Sunday, 1 April 2012

Killing Sweater

Knitters reading from the UK will know what this post is about. The Killing is a Danish crime drama that was a runaway hit in the UK, featuring Sara Lund, a feisty female detective, and her sidekick fair isle sweater. The sweater was a must-have fashion sensation last year, and I have finally finished knitting mine.

I picked up the wool and pattern (in Danish) on my knitting pilgrimage to Copenhagen last spring. This version is not exactly the same as the one worn by Sara Lund - it is knit in a lighter weight wool, so the snowflake pattern is more intricate. The instructions are pretty sketchy, no doubt because it was developed for Danish knitters who can be expected to have a good understanding of knitting principals. So the pattern is probably not advisable for inexperienced knitters - though I'm sure anyone could work it out with a bit of effort.

I used google to translate the pattern into English, and with a bit of help from knitting friends I managed to muddle my way through the instructions. The pattern in Danish is available online from Kvickly, a chain of Danish supermarkets. As knitters obviously are not their main customers (indicated by the fact that this is their only pattern available on Ravelry), I figured they probably have better things to do than publish an English version for all of us non Danish-speaking Killing fans. So I'm making my translation (and mods) available here on my blog:

And now, for the sweater! I used Istex Lett-Lopi, an Icelandic wool, which is incredibly warm, lightweight, water repellent and breathable, but not soft by any stretch of the imagination. Lucky for me I have highly insensitive skin - I can wear the scratchiest garment in the world, and not even notice within a few minutes of putting it on.

One of the main difficulties I had with the pattern was that it did not account for increases in the snowflake pattern. I didn't want to end up with big empty patches in the increase area between pattern repeats, so on the sides of the body I added an extra spot between snowflakes, and for the arms I charted out a partial snowflake to fill in the space. This was harder to do for the second snowflake row on the arm, because the sleeve was still increasing at that point.

Wonky snowflake on row 2, tidy snowflake on row 3

My solution was not perfect, but it did fill the space, and since the join is on the inside of the arm it is hardly noticeable when I wear the sweater.

Another minor problem I have with the sweater is the neckline. In order to have an uninterrupted snowflake band at the top, the designer could only incorporate two decrease rows in this section. The rest of the decreases have to be done in the rapidly narrowing space left below the neck, and I felt if I followed the pattern chart my sweater would have ended at my nose. So I decreased much more rapidly using double decreases every other row. I'm happy enough with how the neck worked out, but the snowflake row fits quite snugly around my shoulders, so when I move my arms the neck tends to ride up. I think it would fit better if I had included some short row shaping at the back, and I could probably get away with a higher and less sharply decreased neckline. I still have wool left over, so I can go back and fiddle with the neckline if I'm still unhappy with the fit after wearing it a few times.

The final problem with this sweater is - I finished it too late to wear in the UK this season! Fortunately we are heading off to Helsinki tomorrow, where it is still nice and cold and wintry - so I'll be able to give it a test run on my holiday.