I recently finished my Altheda sweater and I think it’s taken me longer to write this blog post than it did to knit up the sweater.
The usual details first:
Pattern: Altheda / Jennifer Steingass
Yarn: Rauma Finull PT2
Needles: Size 4
Cast on: 6/9/2020
Cast off: 7/30/2020
The pattern page on Ravelry can be found here.
The story of this shawl begins a cold night, a few winter seasons ago. How poetic. There was a black friday I think in 2018 where I bought myself quite a bit of yarn. I then asked my husband to wrap it up for me. The idea was to basically buy most of the yarn I would use in the following year as I was most definitely hooked on knitting at that point. This was before agirlandherwool was born and so all of my free time went to knitting, without having to worry about a side hustle.
I bought this yarn (on sale for sure) from The Woolly Thistle with plans to make the Silver Forest pattern. Colorwork yoke sweaters were at their peak then and I had plans for a few. I wanted to try the Rauma yarn because I heard so many good things and I also know how non-superwash wool is the best for colorwork. This is true, you can totally see the difference in how the stitches look in superwash yarn vs non-superwash yarn. The non-superwash yarn will blend together more for a more complete looking image at the end without seeing the individual stitches.
Sometime in early 2019, I did a gauge swatch for the Silver Forest sweater and couldn’t believe that there was no way for me to get the right gauge for the sweater. I ended up looking at the projects on Ravelry for this pattern and found someone had a similar experience with the pattern and yarn pairing. Further research showed me many people end up knitting DK weight sweaters with this yarn in order to get the correct gauge. I was so disappointed for sure that the sweater went on the back burner. By that point, I was probably getting closer to opening up my shop that the knitting time drastically decreased. Funny how that works. You stock up on yarn, plan all of the projects, then give yourself a side hustle and take away all of your free time. Wouldn’t change it.
So now we are in 2020 and I really want to knit down most of my stash. This sweater quantity was the only one that I had in my stash and so I committed to finding the right pattern for it. I actually have a video on my YouTube channel about searching for the pattern and talking about some of this in more detail if you’re interested. Here’s the link.
I spent a bunch of time looking for patterns that would use all of the colors I bought for the original pattern, which is a main color, plus three contrast colors. If you look at the Altheda pattern, it only calls for one contrast color. However, I saw a great project that used multiple contrast colors and I thought “this is it!” I then grabbed my swatch to see which needles I needed and what do you know, I had absolutely no way to tell which needles I needed. I didn’t do the knot trick using the end to mark it (where you make 1 knot for every size). Even though I knit a very good sized swatch, it was useless and I basically guessed at which needles I needed. Oh well. I tried, right? It would have just lied to me anyway, right? Right!
I ended up casting this on during a cast on party where I prepped a bunch of projects that would be ready to go when I needed it. I mean, imagine it. I need a new project and I would have had to go through ALL OF THE ABOVE before I could have a project. It was so nice to sort all of that out and when I was ready for the project, it was ready for me.
I knit the yoke on and off for a few weeks, but then after I finished the Mountain Springs Lake wrap (post coming soon!), it became my focus. I think I knit the body in a week and the sleeves were done soon after. It really went that quickly. Normally bodies of sweaters without shaping, like this one, become movie theater knitting and so I end up working on them sporadically. Well, there hasn’t been any movie theater goings recently so what do you know? I knit the sweater in a few weeks.
With it going so quickly, there’s not too much to add there. I contemplated whether or not to knit the hem as ribbing or garter as the pattern called for garter. I ended up doing it as written since the neckline was already done and I figured it should match. So that was that drama. Not drama. I did knit less of the garter hem on the sleeves, so there’s my rebellion for ya.
In terms of needles, I used Size 2 for the body. This means I went down the hem to a size 1 and up for the colorwork to a size 3. I also went up to a size 3 for the sleeves as those usually come out pretty small for me. I knit the sleeves in 9in circulars, which probably leads to a tighter gauge.
So, yeah, let’s get back to the gauge. This sweater came out HUGE. I don’t know if it was gauge (I didn’t check it afterwards) or if I should have done another size. It actually is a perfect fit for a comfy, oversized sweatshirt, but not so much for a flattering sweater. I’m totally fine with that. It is so warm that I will wear it as an outer layer for cooler fall days or as an extra layer for cold days.
My husband finds the yarn scratchy, but I don’t. It’s certainly not merino wool, but for me, I like it. If you haven’t tried the yarn, I would try it and let me know what you think! I think it’s more comfortable than Jamieson and Smith and so this will be my go to yarn for colorwork in the future.
Oh! I didn’t mention. I ended up only using the white contrast instead of all four colors. This just means keep an eye out for the others. I love the slate blue and I’m thinking of knitting a sweater just out of that color and so I might be buying more of that
In the end, I love the pattern. I will definitely knit more of Jennifer’s designs and the yarn was great too. I just need to be a better swatcher (so say we all) and go from there.
Check out more and see it in person here: