Saturday, 7 May 2016

The Aiken Pullover... Just in Time for Summer!

If you've been following my Me-Made-May 2016 pictures on Instagram, you might have seen that I wore a new handknit sweater on day 1! It's not actually that new - I finished it in January but it took me a while to get photos taken.

This is my second handknit sweater, and I'm SO happy with it! It's the Aiken sweater by Andi Satterlund - a fitted pullover with a beautiful lace detail at the neck. I wish we had a chance to get some close-up photos of the lace, but a thunderstorm came along just as we started taking pictures so we finished up pretty quickly!

I started this project pretty much right after finishing my Marion cardigan, in February last year! It went pretty quickly at first, and I had the body finished in a couple of months. It just took me forever to knit the sleeves! I barely knit at all over the summer because I was focusing entirely on work and sewing for the Super Online Sewing Match, and then I really struggled to find time for knitting during first semester. After finishing up knitting some Christmas presents, I worked on this a lot over Christmas break, and finished up early in January.

It wasn't a difficult knit - like most of Andi Satterlund's patterns, it's knit mostly in stockinette from worsted weight wool, so it goes really quickly, once you actually make the time to knit! I had never done any lace before, but I picked it up pretty quickly and the pattern wasn't difficult to keep track of. Once you get past the lace, it's just knitting in stockinette in a circle with decreases every few rows. Great mindless knitting!

The wool is Malabrigo twist, a gorgeous merino in the colourway 'Velvet Grapes'. It was on sale at a store that was closing in Canmore, when we visited the summer before I worked there. I love Malabrigo, but it's pricey at regular price, especially if you buy enough for a sweater, so this was a great find! I bought 6 skeins, which was everything she had left, but I only used 5. I'll have to use the rest for a cozy scarf or something in the fall!

Malabrigo doesn't give a very specific gauge for their wool, so I tried a couple swatches with different size needles to see what I liked the texture of. Using 5 mm needles as suggested gave me the texture I wanted (thick, and therefore warm!), but the gauge was a little tighter than recommended. If I went up a needle size, it wasn't as thick as I wanted it, so instead, I took a bit of a gamble and just made a size larger than I normally would (small rather than extra small). I know that this probably isn't the best way to adjust, but it worked really well in this case! I don't think there's anything I would change about the fit.

I think the only thing I would change if I made this again would be to knit the ribbing on a size smaller needles - I know that a lot of patterns have you do this, and I'm not sure why hers never recommend it (maybe it's assumed?). I think I'd prefer the look of a slightly tighter rib, especially at the sleeves.

The trickiest part of knitting the sweater was trying to prevent striping! Since the yarn is hand-dyed, I alternated skeins throughout the whole sweater (except for the short rows at the sleeve head), but I still had some striping, so I had to keep cutting the wool and trying to start using it again when it was a different colour. It took me a good few rows to finally stop the stripes, but I think they're only noticeable to me (?).

This also meant that when I was finished knitting, I had SO MANY ends to weave in. I don't like weaving in ends much (who does?), so it took me at least another week to finally finish up after I was done knitting!

Overall, though I'm SO proud of this sweater! I love the lace details - it's subtle, although a little more noticeable in real life! It's also so warm and cozy, and I wear it lots, even now that it's May! It's finally warmed up a little, but the first week was pretty chilly for May.

Also, thanks to my friend James for taking these photos for me! I think this one was taken just before we decided it was time to head inside...


  1. That's such a lovely color and complements you so nicely ! Knitting isn't my cup of tea, especially as I have wrist problems, but I admire all the lovely sweater that other people make ! And it's great that you can make such all-season pieces like sweaters. Or maybe they're only all season because of the weather...? Anyway, it looks fabulous and the lace is a great touch.

    1. Thank you! I've also had wrist problems before, but I find that knitting is okay so long as I don't do too much of it at once. I'm not sure I'll wear this all that much over the summer as it gets pretty hot in Montreal, but it was great for winter and spring!

  2. The sweater is lovely! I like the color and that lace detail. I really love the photos too... my favorite kind of weather!

  3. I love the yarn you used - very nice sweater and the pictures came out great ;o)

  4. Hello!

    (Excuse me! I do not speak English, and yes, I'm using Google Translate! :-P)

    I also sew my own clothes and share on the internet. I am Brazilian and was already looking for someone to do the same thing out of my country!

    It was a pleasure to meet you and loved su blog!

    1. Thanks for commenting! I love hearing from international readers :)

  5. Such a pretty sweater perfect for a rainy day in summer when the wind turns chilly just for the day > v <