Instagram Handle: naturally_twisted_
Make: Sheep Camp Sweater by Jennifer Berg (@nativeknitter)
(Caution, Sweater link takes users to Ravelry which may have accessibility for some individuals)
Size Made: B (finished bust measurement of 42.75" on a 37" bust for 5.75" of positive ease)
Materials Used: Juicy DK in Harry Belafonte(3), Sinopah (1), Size US 6 & US 7 circular needles recommended (individual knitter & knitter's mood dependent. I used a US 4 & US5 to get gauge)
Modifications: Added ~4" to body length (including lengthened sweater body ribbing), & Tubular cast-on & bind-off.
It's no secret that I love Jennifer's patterns, but her inspiration for this sweater drew me in even further. She wrote "During covid season, we had so many mundane repetitive days. As much as I would like to forget this past year, I found so much beauty in the slowness of those days. I often think about when Shimásání (my grandmother) used to herd sheep and how peaceful her life was. The motif on the sweater has arrows that draw inward like a deep inhale and at the same time pull outward, like a long slow exhale. My hope for all of you, as we come out of this long season, as you wear your Sheep Camp sweater, remind yourself to take your time to slow down and breathe." And it seems to me like we could all use a gentle reminder to just breathe. Plus, who doesn't need more colorwork sweaters in their life?
Over the last few years, I've found myself gravitating to handmakes that fit no matter where I'm at in my body's normal size fluctuation. Eventually, my goal is to have a handmade wardrobe that takes me through all of the seasons & that I can feel comfortable in no matter what size I'm currently wearing. So, when I saw Jennifer's IG post about this sweater, I was drawn its positive ease & eye-catching yoke.
I've wanted to use Juicy DK from The Farmers Daughter in a project for a while now. I felt like it was the perfect match for the lightweight sweater that Jennifer describes in her pattern. If you haven't felt this superwash merino yarn in person yet, you gotta make it happen! The squish factor is unmatchable! It's warm & cozy, but somehow light & springy at the same time. And don't even get me started on the colors (think romantic western...they're SO good)! There are so many combinations that would make this pattern sing, that I had to ask our resident color-master Marta for help to decide. We landed on Harry Belafonte for the main color, & Sinopah for the contrast in the yoke & the two are magical together. We're currently sold out of the two colors that I used, but there's heaps of others that would work great together, or you could substitute with other yarns like Pishkun or Phillis DK for other great combos. Candice of The Farmers Daughter did a "Meet the Maker" with us last year that you can read on our journal if you'd like to read more about her and the work she does!
I definitely recommend doing a gauge swatch AND BLOCKING IT for this one, as the Juicy DK grows once it's washed. Also, it's a hand-dyed yarn & will vary from skein to uniquely-dyed skein, so I suggest planning where you'll use each one in advance to take advantage of any color variations that may exist. I could see that one of my skeins had more speckles & appeared darker than the other two, so I used that skein for the sleeves & the ribbing on the base of the body to help tie that saturation together. It made for two extra ends to weave in, but it was well worth it for me! It's also a great idea to decide which color that you want to be more dominant before you start the colorwork section. You can learn more about this and other colorwork tips in this video from Amber.
Also worth noting, is that at 274yds a skein in the Juicy DK, I had enough extra yardage to either make a matching hat, or to lengthen the body of the sweater, which I ultimately did. I know cropped sweaters are really on trend and I love them on others, but with my long torso & chest size, I just haven't found a cropped sweater that I personally feel comfortable in. I'm so happy I added the 4" & I think it'll result in me wearing it more often.
I used a set of interchangeable needles for this project, so I was able to use the magic loop method for the sleeves instead of using my DPNs & was also able to switch out my needle tips when I got to the ribbing areas. If you haven't already learned magic loop, it's a super handy technique to have in your knitter's bag of tricks.
I also love using a tubular cast on & bind off for the finished edges it gives, so I replaced the rolled neckline with a 1x1 ribbing, but if I had read ahead or looked close enough at the ribbing in the pictures, I would have switched the neckline to a 2x2 ribbing like the rest of the pattern. Here's a great tutorial on how to do a 2x2 Tubular Cast On from Andrea Mowry.
My Sheep Camp Sweater is on display at the shop near the Juicy DK display for a bit. Come see (and FEEL the squish) before it comes home with me!