Sipila: 2019’s Purple Birthday Sweater

My attitude toward colorwork is decidedly ambivalent. I am totally smitten with colorwork motifs, but the process is never one that I enjoy. You may be familiar with my not-so-stranded method for knitting colorwork in which I catch the floats following every stitch. While I have determined that this method works best for me, it is extraordinarily tedious and quite difficult for sleeves. Therefore, for this project I decided to knit the sleeves inside out and just strand the dang floats along, as most knitters do. The sleeves turned out very well for the outside, but the insides are laden with floats, which I find entangling and unsightly.

Nevertheless, this sweater was worth the float consternation! Few design trait combinations captivate me more than intricate colorwork with fingering weight yarn. Fingering weight sweaters in general are my favorite because I think they have the best drape. (Sure, the miles of stockinette make for one of the most vapid exercises in knitting, but in the end the thin, supple fabric flatters the figure and obviously feels more weightless than heavier sweaters.) Sipila is one of those designs that caught my eye the moment it was released, and I knew I would make one, despite the work it would involve.

Sipila was released about a year ago by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. I have knit more of her designs than those of any other designer for a reason: her patterns are beautiful, singular, never boring and concisely written. Sipila hooked me for all of these reasons, but the stunningly elaborate sleeves pushed me over the edge. (By the way, this pattern includes a short-sleeved version as well, which I may have to make one day.)

While fingering weight sweaters are my favorite, I will go a step further and say that specifically, sweaters knit with single ply fingering are my very favorite. Single ply is softer and lighter because of the minimal twist, making it more delicate and luxurious. However, it does tend to bloom more–which is lovely in my book–but I’ll have to remember not to go jogging in my Sipila lest my underarms grow too fuzzy. Wait, that came out wrong.

My absolute favorite single ply is Ritual Dyes Crone, which is 100% Superwash Merino wool. I used this same yarn for my Alyeska sweater, and in my experience Crone is more durable than some of the other single plies I’ve used, so it was a no-brainer for Sipila. The main purple colorway with fuchsia undertones is called Belladonna, and the white with grayish purple streaks and green and orange speckles is called Ametrine. It is a stunning combo, if I do say so myself.

I started my Sipila in February, which is when I always try to work on a purple sweater because that is my birth month. (Purple is the color of February’s birth symbols, including its birth stone, amethyst.) It is a ritual of sorts in which I celebrate another trip around the sun and embrace my aging self, and there is no yarn brand that would render the occasion more special than Ritual Dyes.

I made no adjustments to the Sipila pattern other than lengthening the sleeves 0.75 inches, which I have to do for most all patterns thanks to my long arms. If I knit this sweater again I will definitely go up a size because I have grown fonder and fonder of greater ease in my sweaters, as depicted by Caitlin Hunter when she models her designs. In stores I wear both Medium and Small sizes, but from here on out I think it will be Medium for me when knitting sweaters.

If you would like to visit the Sipila pattern page in Caitlin Hunter’s Ravelry store, click here.

If you would like to see my Sipila project page on Ravelry, click here.

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