The moral of the story is, if you want your sweaters to fit – know thyself! Measure your body, know your gauge, and know how much ease you want to achieve, and make it so.

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The original Autumn Rose pattern calls for an extremely low neckline, so much the better to accommodate negative ease around the bust and provide a very modern look. I did, however, raise the neckline about 2 inches, which I have seen from Ravelry is a pretty common modification. I am pretty happy with this decision and am comfortable with how this would look over a tee or camisole from my own wardrobe. Essentially, I set the neckline to begin at about the same time as the armhole decreases. Additionally, I lengthened the shoulders by spacing out the last several decreases a little more than what the pattern specifies. I have broad shoulders, so this was a good decision for me.

You wanted to see the inside, right? Right, I thought you did, that’s why I took pictures of it. There’s the white crocheted edge of the cut steek, now tucked away neatly inside the neckline. You can also see all the ends of the yarns from all of the colour changes, which were woven in as I worked each new pair of colours.

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When I learned to knit fair isle, the first project I made was a Philosopher’s Wool sweater. On their website the Philosopher’s wool folks have a video about knitting two-handed for colour-work, and this along with a personal tutorial from my friend Dee was essentially all the instruction I had on two-handed technique. I use the same general approach not just for knitting but for weaving in new colours a few stitches before the change-over (you can see where all the ends are sticking out there just before the side seam, on either side). This essentially means that you are weaving in ends as you go, which saves you from having to weep the tears of a thousand rivers weave in all the ends after you are finished the whole sweater. All that’s left is a bit of trimming, sew in the ends at the bind-off and cast-on edges, and you’re done.

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On my last post a few days ago when I was cutting the steek on this sweater, a lot of you commented on what an act of courage it must be to do this, or how brave I must be to be working steeks or colour-work. And you know, that absolutely tickles me because the fact of the matter is, ‘brave’ is probably the last adjective in the world I would use to describe myself. If I made you a list of all the things I’ve shied away from doing because of being too chicken, well…it wouldn’t be a very pretty list. But after knitting a sweater like this (and this may be easy to guess based on how many other possible ways there are to stress out about a project like this, as described above), the actual cutting of the steek becomes sort of beside the point. In the process, I’d forgotten that steeking is something that really does call for a bit of moxy. So, if making this sweater makes me in any way brave…I’ll take it.

And Elspeth? Since we are supposedly both knitting this sweater to wear for Rhinebeck 2009…If you don’t find a way to make this sweater yourself, even though I know you’re sweating bullets over getting gauge…I’m comin’ for you. That’s right, YOU.

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And YOU TOO, if you don’t get out there and knit yourself some fair isle. Grab your favourite colours, grab a stranded pattern, any pattern, no matter how simple or how difficult, and DO IT. You’ll never look at knitting the same way again.

(Also, thank you all for the birthday wishes/spinning congrats yesterday, they were fantastic.)

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86 Comments

Filed under fair isle, finished object: sweater

86 responses to “Pardon me, I couldn’t hear you over how awesome my sweater is

  1. Simply stunning! What a treasure. Thanks for all the notes, too — they’re very helpful, and I’m bookmarking them for when I work up the gumption to tackle Autumn Rose.

  2. LisaM

    Lovely, and inspiring!

  3. Christine

    Wow! That is utterly gorgeous.

  4. barefootrooster

    you are a rockstar.
    that is all.

  5. Legendary! My copy of this pattern arrived a few weeks ago, and although I’m not ready for it yet, your notes are going to come in very handy. I’m a six footer, too, so sweaters rarely fit me as written.

  6. Marissa

    Wow! Congrats on finishing. It looks great! Happy Belated Birthday.

  7. margarete

    Happy belated birthday and congratulations on this beautiful piece of craftsmanship.

  8. Oh, Glenna, it’s absolutely gorgeous. GORGEOUS!

  9. WOW!!!!! This is my current ULTIMATE GOAL as a knitter. This project; this sweater. Your “palatte” is really really nice- I might consider this when I do this. Thank your for your detailed notes. I am very impressed and it fits so well! great job. really great. wow.

  10. It’s perfect! Fits like it was made for you! ;) Congrats on a home run!

  11. Wow, what a gorgeous sweater! Wear it well!

  12. girlunravelled

    my wee sock pales in significance to this wonder! well done you!!!

  13. Katharine

    I am a lurker on your blog, but I just had to say how incredibly gorgeous and flattering and amazing this sweater is.

    And yes, I really want to try color work now.

  14. Heather

    18,000 varieties of awesomeness.
    i’m now inspired to try fair isle. enabler! :)

  15. It’s GORGEOUS!!! what a phenomenal FO. You look amazing in it!!!

  16. WOW! I am without words! You did an incredible job and have definitely inspired me. Once I have my wedding knitting out of the way I need to get down to some serious Fair Isle-ing, and one day, I will have an Autumn Rose of my own.

