When we received the Brooklyn Tweed Fall Trunk Show in store, I immediately fell in love with the Peaks Sweater by Jared Flood. But when I looked up the pattern and saw that it was labeled as ‘advanced knitter’ I got a little nervous. I guess it’s kind of funny that I don’t really consider myself an advanced knitter, even though I’ve been knitting longer than I’ve been quilting or sewing. But I knew I really wanted to make the sweater! I’m a sucker for a shawl collar, and I loved the straightforward colorwork design. Encouraged by my coworkers, I took the plunge and decided to knit the sweater in the colors Artifact and Sap, which would create a bit more contrasted version than the sample that we had in store. The color Sap (which is available in both Loft and Shelter weights) is my all-time favorite color, and it was fun to pair with the darker green of Artifact.
Knitting the sweater was a fairly straightforward process. I can’t understate the importance of the gauge swatch! Because of the unique construction of the sweater neck (more on that in a minute), you can’t try it on while it’s being knit, so making sure gauge is accurate at the beginning is super important. One of the things I like best about knitting patterns put out by Brooklyn Tweed is that the instructions are always laid out clearly and while they can have some complex techniques, there is a well-written technique section that explains everything.
I have done some colorwork before, but this was my first big project using the technique. One thing I did to help ensure my floats would be long enough and not pucker the final fabric was that I knit the body and sleeves inside out, up to the point they all got joined together. This tip I got from a coworker was a great help in making sure that the colorwork stayed even. It sounds funny at first to knit something inside out, but once you get going, it makes more sense!
This sweater also uses steeking! This was my first time steeking anything and while it can be scary, doing it was a great confidence builder. The steek is right up the center of the neck opening, which employes paired decreases on either side of the steek stitches to create a neck opening large enough for the shawl collar, which is knit separately and sewn in at the end. This construction is such a clever way of avoiding knitting back and forth, and allows you to keep knitting in the round to almost the very end! Once the knitting was done, I sewed 2 lines on either side of the center steek stitch with my sewing machine, and just went for the cut! Everything stayed in place, and the clever construction method made even more sense as the neck opening fell into place, and I could see where it all was going to come together.
Blocking the sweater was very needed, as it relaxed all the colorwork stitches, and evened out the floats. And even though it did grow a little more than I expected, it is the perfect amount of oversize that I like in my sweaters. Overall, the colorwork, the steeking, and the clever construction might be more advanced, but the clear instruction and straightforward techniques made this sweater a lot of fun to knit. I’m so excited to wear my new sweater this winter!