First off, let me tell you how much I love Brooklyn Tweed patterns. They are so thorough and well-written, explaining every technique and oftentimes teaching me new things. This is my second sweater pattern from them, and this is also the second time I’ve knit this particular pattern, Fort, for my hubby (who was such a good sport modeling the FO in the above photos!).
This Fort turned out better than my first one (you’ll need to sign up for a free Ravelry account to see my project notes and photos), mostly because the quality of the yarn was much better than the first time around. I purchased the alpaca yarn for both sweaters from a little town high in the Andes of Peru called Hualhuas (more about that next week).
The yarn is handspun, undyed alpaca. Totally natural, and totally still full of bits of grass, etc. from the alpacas frolicking in the mountains. The gray alpaca yarn that I used for this iteration of the sweater was surprisingly much cleaner than the brown alpaca yarn that I used for the first one, though it still smells a little of alpaca. I soaked it in Johnson’s baby shampoo before blocking, which seemed to remove some of the dirt and smell, but not completely (though the hubby doesn’t seem to mind it).
I went down a needle size this time around, since the weight of the yarn isn’t very consistent. Sometimes it’s bordering on aran weight, other times it’s nearly fingering. As a result, the size and fit of the garment came out a little better this time around. The sleeves are just a tad long, but work really well folded back, and the hubby seems to like it that way.
The main modification I made was to knit the neckband in a 1×1 rib until about 1″ in length and then I bound off using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind off. The pattern called for the neckband to be knit to almost double that length and then folded over to create a double band. If I were to do it all again, I would do it as written. I thought it seemed too much to knit it as written at the time, but I now see the wisdom in making the fabric thicker to hold up to the wear and tear of taking it on and off. I might end up ripping the neckband out at some point and redoing it, but for now I’ll just let the hubby wear it…as he’s been doing nearly every day for the last two weeks since I finished it. If you follow me on Instagram I’m sure you’ve seen evidence of this repeated wearing. Now, that’s how you know it’s been a successful handknit!