Sunset Highway: A Contemporary Voyage in Colorwork

DSC01554

Just when I thought I was done with pink and green combos I unconsciously selected another one for my Sunset Highway sweater.

DSC01512

The pattern is designed by Caitlin Hunter (Boyland Knitworks), and sometime around its release she announced that Olann, whose yarn she used for her sample, would be selling kits as a preorder for the sweater. I had been ogling all of Caitlin’s pics of Sunset Highway in its early stages, so I had known for a while that I would be knitting this stranded masterpiece. Once I saw the completed sweater I really liked the drape of Caitlin’s and decided I would use the same yarn in order to best achieve the same look. For colors, however, I wanted to select something unique, so rather than going with one of Olann’s kits I created my own.

IMG_4164

Alas, my preorder was delayed. As I had been anxious to start the sweater well before the pattern was released I was downright champing at the bit by the time the yarn arrived. Finally, after what felt like a century, the yarn arrived from Ireland. My colors (shown above) are, from left to right, Cooties (main color), Nova, Lovers Lane and Lithe. Nova, the dark blue with colorful speckles, is my favorite.

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

I do a lot of knitting in the car while waiting in the line to pick up my kids from school. The start of my yoke is above. Below is my progress a few days later, after my husband happened to pick up a beautiful bouquet of tulips and baby’s breath that coordinated with my Sunset Highway quite nicely.

IMG_4234

There was little to no momentum to speak of with this sweater during the stranded sections, and the yoke dragged on and on. Apparently time moves slowly when you choose an insanely difficult method for colorwork. I have a confession: I don’t do stranded at all. Not in its full sense. I have a strong aversion to floats, and as I have explained to many knitters, I just cannot stand fingers and toes getting snagged on strands of yarn that typically lace the wrong side of garments that feature colorwork. Several years ago I knit stranded Christmas stockings for my family, and believe me, there are few things more irritating than trying to cram toys and candy into stockings designed with a thousand hidden strands of yarn beckoning to entangle anything that slides by.

IMG_4268

Furthermore, I have never been good at stranded knitting and always had tension issues with floats. So how do I actually do colorwork, you ask? Rather than carrying the yarn along the back of the work across groups of stitches, I twist the yarn at every single stitch. This method allows me to have better control (control freak here!) over the tension throughout the colorwork and results in a fabric that is nearly as stretchy as stockinette worked in one color. Pictures of my Sunset Highway sweater turned inside out are down below.

While this method has always worked favorably for me in the past, this time I used singles for this project, and since constant twisting is relatively stressful for the yarn, it broke a dozen or so times. I used the opportunity of one break to make a quick video for Instagram demonstrating how to wet splice, or spit splice, the yarn back together. A common knitter’s trick!

After completing the yoke the sweater was a monotonous breeze–until it was time to work the sleeves. However, the colorwork on the sleeves was a small hurdle compared with the six-inch cuffs, which were inexplicably agonizing. Perhaps it’s because the cuffs are at the long-awaited end, but more likely, it’s the 2 x 2 ribbing working on tiny needles for six inches (yet, following a huge decrease). I don’t get it, but my friends were in agreement that it was the most draining part. Notwithstanding, the cuffs are a super cute design element, and I wouldn’t have them any other way.

IMG_4347

When sleeves are worked identically there’s no way for me to knit them other than two-at-a-time (above). Those of you who know me know I’m anal about working pairs together. I simply lack the mental patience to do it any other way.

I am so happy with my completed Sunset Highway! Sweaters knit with fingering yarn can be trying, but it was well worth it. I followed the pattern to a T, and in the future I would only change how I blocked it. I think I prefer the unblocked hem (see a few pics below), which rolled up and kept the sweater at a moderate length. After blocking the sweater is rather long and tunic-like, which means I’ll have to wear it tucked in or as a tunic. In other words, a sweater I had envisioned to be able to dress up or dress down will now only be worn casually. Or I may just re-block it and attempt to roll up the hem…

DSC01545

Below are shots of my completed Sunset Highway sweater before blocking, followed by a shot post blocking. You can see that I unrolled the hem and stretched out the arms a bit, as they were a tad short for my long monkey arms. (Again, I somewhat regret unrolling the hem.) There are also shots below of the sweater inside out.

FDEJ5363
Sunset Highway sweater unblocked
DSC01480
Sunset Highway sweater after blocking
DSC01464
Sunset highway sweater inside out
DSC01467
Sunset Highway sweater inside out close up
%d bloggers like this: