During our move, there hasn't been a lot of order in my universe. I have dozens of projects in various stages of completion. And, I haven't paid attention to most of them in a long while. Last month, as Meg and I finished our first KAL, her first sweater, she asked if I would be interested in starting another project along with her and the lovely Liz. (Meg is addicted to sweater knitting. Officially.) My first KAL with Meg was a wonderful, loosely structured experience, and it provided me with a lot of motivation to meet my project goals in a timely fashion, a nice contrast to the rest of my day-to-day. I quickly agreed to round two.
Meg, Liz and I knit from the same pattern, the Ingenue by Wendy Bernard. Similar to the first KAL, we met to knit and discuss our project progress over tea, and we set knitting goals to achieve between gatherings. We had a lot of fun. I very thoroughly enjoy these girls, very. We made swift progress on sweaters and finished them in just a touch longer than a month.
Still, we didn't finish our sweaters fast enough to beat the cold. Fortunately, Chicago offers some alternatives to outdoor locations that are perfect for documenting finished objects. We decided to meet and snap pictures at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The conservatory is a remarkable Victorian era building in the heart of Lincoln Park, which, shamefully, I had never been to prior to the date we met to take pictures. It was a great space to capture our projects. It's warm, it's beautiful, and it's FREE.
It's fair to say, we spent the majority of our time at the conservatory goofing around. Meg is an instigator. She brings the silly, and she had us laughing constantly. We managed to only be scolded once. If you go to the conservatory, don't touch the plants. HA!
The most interesting part about knitting a sweater as a group is seeing the different results we each got from using different yarns and making design choices. All of our yarns produced a different fabric. And, each of us has a different sleeve. Also, we all showed-up to the conservatory without discussing our outfit plans, and we had three distinct ways of wearing our sweaters.
The Ingenue sweater is a top-down raglan with a wide, stand-up collar. At the end of knitting, the collar is folded and stitched into place to provide stability and structure. Also interesting, the waist decreases are done in a princess seam style, down the front and back of the body, while the increases are at the sides, as you would typically expect.
The rest of the sweater is knit like a standard raglan. No surprises. I knit exactly as the pattern instructed for the size small, until the sleeve. I chose to eliminate the increases and bell sleeve. Instead, I knit straight after the completion of decreases for a standard 3/4 sleeve.
My finished sweater is essentially zero ease throughout. I got great gauge from my yarn, Rowan Felted Tweed and size 8US needles. I barely touched the edges with steam prior to wearing it for the first time. It will be interesting to see how the yarn behaves after it's blocked. Hopefully, it's doesn't grow or shift much.
My sweater arsenal could use a few more pullovers like this one. It's a really versatile and quick project, so I may revisit this pattern again.
The collar and border details give this design the right amount of visual interest to keep if from being boring. Prior to knitting, I had mixed emotions about whether or not I was going to like the collar. Now that we're finished, the collar is my favorite part.
That is Meg's finger. She may have learned that I'm ticklish during the course of this photo shoot. Enough said.
There will be more collaborative projects around these parts. In person KALs are like book club for knitters. It's really fun and social. And, the motivation... It's so helpful to know that other people are counting on you. If you're in the Chicagoland area and want to participate in our next project, contact Meg with your information and she'll get you the details. We'll be starting work on the Vitamin D cardigan in January. In the interim, we're gearing-up for our Knit for Victory projects. Liz and Meg feature their sweaters and more group-shots on their blogs, Zilredloh and Meg the Grand. Go check them out!
As a final note, I want to say, these pictures wouldn't be possible without the patience and skill of our awesome photographers, Felix and Mike. They're the best! Seriously!