Tag Archives: Berroco Karma

My Overby Sweater (or Why I Despise Seams)

_AWN4131My Overby sweater is done, and I sort of like it.  I rarely make sweaters for myself, because I’m almost pathologically picky about fit and I find wool really itchy (I know, it’s a strange confession for a knitter!).  However, when I saw this pattern, and the new cotton tape yarn it was designed for, I was completely seduced.  I love cotton sweaters, and the fit, texture and stretch of this sweater make fit less of an issue.

My Overby sweater, knit in Berroco Karma, in the spring sunshine

My Overby sweater, knit in Berroco Karma, in the spring sunshine

That said, I have mixed feelings about the results.  I still love, love, love the texture and silhouette. The actual knitting was as quick and easy as can be, but the yarn presented a few unique challenges.  Berocco Karma is a new yarn, with only 48 ravelry projects, so getting tips and help online wasn’t easy.  It’s a loosely woven cotton tape, making weaving in ends nearly impossible to do to my satisfaction.  On the advice of my LYS, I ended up attaching balls of yarn by sewing the two ends together with a few stitches in matching thread.  That didn’t solve to problem of the ends, and there are a couple places where they have worked their way to the surface.

I hate, hate, hate seaming, and this sweater is constructed in 4 flat pieces (the absolute worst method of construction if you ask me). This turned out to be the biggest hurdle and source of dissatisfaction with this sweater.  My inexperience with set-in shoulders made me reluctant to start messing with the pattern, and now I really regret it.  I should have knit as much as possible in the round, or even better used Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters to rewrite the pattern as seamless.

I started blogging, in part, to elevate my knitting skills and push myself to try new things, so I was determined to master seaming and finishing.  I scoured youtube, and watched Berroco’s own excellent videos.  It was a little too late; they recommended decreasing for the sleeve cap one or two stitches in for the sleeve cap to give yourself a firmer edge to sew into (thanks, guys, but next time put that in the pattern!).

A work in progress, sew in the sleeves

A work in progress, sew in the sleeves

I waited until my son was asleep and my husband was safely ensconced in the NHL playoffs to attack.  I laid everything out after diligently blocking. However, even with all that care, the seams do not meet my standards.  I hate wearing anything that looks amateurish, and these seams seem to have conspired against me.  The loose stitches make every misstep glaring, and somehow, I sewed one armpit slightly tighter than the other (not really visible, but still).

All that said, I loved this yarn, and the way it feels, I can’t wait to find another really great (seamless) sweater pattern for it. Please, share if you have any ideas!

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Rocky Mountain summer

Planning our summer vacation, and knitting this light cotton sweater has me thinking about my favourite trips in the Canadian summer. I love Toronto, but in high summer, it can feel like you’re living in an easy bake oven.  I’m dreaming of the more moderate, clear summer nights in the Canadian Rockies.

Mount Assiniboine Lodge in British Columbia

Mount Assiniboine Lodge in British Columbia

The inspiration for my overriding fear of grizzlies

The inspiration for my overriding fear of grizzlies

On our honeymoon in the Rockies, we engaged in most of the expected mountain activities: relaxing by the clear green water of Lake Louise, checking out the restaurants in Banff, and white water rafting and soaking in the hot springs in Jasper.

But it was one of the more tucked away parks that really stuck with me: Mount Assiniboine. I’ve never seen a mountain landscape as jaw-dropping as the area surrounding this one. Unlike its neighbours, Mount Assiniboine is accessible only by helicopter or 28 km hike over the continental divide from Canmore, Alberta. Few tourists make it here and they have to be committed. The hike was definitely not for the faint hearted, and I made the rookie mistake of wearing new boots – I still cringe when I think about the blisters.  That being said, every step (even when you factor in my all-encompassing paranoia regarding grizzly bears) was worth it.

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Finally thinking about nothing at all

Finally thinking about nothing at all

My husband had climbed the mountain before we met, and he wanted to share this special place with me after our wedding.  We stayed at Mount Assinboine Lodge, since it was such a special occasion (although the much more reasonable huts will be the location of our inevitable family visit in the coming years).

I’ve really struggled to articulate how special this place is to me. Peace and serenity are not things that come to me easily, but being surrounded by such huge, timeless beauty and profound quiet had a really powerful effect.  The Rockies, particularly in the places where you can find some solitude, are so big that they seem impervious to everything, even time.  Lying in the grass and flowers in front of the mountain, and thinking about absolutely nothing, will be a moment I remember for the rest of my life.

Mount Assiniboine, sometimes called Canada's Matterhorn (but seriously, doesn't it deserved its own name?)

Mount Assiniboine, sometimes called Canada’s Matterhorn (but seriously, doesn’t it deserved its own nickname?)

Letting my feet take the coward's way home, in the helicopter

Letting my feet take the coward’s way home, in the helicopter

On the creature comforts side, the lodge, built in 1928, is pretty special – in the middle of the wilderness, you can sit down to a delicious meal or even a sauna.  It is still pretty rustic, and it’s important to remember that the price tag reflects the isolation (everything is flown in by helicopter) more than any of the modern trimmings.  That being said, I challenge you to find anything as comfortable as a warm quilted bed, a glass of fine BC wine and these surroundings. The only question is: Is it worth it to bring your knitting on the hike?

I cannot wait to share this place with our son some day, and maybe I’ll even wear the sweater.