I just finished my Kelpie sweater (personal design) and I am totally in love.  Actually, like everything I just finish, I see where I would want to make changes but then still love it anyway 🙂

Collar is a 1×1 with KnitPicks Wool Of The Andes in Spruce on the outside, Andean Silk in Cream for the turning row and then on the inner collar. 

Raglan sleeves with a panel of 3.5 repeats of 2×2 ((p2, k2)*p2) down the sleeve ending in 4″ cuffs with the same Andean Silk turning row and lining.  When wearing, the sleeve length is perfect, even when moving about and reaching high and low and the AS on the cuff is so nice and soft!

Body of sweater was knit in the round and then steeked with a crochet steek and has the same 3.5 repeats of 2×2 running the length of the body beginning at the under arms to give waist shaping.  Body ends mid-hip with 2″ of 1×1 rib and again uses the AS as a turning row and hem. 

All edges were cast off using JSSBO.

After crocheting and cutting the steek I learned 2 things.  #1, I like crochet steeks and #2, I need to leave more stitches between steek and what I pick up for a  button band.  I only used a 4 stitch steek (2 on each side) and picked up after stitch 3.   A few of the stitches came loose but were saved 🙂 Maybe this was also because I am not deft with a crochet hook, especially considering this is the first time I have ever really had use for one!  You can see the steek well in the collar shot.  After a phone call to Mum, I made my first button bands following the mantra “Pick up 3, skip 1” and picked up 3 for every 4 stitches that way.  I then did the same for the other side and made 1 row button holes by *YO, k2tog, work 6 in pattern* and while I ended up with about 6 more button holes than I originally intended (18 not 12), I LOVE the way the sweater looks with lots of buttons.  I used 1/2″ shell buttons and the irridescence really plays well with the spruce/teal colour of the sweater and the Kelpie idea of the sweater.

Now, a short definition of “Kelpie”  While not really in reference to the 1913 Herbert Draper painting, if you blend all the shades of green that he used, I think you could get close to the colour I used, despite the fact that the hide of a Kelpie is traditionally thought of being black or white.  Nor is my reference to the Australian Kelpie, which makes one wonder, not withstanding the Scots owner who must have been feeling rather homesick, how on earth did this name come to be associated with this animal? Neither black nor white OR horse-like!

Straight from Wikipedia, which we *all* know to be an acceptable resource for scholarly writings, “The kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic folklore that is believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland and Ireland; the name may be from Scottish Gaelic cailpeach or colpach ‘heifer, colt.’.  I personally prefer this definition, so I’ll say the latter is the definition that I based my sweater on.  Honestly though, I use the name Kelpie because it is the sweater I was inspired to recreate and make after watching the movie, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep.  The mother, played by Emily Watson, wears a sweater that I had to look at over and over again because I liked it that much and wanted to make something like it.  There is a photo here where you can see the very top of her shoulder but sadly, I couldn’t find any that showed more of it.  In essence, her sweater had ribbing on the top of the arms, around the waist and then at the hem and cuffs.  The fit of the sweater with the ribbing at the waist was lovely but not something that I was going to try.  I did know, from making my now semi-felted Ribbi Cardi, that a bit of ribbing running the length of the sweater at the area of traditional seams would create waist shaping too so I decided to create with that image in my mind.

If you know me IRL, you will know that my stick figures are atrocious and that, short of maps with straight lines, I don’t draw.  I would rather hunt for a USB cord and an email address than subject any provider of my medical drawings and steadfastly stick with pre-drawn figures with an X marking the spot or a photo.  You can imagine then the state of my sketchbook.  Lines everywhere bearing absolutely no resemblance to the finished object in any conceivable way.  No one asked to imagine the sweater from the sketches I made could possible get what I came up with but the important part is that *I* knew what it was to look like in the end.  Sort of.  The parts I didn’t know I relegated to maths.  My mum can tell you how wonderful I am with numbers (not at all), so I am sure she is as surprised as anyone, myself included, that my gauge calculations were correct and that I have a garment that not only fits but fits well and looks good too.  I love it when things work out like that.  Mayhaps I’ll consider continuing to making gauge swatches in the future…

Now, on to what I would change.  Its only one thing and not all that major but I would have liked to be able to go back and make the collar a bit tighter by 1-1.5″.  The collar was perfect when I tried it on once the sleeves and hem were done with the small problem that at the start I had forgotten to do one thing and hadn’t decided to do another yet.  I had forgotten to use a smaller needle size for the ribbing (US4 instead of US6) and when I began the sweater back in late December, I really hadn’t formed the complete idea in my head and thus didn’t know that I wanted an alpaca, wool and silk contrasting lining for the collar, cuffs and hem and therefore didn’t have the yarn I needed for the finished garment.  So, after everything else was done, as this is a top-down sweater and there is no simple way to unpick knitting from the cast-0n side, I decided to snip the center stitch of the steek, pull back to detach the collar, pick up the exposed stitches with the smaller needle and then simply reknit upwards and add the turning round and hem.  A good idea in thought, a crap idea in practice as I forgot the most important of facts that I would always be half a stitch off until I came to the place where the round actually began, center back.  If this had been all in straight knitting or purling it would have been only caught by the most expert of knitters examining the sweater very closely.  Unfortunately for me, there were 3.5 repeats of 2×2 ribbing on the shoulder between the front and back and while not even the novice or uninitiated wool minion can *really* see fix, I know its there.  Repeating “Only Allah is Perfect” helps a bit as does knowing that hindsight is 20/20 and I’ll not make that mistake twice.

Despite my wishes for a slightly tighter collar, I am in love with this sweater.  The pictures I took at work this morning just after finishing with the buttons and I haven’t taken off my lovely sweater yet.  Normally I would want to block it but I think that this one will be OK to be worn for a while before I lose it for a few days to the laundry room to dry post-soak.  It will look nicer when all the stitches have been settled but that can at least wait until this weekend.  I know that this sweater is going to be my Grab-N-Go piece and a staple for a long time to come and I am already thinking towards another sweater like this one in a more sedate colour.  Maybe I can use the Peace Fleece that has been hanging around…

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