Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Evolution of the Unicorn

In 2003, my then-7-year-old son wanted a purple sweater with a grazing pony on it. I chose Cascade 220 for the yarn, charted a grazing pony, and wrote a top-down raglan pattern to fit my son.

This was my very first try at doing intarsia in the round. The stitches for the pony were knit across on one round. On the next round, they were slipped to the end with the yarn, purled back, and then slipped again. The mane and tail were duplicate stitched. The process wasn't a whole lot of fun, but it did make for a dandy-looking pony.

Here's the pony sweater worn by the original owner about a year after it was finished.

He wore this sweater almost every day for several years. It pilled dreadfully and had to be de-pilled every time it was washed, but he loved it.

Here's the 7-year-old who is the current wearer of the sweater. He also wears it almost every day. The pilling has stopped. The color has held up well. The sleeve ribbing wore out and had to be re-knit. The body has been lengthened.

When the pony sweater was much too small for its original owner, I offered to knit him a new one. He had since become enamored of unicorns, and not so much the color purple, so the new sweater was to be dark blue with a silver unicorn.

I knit this with a round yoke, thinking that it would better suit the green chain pattern. (It did.) Being tired of Cascade 220, I made it of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted. Which also pilled. I used the same basic pony chart and the same fairly tedious slip-and-slip-again intarsia technique.

Here's the no-longer-so-little boy modeling the unicorn sweater. He has continued to grow, and both sleeves and body have been lengthened to keep fitting him. When it comes to kids, top-down sweaters have the added benefit of being easy to lengthen.


Anne said...

I've had bad luck knitting with Lamb's Pride worsted, and other singles yarns, for my son. He loves his sweaters and wears them all the time, and neither Lamb's Pride nor Lopi held up. They both simply wore out at elbows, neck, cuff and hem. The next sweater I knit for him will be made of a strong plied yarn.

Heather Madrone said...

I've decided that the problem is not singles per se (they have other problems, like bias) but merino. Any yarn that is mostly merino wool is nice and soft, but it's short staple and so it tends to pill. Knitfits Wool of the Andes has the same problem. I got a device with little pumice stone teeth to remove the pills, and that works okay.

I made Malcolm's last sweater out of a sturdier wool, but it's not as soft and cuddly, and so he doesn't like it as well.

Anne said...

But Lopi isn't merino, I don't think, and it failed me in a big way. I figured that something so thick wouldn't just wear through, but it did.