  17. YOWSAH! Truly amazing!

    When you showed those earlier photos and told what you were about to (gasp!) do, I couldn’t believe it. Pardon my doubt. . . this is GORGEOUS and so perfect on you! I love the drama of the neckline stitch “frame” and the way it pops. Wonderful colors on you!

    Oh, so beautiful!

  18. barefootrooster said it all.

  19. Amazing! It’s beautiful!

  20. Wow Glenna, it’s absolutely stunning. You should be proud of yourself!

  21. arthermit

    Someday, i want to be as cool as you.

  22. Lauren

    Fabulous!

  23. That is GORGEOUS. You did a great job! I love hearing the details of the sweater modifications too, I have the opposite waist shaping issue and always find myself having to nudge it higher for my sweaters.

    Happy belated birthday, too!

  24. I love it! Maybe I’ll give the colorwork a try.

  25. LOVE LOVE LOVE!! Great job – the colors are great and it’s totally beautiful!!

  26. It does truly kick ass. It’s perfect! And lovely colors. Very good advice about knowing one’s own shape and adjusting from there.

    And Happy (belated) Birthday too!!

  27. Barb

    Fabulous colors and fabulous sweater! And, of course, it looks fabulous on you! Still not enough to get me back to colorwork, though – I’ll stick with my cables and lace :) Happy belated B-day, too, and what a great gift to give yourself!

  28. C.

    Oh, my goodness.
    That is so beautiful.

    I have never tried fair isle or steeking, but maybe some day.

    I’m really impressed with this sweater! It fits you perfectly and the colors and design are absolutely gorgeous. BEAUTIFUL.
    Definitely one of the prettiest sweaters I’ve seen!

  29. Susan

    I’m taking a class in stranded colorwork this fall. I cannot wait! You are truly an inspiration, and the sweater is simply stunning.

  30. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous!! :)

    What more is there to say? you are gonna ROCK Rhinebeck!

    (And from the bottom of my seamstress heart, *thank you* for reminding everyone that you need to make the pattern your own, to fit *you*, because standard sizes aren’t. :) )

  31. Whitney

    This is seriously beyond words, besides of course, Legen- (wait for it)-DARY! Forget world peace, this sweater is an accomplishment that all future beauty pageant contestant will be referencing as an example of what the world should strive towards.

  32. Beautiful! I agree with you 100% about gauge and modifying patterns to fit your body. I’m a tall skinny guy and would rather wear a sweater that fits than to look like I’m wearing a wool pillow case. I love palette for colorwork, too.

  33. shanknitsnyc

    wow, what a fantastic sweater! you did a truly amazing job — from the color choice, mods, steeking, and finishing!

    enjoy your gorgeous sweater…. and i think you probably scared off elspeth with your FO :)

  34. God damn, that is an amazing sweater!!!! As soon as I cease to be knocked up, I will be knitting myself one, doing EVERYTHING EXACTLY LIKE GLENNA. You wouldn’t mind, would you? Heh.

  35. Absolutely gorgeous!!

  36. Aven

    That is an absolutely gorgeous sweater. It fits amazingly, and the colours are fabulous on you. Congratulations!

  37. Jennmoles

    I don’t care, I think you are very brave… To jump in there and modify, modify, modify!! I wanna make one now!! I may need to start with something slightly less, ah, dramatic first though! It came out beautifully, and you have inspired me to dream big!!

  38. That sweater looks absolutely perfect! Thanks for the list of mods–I am tall too, and I have the yarn for this sweater just sitting on my shelf. It’s nice to hear about the changes another tall knitter has made. Thanks for showing me they’re not as difficult as I suspected!

  39. wow, you are my god. seriously. knitting goddess. that sweater is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

  40. I am in love with this sweater. Also your hilarious pictures.

  41. Yes. Legendary :^)
    I can see now I must order some garnet heather.
    Fabulous and Stunning Autumn Rose!

  42. birdwoman

    I know I left a comment on Ravelry but I feel the need to say again: this sweater is AMAZING. Just when I think I’m getting pretty good at this knitting lark I read a post like this and it reminds me (in a good way) of how much I still have to learn.

    I say again: AMAZING.

  43. Malini

    WOW! The sweater is beautiful. You look really superb in it.

    Again, WOW.

    Maybe, I should look into making one for myself…but I am so chicken and my knitting quite sucks!!!

  44. It looks beautiful. The original colour scheme obviously goes with the name, but your colour scheme is also autumnal and more up my street, too.

    It looks great. Maybe I’ll see it in person at Rhinebeck.

  45. It looks beautiful! I agree fully with you, knitters need to take the initiative to change a pattern to better fit themselves.

