A More Fitted Alyeska
The Aleuts are a native American people related to the Eskimos who currently inhabit the Aleutian Islands, western Alaska and small portions of eastern Russia. Their language–the Aleut language–is still spoken today, albeit sparsely, and it is the Aleut word Alyeska, meaning “great land,” from which the name for the state of Alaska is derived.
The Alyeska sweater is an extravagantly intricate mixture of practically allover colorwork that includes teardrop and mountain-like lines in the yoke, bar and cross-like shapes further down, and a dotted body and sleeves. It was no surprise to learn that the great land of mountainous, snowy Alaska inspired Caitlin Hunter in her design of the Alyeska sweater.
My latest test knit for the aforementioned Caitlin of Boyland Knitworks, Alyeska opened the door for me to work with yarn from Ritual Dyes (operated by dyeing genius Rachel) for the first time. Let me just say, wow. This gradient yarn kit, which includes skeins of the Ritual Dyes oh-so-soft fingering base Crone and the angelic mohair base Fae, has blown my mind. That baby blue had me tickled pink. What a treat it is to knit with this yarn! I cannot wait to get more, should I ever be lucky enough to score some following Rachel’s quickly sold-out updates.
For this extensive colorwork project I did things a little differently than I normally do. Feeling the need to move quickly and meet the deadline, I cast aside my no-floats method and actually knit the colorwork as a normal knitter would do (with floats). However, for me this method proved tighter than my standard no-floats method (to which I have already returned for my current colorwork WIP), so my colorwork gauge did not end up matching my gauge for stockinette as it normally does. Hence my gauge got off, and as I started to notice this change I persisted on nonetheless, feeling confident that the sweater would block out fine.
The gauge for this sweater is loosely knit (by my standards) on US size 4 needles, and Alyeska is meant to have a resulting positive ease of 4-6 inches for the bust and 0-1 inch for the sleeves. While my stockinette swatch was close to but just tighter than the pattern gauge, my colorwork strayed even further, and I ended up with a positive ease of about two inches at the bust. My gauge on size 4 needles was 26.5 stitches for 4 inches, far more snug than the pattern’s 22 stitches. Eek! It seems I committed a grave error, a tester no-no. [Hand to forehead emoji placed here.]
As shown in the shot above, I also differed in my usual ways by knitting the sleeves one-at-a-time, rather than two. There was simply too much colorwork for me to knit them my way.
I should mention that I was working with a rough draft of the pattern, so there are slight differences in the colorwork design.
Despite the headaches, I am very pleased with the unintended fittedness of my Alyeska. While I strive for perfection in knitting I suppose I am not above making mistakes. Oh well, lesson learned. The design is so lovely and the yarn so dreamy that it would have been hard to feel dissatisfied with an even tighter result. Unabashedly, I must declare that I love it!