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Rhinebeck Sunrise Sweater

rhinebeck sweater

Pattern: Eisen
Needles: US 2.5 and US 3
Yarn: Handspun Sport-Weight 2-ply Texel wool.  Tequila Sunrise Colorway via Southern Cross Fibre

This project was a culmination of Tour de Fleece (where-in spinners take to their wheels during the same time as the Tour de France), a Sweater Spin-and-Knit-Along and the need to get the requisite “Rhinebeck Sweater” knit before I actually made my pilgrimmage.

Completed in approximately two weeks before I tried it on and tore most of it back out again in a fit of pique…

And now for the official cast on

The next round of spinning has been selected...here is what I hope amounts to be a sweater lot of tequila sunrise on texelIt all started with 20 ounces of brightly dyed texel wool from Southern Cross Fibre.  Apparently, aging has made me enjoy brighter and girlier hues…this Tequila Sunrise colorway was begging to be turned into outerwear cardigan of some sort…and since I had selected it for my tour de fleece spinning, it only made sense to transition that right on into Rhinebeck Sweater Knitting…never mind that I didn’t actually get it all spun and plied during the tour, but what matters is I did get it done eventually, allowing me to actually start knitting the sweater…

After spinning and plying, this pile of fluff turned into 1810 yards of sport-weight yarn…it took a total of 3 jumbo bobbins to ply it all…but I joined them all back together while winding the yarn for measurement and washing.  The resulting yarn-cake was rather impressive if I do say so myself:

CrownedAfter perusing various patterns,  I settled on Eisen, knowing full well that I was going to be doing some pattern modification.  Swatching got me down to US 2.5 and US 3 needles (oh goody! Fine Gauge sweater knitting!) and off to the races I went 🙂

Eisen is a top-down seamless raglan cardigan – I recommend double checking your own personal measurements (either off your body or off an old favorite raglan sweater) to make appropriate adjustments as necessary.  There are quite a large number of inches in between sizes (4 inches at the bust) – if I had to do it again, I’d  knit a size smaller – especially since this cardigan is designed to be worn open or with significant overlap of the front bands.

Knitting up Round 1: The first time around, I followed the pattern faithfully through the underarm join, adding a few short rows just below the collar at the back of the sweater – another option would be to do a few extra rows at the back of the sweater before joining – this latter option would reduce any chance of weird lumping of the sweater just under the collar.

Post blockingAfter the join under the arms, I diverted from the pattern, opting to knit the body with some back darts and ignoring the increases to make the sweater into a swing-shape.  I also significantly lengthened the body (knitting stockinette for 10 inches, with a finished body length of about 13 inches) .  I also did not add any stitches on the row prior to starting the cabled rib hem – which resulted in the hem contracting slightly compared to the body even after blocking.  Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with the fit of the cardigan – the sleeves were much too roomy, and even with the back shaping, the fit through the body was much too boxy.

Knitting Round 2: After considerable deliberation, and knowing how the poor fit would only cause me to never wear the cardigan, I opted to tear it back…more or less all the way to the yoke – body and sleeves inclusive.  If I had to do it again, I would consider tearing past the join to get the raglan depth more shallow.  Ultimately, the raglan depth set the fit through the bust and also determined the fit of the sleeves at the upper-arm.

I started the reknit with the sleeves first – the decreases this time were much more aggressive, spacing multiple evenly around the sleeve rather than just at where the sleeve seam would be.  the taper was much more aggressive, and had me a little bit concerned for mutton-leg shaped sleeves given how large they were at the top, but post blocking, everything worked out quite nicely.  If anything, I kind of wish I had put in thumb holes, seeing as the sleeves are long enough to stretch clear down to my fingertips (I’m fond of longish-sleeves that can be folded up at will or pulled down like mitts).

After reknitting the sleeves, I opted to tear back the body and reknit it, this time adding shaping at the side seams as well as in the front.  The fit is still slightly roomy, but suitable for an outerwear garment.  While at Rhinebeck, I picked up a lovely glass sheep shawlpin from the Ernsts to help keep the cardigan closed. Now that it’s been redone, I’m much happier with the overall fit and expect to get plenty of use out of this cardi once the weather cools down.  Texel is a sturdy wool, and after the tearing out, I’m quite confident in saying it would be suitable for a steeking project.

Finished!

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