FO – Fisherman Sweater

March 11th, 2016

Wool and the Gang Stevie Sweater Fisherman jumper folklore kit

Fisherman Sweater Folklore Kit Stevie Sweater Wool and the Gang

Another FO? Already?

Indeed, yes! I cast on two sweaters over the Christmas break (the Stevie Sweater and my Sundottir) which became WIPs (work in progress) alongside my Orkney. Now, as if some magic spell has been seeping through the ether and impregnating the well water with intention and patience, I seem to be finishing them all up at once. It’s rather exciting, this deliberate, intentional act of not just making, but then wearing an item. I love that knitting now has this purpose for me. It’s been a push – learning so much so quickly, fucking up and then trying again…and again – but I’m pleased to be at this point, typing this whilst wearing a sweater of my own creation. Without that push I would surely have given up on knitting (again) as I couldn’t reason around the idea of making things I didn’t to use or even like. Making, for me, is about taking a need/want (having a sweater to wear when it’s cold) and removing this from the external realm of capitalist economics and the dizzying horror of sweatshops and untaxed corporate profits that this entails, and bringing the making aspect into my home, my life and myself. I love that I am capable of something as fundamental as clothing myself, warming myself and fulfilling that inherent need to create that most of us share. Knitting (or sewing, woodworking, pot-throwing…) is not just an absorbing mindful activity to pass an evening, but a way of connecting your fireside and the firefly-busy sprinkling of dying embers accompanied by the rhythmic clacking of needles, to the firesides of generations who came before. It is linear: in creating you travel back in the company of countless folk who swore over a dropped stitch or shooed the cat from their workbasket. In using their silent company to contemplate our craft and make sense of the now, we are stronger.

Anyway, existential ramblings aside, my Fisherman Sweater.

Wool and the Gang Stevie Sweater knitting Sheepaca yarn

PATTERN: Stevie Sweater

DESIGNER: Wool and the Gang

WHERE: A kit from WATG which formed a winter treat to myself.

SIZE: Small. One of my problems with this pattern is that it’s unisex. Fine, but if that’s the case then offerings of more than S, M, L seems only fair. I feel that this is probably a men’s pattern and they shoved it into the women’s section of their site as an afterthought. The small is still not small enough on me and I’m a UK 10-12 of above average height. It would utterly swamp anyone smaller.

YARN: WATG Sheepaca. I like this yarn very much! Soft, beautifully toned and easy to work. It’s also got good sniff-ability, if that’s your thing.

MODIFICATIONS: None. I followed the pattern exactly. But, if I were to knit this again, I would remove some of the over-the-top over-sizedness of the sweater by removing 10-12 rows from the sleeves and working out a smaller starting size. Given the simplicity of the pattern, I don’t think that would be hard to achieve. I might also be tempted to work a little shaping into the waist.

VERDICT: Hmm, this is tough as there are elements that I loved (the yarn and the stitch pattern) and areas where I’m really not keen at all. I don’t find WATG’s super-chunky aesthetic overly appealing – ultimately, I want clothes that I will actually wear. I was curious enough about WATG to want to try a kit from them and I had hoped that the Stevie would be a little different, I certainly expected that knitting the small size would bypass the oversize thing and leave me with a more fitted sweater. It’s disappointing that this didn’t work out and actually finding a size to fit was a problem.

Then there’s the weight. This sweater is HEAVY. As in I’m scared of stretching it when I handle it and put it on heavy. It’s such a contrast to all my other jumpers, both hand-knit and bought, which are made of Shetland and Icelandic wool; this yields an impossibly light and sturdy jumper. It’s all a shame really, the stitch pattern and the simple construction are great and could have produced a lovely sweater as well as providing a good ‘first jumper’ for improving knitters. But what I have is a £150 heavy house-sweater rather than the throw-it-over-everything sweater I had envisioned living and dying in.

Lessons have been learnt, uber-cool, instant gratification knitting isn’t for me, I expect my clothes to work hard and be loved. I would buy WATG yarns again, but I’m afraid the pattern side of things leans too much towards style over substance. I would always rather a business slow down and produce a few good, well-tested and thought-through patterns than flood their site with hundreds of half-baked attempts.

I hate being negative, but I would rather be honest as their kits and patterns are such a significant investment. Now, back to the finishing on my Sundottir. I really am excited about that one (it might be my live-in/die-in sweater!)

Wool and the Gang Stevie Sweater knitting Sheepaca yarn

Wool and the Gang Stevie Sweater knitting Sheepaca yarn

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