With the – according to the locals – unusual summer heat and lovely sunshine in Wellington, it is somewhat odd to think about sweaters and winter wear. At the same time, I’m quite eager to get back to some sort of blogging routine, as well as to tell you about the finished – although still unblocked – Carpino sweater.
As with each and every handmade garment, I find it somewhat fun to think through the whole process of why and when one decided to make a given piece, the hows and whys of the choice of yarn, and – especially – the making process.
Regarding the choice of the pattern, all I can say, it is probably the most generic story happening to most knitters involved in social media. I saw somebody repost somebody else’s Instagram photo of a light grey Carpino saying they would someday knit the sweater. And I thought the same: someday… I saved the project among my Ravely favourites, and then became gradually more and more obsessed with it. I had to have a Carpino, and a light grey one. Mind you, this happened in the height of writing up my dissertation – a period when it is rather easy to get obsessed with anything that is not one’s dissertation.
And here we come to the choice of yarn. To be honest, I’m not much of a yarn snob, plus, just to say it again, I was a PhD student – by definition on a budget – so, while I was keen to try some 100% natural fibres, I was also mindful of not spending too much. This is how I ended up with Drops Alpaca in light grey, a yarn I hear good things about, and which was also discounted. (Note that Drops seems to have regular seasonal discounts of given types of yarn – currently, they are offering felting yarns with 25% off).
Drops Alpaca is a rather light fingering weight yarn, so after swatching and blocking my swatch, I decided to go one size up on the sweater, and knit size 39 to get 35 1/2 on 3.5 mm needles, which seems to have worked out perfectly.
Precisely, because making a sweater, especially one knit with fingering weight yarn, takes such a long time, it is the truest of woolventures. After much yearning, I finally cast on the Carpino in August, during our summer holidays in the Dolomites in Italy. By then my dissertation was in revision phase, so I felt like I could definitely allow myself the luxury of starting on a more ambitious knitting project. While knitting the sweater itself was rather uneventful – i.e. I just followed the pattern as it is – the Carpino did become a bit of a traveller, as it was slowly evolving.
After Italy, it travelled back to Amsterdam, where Chan was working at the time. At the beginning of September we returned to A Coruña, in north-western Spain, where we even went to an adventure race together (long waits for relay teams). In October we visited Budapest to run the Budapest Marathon and went to see my family in Szolnok – also in Hungary. Finally, after probably one more visit to Amsterdam, we ended up in Wellington, where the finishing touches were added. Now, dare to say that this garment does not have some story!
Pattern: Carol Ferell’s Carpino by Brooklyn Tweed
Yarn: 7.5-8 skeins of Drops Alpaca (in colourway 501 – light grey)
Needles: 3.5 mm (knitted in size 39 to get about 35 1/2)