My dear Carpino

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.

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The Carpino photographed in Amsterdam

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).

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Knitting in my Coruña apartment

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.

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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!

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The finished Carpino photographed in a friend’s house in NZ

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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)

WIPs and queue check

It’s Monday again. Last weekend came and went with rather little knitting in it – in part due to my new Kindle and a sudden urge to read all I can get my hands on. After finishing my rapid Hermaness Worsted, there are essentially three WIPs left in my imaginary knitting basket:

  1. The Carpino sweater by Carol Feller. Yesterday I finally picked it up again to continue working on the sleeves. I’m currently halfway through the left one, and finding it excruciatingly boring… which makes me daydreaming about future projects. I really have to get done with this before getting started on anything else.
  2. The Little Wave cardigan by Gudrun Johnston. This is a guy’s version, being made for Chan. It’s been around I don’t even remember since when. I put it on hold during the summer – it was already bulky and little portable for holiday knitting. Now that winter’s on us, I should get it done soon. You know, “winter is coming, knit faster”, as they say… And this is a real fun pattern too!
  3. The Rib-Wise Tank by the Purl Soho. Ouch! I was knitting this over the beginning of summer in hopes of finishing in time to wear. Which didn’t happen greatly due to the nightmarish attached l-cord, which took ages to master. Also, I’m a bit disappointed in how it turned out (a bit too short, and the neck shaping a bit medieval), so I kind of lost motivation. Will have to give it a go these days though and see if blocking helps. I really hope I’ll not have to end up frogging it, since now the only missing parts is l-cord around the neck…

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Plans:

Since we are moving across the world in January, I’d better knit up as much as I can from my stash and/or give away whatever I can. I don’t know how I’ll manage, and I seem to become more and more hysterical. I had bought yarn for:

  1. Another Little Wave cardigan (lady version), for myself. I am dying to get started because it is the same yarn as the one I used for the Hermaness and really liked working with it. It also is going to be a similar rust colour as the one appearing on the original photographs of the pattern, which I just love love love. Will see how it goes.
  2. The Reversible Rivulet Scarf by the Purl Bee. Again, my yarn is a very similar lime-green to the original sample. I’m starting to think I choose patterns not because of the actual pattern, but because of the colours. In fact, I’ve been thinking of using the same yarn for a sweater instead, because I’m no longer sure whether I’m a scarf person or not. At any rate, this might end up being my in-flight project for the January move.

What is going to become of the rest of my stash is a good question. I will have to do some pattern hunting as I might have enough left over yarn for a colour work sweater in pale violets. And some colour work mittens/beanies should also be due for Christmas. Having said this, I might as well just quit my job, social life, training plan and other hobbies to get all the knitting done…

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