Hello peeps! It’s been a while since my last post, but life has been very busy around here and on top of that, I didn’t receive my stuff from Australia yet, so I’m still sewing machine-less. All my beloved patterns, fabrics and gear should be here soon thou, so fear not, I’ll be making my own clothes again in no time! In the meantime I’ve tried to use up some of my older yarn stash. I’ve lots and lots of odd skeins here in Italy, but as I said, not much time nor mojo at the moment, so I searched for an easy, fun and quick project to get back on track. Thus, here it comes Outer Space by Stephen West.
Outer Space is one of the patterns from the Westknits At Home collection and it’s the big brother of another of his designs, Enchanted Mesa. They share the same construction, but the yarns used to knit them are of different weight, being Outer Space knitted with chunky/bulky ones. I’ve tried to use as many yarns from my stash as possible and I’ve manged to buy just a couple, so I can call this one a good stash-busting project!
From the top down, I’ve used Lana Grossa Linea Pura Organico in a sweet pale lilac. This yarn is very soft and fluffly, thus perfect for the ribbed collar and for staying next to the skin. The short rown section is done using Lana Grossa Feltro, the grey yarn, and some leftovers of navy Gatsby, by Sesia. As the name suggests, the Feltro yarn is 100% wool and very prone to felt, so I’ve to pay extra attention when washing and drying this garment. This yarn really dislike being agitated and twisted. The middle section of the pullover is knitted using another bulky yarn by Sesia, called Echos. I love its sublte variagation, these shades of purples, blues and magenta are beautiful and I think they create a nice transition towards the color of the last yarn. The dark purple is yet again another Sesia product, a heavy yarn weight called New Jersey.
I’ve previously knitted with some of the above yarns and I’m happy to have finally used the leftovers. You can see how Feltro knits up in this cardigan and Gatsy in this hat. Anyhow, I’m well known for never throwing away any yarns and it’s nice to use every single metre of them. I keep even the very last bits and I usually save them for provisionally cast ons or for keeping stitches on hold, so there is no wastege at all. I often splurge on yarns and I’m always attracted by the more expensive ones too, so it’s defenitely a must for me trying to use the lot.
Outer Space is a top down pullover very cleverly constructed, as every other Stephen’s design by the way. It starts with a double ribbed turtleneck collar, followed by short rows with yarn over shaping to form the asymettrical yoke. Then, a bias stotckinette section creates the body. From there, another short rows sequence in garter stitch brings the fabric back to a straight waistline. The sleeves are ribbed and they can be pushed up the arm transforming the yoke into a warm draped shoulder wrap.
Knitting a West Knits pattern is always fun and I’m often amazed by his creativity and boundless and accentric style. Outer Space is exactly this: a super stylish pullover created with unusual shaping, using bold colors and yarns. It’s a totally different way of thinking about a pullover and it’s interesting and extremely entertaining seeing the garment taking shape. I’ve to admit, I was certainly on a fence about the wearability of this project, but once I’ve blocked it and tried it on, I completely changed my mind. Whereas it’s obviously not so easy moving the arms with the yoke worn down, if you roll the sleeves up and drape the short rows around your shoulders, Outer Space becomes a toasty and comfy jumper. This is why I’ve knitted the sleeves a bit longer than the measurements suggested in the instructions – like so they still nearly reach my wrists even if pushed up.
As I’m a loose knitter, I’ve used smaller size needles than the ones suggested in the pattern. I started with 7mm for the collar, changing to 8mm for the body and back to 5,5mm for the garter stitch section. My pullover is good as, but probably I could have gone up a needle size to get a slouchier garment, easier to wear and to move around in. I didn’t bother swatching, as usual, so that’s why I played it safe and used the neddles I thought were right, in fact I was worried to obtain an XXXL pullover I wouldn’t loved to wear. Wet blocking helped to stretch into measure the jumper and even if my Outer Space looks smaller than others I’ve seen on Ravelry, I’m happy with the fit.
I really like this project and I can’t wait to show my Outer Space to Stephen himself, when I’ll meet him just in a few days time!!! My favorite Italian yarn shop, Unfilodi, organized a series of workshops over the Halloween weekend, in occasion of Stephen’s autumn european tour and I’ll be there. I’m very excited about the oppurtunity of meeting such an awesome designer and I can’t wait for next week to come!!!
That’s all from me, have a spooky Halloween everyone, see you all in November!