It’s so exciting seeing piles of Lopi, and even swatches, popping up all over the place for the Bang Out A Sweater knitalong.
The high-speed nature of this knitalong is a big part of the fun, for me anyway, but it does bring with it some challenges.
Consider the Cardigan
One challenge: a very short time to consider modifications and alternatives to our chosen pattern, Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Stopover sweater, which is a pullover.
A few people have mentioned that they don’t wear pullovers, so they want to knit a cardigan. That’s fine. Knitting is supposed to be fun, and it’s supposed to result in something you want to wear.
One option: make Stopover into a cardigan by working a steek down the center front. That’s exactly what Susan LeBonVoyage did over on Ravelry. Unfortunately, Susan did not show a picture of her Stopover Cardigan, but here’s her pithy description of how she did it: “Added one stitch for Ragga Eiríksdóttir’s steek –.”
“This is Lopi So It’s OK”
Who is this Ragga Eiríksdóttir, and what is her steek? Ragga is a beloved author and knitting entrepreneur who lives in Reykjavik and spreads the joy of Icelandic wool and knitting through her designs, teaching, and leading fiber-centric tours of Iceland for knitters. (One of which is featured in Clara Parkes’ upcoming book, Knitlandia, to be released on February 16.)
Ragga is fond of cardigans and has designed several of them. A favorite is Freyja, which is worked in Ann Shayne’s Preferred Icelandic Yarn PlötulopiTM.
(Photographs copyright Ragnheidur Eiríksdóttir.)
In the pattern notes, Ragga explains her one-stitch steek method:
“The cardigan is knit in the round, starting from the bottom. All stitches are knit, except for one purled stitch in the middle front. This is the steek stitch….[a bunch of talk about knitting the sweater]….After casting off at the neckline, the underarm stitches are grafted together using the Kitchener stitch. Then it’s time for steeking. A sewing machine is used to make two double seams in the front on each side of the purled stitch. Keep the stitch straight and short. Don’t ever use zig-zag for this…disaster could happen! When the seams are in place, find a sharp pair of scissors and cut along the purled stitches in between the seams. Be brave… this is lopi so it’s ok. Voila! You have a cardigan. The last step is to crochet 2-3 rows of edging all around the opening. Consider adding a strand of kid-mohair or some other strong and fuzzy (or even glittery) type of yarn for this. The buttonholes are made in the crochet edging – so after this there’s nothing left but sewing on some cute buttons and donning the nice cardi.”
In conclusion: you can add one purl stitch to the center of the body and cardiganize your Stopover. Double dog dare ya! I sincerely hope to see at least one Stopover Cardigan.
OR, you can knit Freyja. You will have to fool around with the gauge if you want to get Stopover’s speediness and lightweight fabric. (Freyja’s gauge is 19 stitches over 10cm/4 inches; Stopover’s gauge is a breezy 13 stitches over 10cm/4 inches.) All you have to do, really, is knit Freyja one or two sizes smaller than the size you’d usually knit, but at the bigger Stopover gauge. Am I making ANY SENSE AT ALL?
Given that we are casting on our Stopovers on February 1, there has been some anxiety about getting the yarn in time. Lopi is widely available in North America and Europe, but it’s not a staple of every yarn store and online purveyor. Here are some tried-and-true recommendations from our readers.
Dublin Bay Knitting Company, Portland Oregon (LYS and online)
Fancy Tiger Crafts, Denver, Colorado (LYS and online)
Ingebretson’s, Minneapolis, Minnesota (LYS and online)
Knit One, Purl Two, Rockford, Illinois (LYS)
Knitty City, New York, New York (LYS)
River Colors Studio, near Cleveland, Ohio (LYS and online)
Romni Wools, Toronto, Ontario (LYS)
Nordic Store, Reykjavik, Iceland (online) Yes! Reykjavik! If you think this is a crazy idea, or if you don’t, go read Gale Zucker’s post on She Shoots Sheep Shots about how she got her Stopover yarn from Nordic Store in 4 days.
Stash, Corvallis, Oregon (LYS)
Stix, Bozeman, Montana (LYS)
The Yarn Barn, Woodbridge, Connecticut (LYS)
Tolt Yarn & Wool, Carnation, Washington (LYS and online)
Woolbearers, Mount Holly, New Jersey (LYS and online)
Yarn Harbor, Duluth, Minnesota (LYS)
And finally, as reader Elizabeth points out, there is always the Westminster Fibers store locator. (Westminster is the US distributor for Lopi.) In the “select the brand” box, click on “handknitting-Lopi,” select the state, and up comes a listing of stockists.
Remember, if your yarn doesn’t come by February 1, it might come on February 2. Follow along with us until your yarn arrives; then cast on, and knit like the wind.