Sunset Highway

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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Sunset Highway sweater unblocked
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Sunset Highway sweater after blocking
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Sunset highway sweater inside out
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Sunset Highway sweater inside out close up

Tegna II

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Tegna II is done.

Clearly I really like the Tegna knitting pattern by Caitlin Hunter (Boyland Knitworks). Released in May of this year, Tegna is constructed from the bottom up starting with the lace section and has a loose, boxy shape that I feel is well suited for hand knit garments. For me the fit is perfect, on top of all the other amazing features of this top, so how could I resist knitting a second one?

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Since my first Tegna is what I consider to be a neutral version I decided to go with more color for the second one. Recently I had become aware of the allure of Garn Stories, a German based yarn company that seems to specialize quite well in speckles–just what I was looking for! I went with the colorway Magic Mint, which is a blue-green (although more green than blue) and white yarn with multi-colored speckles. It is luscious!

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Having already worn my first Tegna about a dozen times I think we can expect this one to get a ton of wear. To view and read about my first Tegna, click here.

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The Tegna Tee

I really don’t know where to begin with the Tegna tee. Genuinely, this top has blown my mind. It is by far my favorite knit piece ever, and that is saying something because I love my knit pieces.

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The Tegna pattern is authored by Caitlin Hunter (@boylandknitworks on Instagram), and while this pattern is her first for me, it shall certainly not be my last. Let’s work our way sequentially through the pattern, starting with the bottom lace section. The chart is clear, simple and easy to follow, yet the lace is varied and interesting enough to thwart the doldrums. To top it off the hem is ridiculously stunning and drapes gracefully from the body of the garment. It’s plain to see that the lace and over-sized fit are a match made in heaven.

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Which brings us to the fit. The Tegna top is meant to fit loosely for that over-sized look and comfy feel we’ve all grown accustomed to with the fashion trends of the past few years. However, somehow Hunter has magically conceived a knit boxy tee design that is actually flattering. No small task, indeed.

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Perhaps the reason the baggy fit succeeds to this degree is that the shoulders and arms are fitted to just the right snugness, and the relaxed and open neckline further complements the overall design. I do not exaggerate when I say this pattern is 100% lacking in flaws. There is not one teeny adjustment I will make on my next Tegna. Yes, I will definitely be making another Tegna. The pattern can be purchased here.

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I knit the sleeves two-at-a-time (see above) because knitting sleeves, socks, mitts, etc. one at a time drives me crazy. Knowing I have another identical object to knit inevitably slows down my work due to the foreseen mental weariness and consequent procrastination. To view my instructions for knitting sleeves two-at-a-time click here.

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This top would be gorgeous and stylish in any color, but I am in love with my color choice! The yarn is Woolberry Fiber Co. Pure Merino in the Farmer’s Market colorway, which is a delicious speckled neutral–one of my favorite schemes! I had never seen a gray yarn with specks of purple, orange and dark green. It’s ravishing.

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A little bird told me she might adjust the pattern for child’s sizes. In that case my daughter will have one hanging in her closet, for sure.

To view this project on Ravelry, click here.

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