I love stranded knitting, and in a way I feel like that’s the pinnacle of knitting. Maybe because, for so long, “knitted sweaters” equaled fair isle or Norwegian stars or lice patterns. Lovely, by the way, how such a cute pattern can be called “lice.” For all of my love for stranded knitting, I haven’t done very much of it, limiting it to some hats and a pair of gloves that I consider my top achievement thus far.
It’s just very slow going. I knit with both hands, and it’s just a bit clumsy. I’m a pretty fast knitter, so I don’t really like having to slow down. However, my tension has gotten much better over the years, and I’m ready to take the plunge in knitting a whole stranded sweater.
In fact, I always thought my first stranded sweater would be something classically fair isle, in a grey-yellow combination or something like that. But enter THE SWEATER:
It’s a Bohus style sweater in a 2013 issue of Keito Dama (Knitting Vogue in Japan). I’ve had this magazine for a while, but in the last year or so I all of a sudden just knew that THIS was the sweater I wanted. On the face of it, it’s a strange choice. I’m not a purple girl, usually, yet that maroon is so deep and lovely. And combining it with a dull army green? And yellow and teal? Not color choices that I would ever make.
Yet they go together so well. And it feels interesting, and unique. Plus, you can tell there’s a bit of a texture variation since some yarns are a bit thinner than others. I just love it. It’s a rare Japanese pattern that’s written in the round, and best of all, it would be my first yoke sweater too, which I’m curious to try.
My weakness is choosing colors, and I knew I just wanted the exact color scheme in the photo. (In fact, I usually choose patterns based on the photos. If it’s knitted in coral or grey I’ll probably want to knit one myself). Well, the good thing about knitting from Keito Dama is that all the yarn can be sourced in Japan. This one is made with Puppy yarns, which is a pretty big company. I hunted down the yarns a couple of months ago online, and mostly all of them were available, so I decided to wait on purchasing.
Well, the bad thing about knitting from Keito Dama is that the yarns get discontinued extremely fast. Looking again recently led to the discovery that Puppy had deleted all the necessary yarns off of their databases, so obv- all discontinued. Luckily, searching Rakuten and Amazon yielded all of the Boboli yarn, which was 75% of the yarn required.
However, the New Pichenette line is completely gone. First of all, the yellow (which is actually a yellow, pink, and blue variegated yarn) probably was a limited time thing, because I can’t even find listings for it anywhere. The red is a tomato-red color which should be easy to substitute with some fingering weight yarn. But the blue is that special shade of light blue-green that is impossible to find ANYWHERE.
Light blue is easy. But light blue green must not be a popular shade in Japan. I’ve looked through Hamanaka and Diakeito’s selections, and NOTHING matches. Even other Puppy yarns must take dye differently, because they have bright neon green yarns, yet none of that beautiful marine shade. The yellow yarn can be substituted for some solid yellow shade, but this marine shade seems non-negotiable.
So then I searched some foreign yarns, and it seemed like only Knit Picks Palette had what I needed. But Knit Picks doesn’t ship to Japan – I can ship it to my mother, who can forward it to me, but I held out for something purchaseable here.
And then, flipping through my secret tumblr feed (mostly it’s knitting blogs and anime trash), I saw it. The perfect shade, knitted up in a shawl. It’s Malabrigo’s Lace in Water Green. And luckily enough, I found a place that sells it in Japan! (honestly the place is a bit sketch so I’m waiting for them to contact me back) Even if it doesn’t work out, I now know exactly what I need – and hey it’s not like I’m going to be starting a heavy knitted sweater as we roll into spring and summer, yeah? Maybe?
(Casts on immediately after getting the necessary yarn)
Oh, who am I kidding? I still need to find a substitute for that weird yellow yarn too…