The Soldotna Crop is one of those quick knits that weasels its way between your other projects–or so it did me. My Aussie friend, Karina @tomahawkcreekcreative, calls these sneaky knits “queue jumpers” because that is precisely what they do. A design by Caitlin Hunter / Boyland Knitworks, Soldotna hooked me instantly. Whether it was the uniquely patterned yoke, delicately dotted body, contrasting framed edges or all of the above, the design stopped me in my tracks. As I started to see more and more Soldotna projects popping up in my Instagram feed, I decided that one day soon (not immediately) I would knit my own version. After all, I was and continue to be elbow deep in two tee designs, and my Sipila sweater is begging me to complete the body. Then friends started to discuss Soldotna with me–their current projects or their plans for one. Resistance became futile.
I wondered if I had anything in my stash that would work…
Earlier this year (for my birthday in fact) I went on a weekend trip to San Francisco with my friend Jackie. I booked the trip with plans to attend Stitches West, which was only an hour or less south in Santa Clara. I’m a quick shopper and not keen on lingering in fluorescent-lit convention halls, so when we arrived at Stitches I hit the booths and promptly departed an hour or so later. One booth where I spent a great deal of my time was Spincycle Yarns. I circled all of their yarn repeatedly before becoming awestruck with a baby/sky blue called Ebb & Flow. It was on their Versus base, a DK weight 2-ply of “100% fine wool.” I badly wanted a baby blue sweater, and as I rummaged through the other colors I started envisioning a neutral yoke on a baby blue body. I bought several skeins of Ebb & Flow and one skein each of Suit & Tie (black), Beets & Bears (yellow), Slow & Steady (white) and Tobacco & Rye (brown).
All it took was a quick glance at my stash before determining that my Soldotna would be baby blue. Or sky blue. Depending on the lighting, Ebb & Flow can take on either shade.
My gauge was spot on, as it tends to be with all of Caitlin Hunter’s designs when I use my wonky colorwork method. I started knitting the yoke and debated frogging thereon until I reached the body. Versus is a solid color plied with a gray, rendering a marled yarn. At first, this marled look didn’t seem to offer much contrast for my Soldotna, and I wondered whether I had chosen wrongly for this design. However, my husband loved the colors and urged me on, and boy, am I glad I persevered through the doubts!
In the end, my Soldotna does not have the most stark contrast, but my colorwork projects rarely do. When working with bright colors I like a balance that requires some subtlety, and I think that is what I achieved here.
The colors of Versus are phenomenal, but little did I know that once knit up it creates a deliciously soft and stretchy fabric. The softness is not unlike cotton, and it drapes quite nicely for this boxy design.
I made no adjustments to the pattern other than repeating the body colorwork segment an additional two times, for a total of seven repeats. I love the look of cropped sweaters but lack the confidence to wear them boldly, so I needed a little extra length to feel good in my high-waisted jeans. Also, I ended up having to order one additional skein of Suit & Tie in order to finish, which aligns with the pattern’s yardage requirements. (I knit the Medium size.)
Above is a shot of the inside of my Soldotna. You can see that there are no floats, as I twist the yarns following each stitch to prevent floats from forming. It is a highly tedious method of knitting colorwork, and I do not necessarily recommend it. However, there are pros to this technique. Firstly, there are no floats to get snagged on. Secondly, since there are no floats the stretchiness of the resulting fabric mimics that of plain stockinette. Do these positives outweigh the time it takes to knit this way? For me, yes. For most other people, probably not.
To view and/or purchase the Soldotna Crop in Caitlin Hunter’s Ravelry shop, click here.
To view my Soldotna Crop project page on Ravelry, click here.