  46. Malini

    I failed to mention that the colors in the sweaters does wonders to your hair and it rocks….

    So beautiful.

  47. Clare V

    Glenna, that sweater is BEAUTIFUL. You look very happy and extremely fab in it.

  48. Wow! Gorgeous! I love your colour choices! It looks fantastic on you.

  49. Robyn in Stoney Creek

    Wow! Glenna – I love your rendition of the Autumn Rose sweater. It is absolutely beautiful! I have knit two-colour colourwork socks for a friend but the idea of knitting a complete sweater in so many colours literally makes my palms sweat! Happy belated birthday – I hope you have a lot of fun learning the intricacies of your wheel – Robyn

  50. Jennifer

    OMG, I love how you write! The way you write, your style, and your sense of humor easily makes this my favorite blog to read! Please keep on posting!

    And of course, your sweater is gorgeous! I wish I could knit like you, but honestly, it’s not the fair isle that intimidates me or even the steeking (though, they are both pretty scary), it’s the modifying patterns to fit my body type. I’m the opposite of you–5’0 so things like waists and shoulders still don’t hit right. It seems too daunting to invest so much time into a sweater that I fear won’t come out and also not know how to modify it.

    Anyway, keep posting and keep inspiring me! Maybe eventually I’ll take that steeking/fair isle/sweater plunge!

  51. Laura

    Absolutely beautiful, thank you for documenting your journey – it was full of lovely tips, humour and inspiration!

  52. Gorgeous. It fits so beautifully. And the colour choices workm so well. Rhinebeck here you come!

  53. So beautiful, so perfect! Congratulations on a great FO.

  54. Simply beautiful. I am a novice knitter and your blog inspires me to perserve in my own sweet way! Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post the detail.

  55. Sherry Agee

    Beautiful!

  56. Your sweater is gorgeous. I love the color choices you made. And your notes on the modifications are really instructional.

    You deserve to seriously flaunt your stuff at Rhinebeck with this sweater. It’s made of pure win!

  57. Glenna, your sweater is absolutely, positively fabulous and you wear the hell out of it. It looks great!

  58. That’s fantastic work! Great work!!

  59. May

    Fantastic finish! And it looks fabulous!

  60. Susan

    Stunning! Inside and out – just beautiful. I’m inspired.

  61. Wow Glenna, you really are teh awesome!! That is a very cool sweater. :) (and cool poses, too!)

    Happy birthday yesterday!!

  62. Melina

    You’ve inspired me to take a second look at my fair-isle patterns (fair-isle is not my thing). I love your colour choices, in particular, the garnet heather.

  63. BEAUTIFUL!!!! This sweater has been on my list for a LONG time, and I’m wanting to knit it with Palette, but have been too scared to make up my own color scheme. I love what you’ve done with it!

    And I’m one of those who always has to lengthen things as well!

  64. Fin

    !

    Good gravy, what a pretty sweater!

  65. Kai

    Gorgeous! I love it and I love the colour choices you made. :)

  66. That is fantastic! Well done.

    And by the way, happy birthday! A couple of days late, but I was thinking of you and Martha on the day!

  67. Maureen

    This is one incredible sweater…and you are a wonderful “cheerleader” with a can-do commitment to your knitting! The results…stunning! The Philisopher’s Wool video is a gem and makes two-handed knitting easy. But your modifications are amazing…plan ten times and knit once is the way to go!
    Congratulations…and by the way, the colors are perfect on you! :)

  68. Well Done!!
    Gorgeous!!
    An amazing feat of knitting and color choices and you are rightfully proud of yourself – we are too!!
    Inspiring!

  69. WOW! Congrats on finishing – this looks amazing! You could practically wear it inside out, too. I’m super duper impressed (and so glad the tension worked out).

    And a belated happy birthday to you, too!

  70. ann

    It looks amazing! I cannot wait to see it in person at Rhinebeck.

  71. Stunning! Enjoy wearing it :)

  72. I’m in awe…It fits you perfectly!

  73. All I can say is WOW. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

  74. Totally and completely stunning! Great color choices, and the fit is absolutely perfect, is it not??

    NICE!!

    PS – Happy belated birthday! I am behind on blog-readings. :P

  75. OMG – that is a stunning sweater and it looks marvelous on you! What a work of art.

  76. Total gorgeousness. x

  77. Ann

    It’s awesome & you look fantastic!

  78. Thanks for all the info on your mods and everything. It’s an awesome sweater BECAUSE you’ve put all the thought into it to make it work!

  79. Tina

    Glenna it’s perfect and words cannot describe how beautiful it turned out. You rock girl!

  80. That is sooo friggin’ awesome! You have officially become my knitting super hero! It’s gorgeous!!!!

  81. It is gorgeous, well done! The title led me to your post, that is pretty funny!