Hadley, banged.

Mistakes were made. Modifications to the waist shaping were made (because my waist has very little shape and it isn’t an hourglass). Sleeves were shortened. Color choices were second guessed and then mildly regretted. Expletives were uttered. What seemed like a million yarn ends were woven in. But in the end, Hadley.

I’ll admit I joined the #bangoutahadley knitalong, not because I was in love with the pattern but because of the challenge. Knit an entire sweater in the shortest month of the year. Add in new techniques. It had been ages since I’d attempted to knit with more than one color (at least ten years), and if memory serves me right, I was awful at it. I’d also just learned to knit continental style (more on that later) and this seemed like the perfect practice swatch. Plus, how fun is it to knit something with strangers across the Interwebs? Sign me up!

Not only did I use new techniques, but I used new yarn. Not having a yarn budget for the called-for yarn (Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, which is my absolute favorite yarn ever), I took a chance on a budget buy (Valley Yarns Amherst 100% merino). I wanted a blank canvas for the color work to shine through (or expose all of my flaws). Either way, it worked.

I don’t plan on knitting another, but if I did, I’d choose a darker yarn color to hide the increases and decreases. I also got a little off on one row of decreases above the color work, which may or may not be obvious.

Other new things tried during this project? A simple stretchy bind-off for the neck (found here). It doesn’t match the tubular cast-on I used for the sleeves and hem but in all honesty I just really wanted to finish this damn thing without breaking into another skein of yarn (I ended up with two to spare).

And can I add something about tubular cast-ons? They are my new favorite. They are absolutely worth the extra yarn and work, in my opinion.
I’m not the greatest with color choices and would choose different ones had I the choice to make again. But I wanted to work this from my stash and but as little new yarn as possible.

I have a lot to learn about colorwork. I was able to navigate two colors pretty easily, and there were only a few rows that required me to carry a third (which I felt was a PITA). But my sleeves ended up pretty tight. I hoped they would loosen a little after blocking. It’s possible they did a hair, but still, note to self: stay loose-er.

Never judge a book by its cover, and never judge a sweater before you block it.

I did promise to reserve all judgment until I’d blocked it; the pre-blocking try-on was dismal. Oh, so dismal.

Trying on right before I finished the collar.

But after blocking, I’m happier. I post the pre-block photo to attempt to show the waist shaping; I omitted the middle decreases and just worked enough along the side to give me a difference of two inches (instead of the called-for ten inches. Yes. Ten inches.).

Overall? It was a good knit. There are more details on the knitalong and Hadley over at Mason Dixon Knitting, if you’re interested.

Epilogue: I love you, Craftsy.

Craftsy saved the day. (This is not a paid enorsement.) I had not heard of Craftsy until I ended up at their site one day picking up (on incredible deal) what would end up being the yarn for my Snoqualmie (95% finished!). I have always believed I could find any lesson I needed for free on the YouTubes, so the idea of paying real money for lessons seemed unnecessary.

I don’t believe that anymore. Though you can still learn a lot from the webs, it just doesn’t compare to the instruction at Craftsy. The attention to detail, the close-up camera shots, the ability to rewatch a section over and over. Not  only that, but I’ve just loved the instructors. I feel like they’re sitting with me in my living room. For someone like me who lives in the sticks and doesn’t have the luxury of their LYS holding regular workshops, I’m a fan. In fact, I would still be working on the body of this had Lorilee Beltman not taught me to knit contenental style via her class on Craftsy. After I got the hang of it, I was able to fly through the sea of stockinette. Even the 2×2 ribbing went much faster when I finally gave up yarn throwing.

And while it’s a little embarrassing to admit, I’d never properly spliced yarn together or been taught how to weave in ends; I always winged it. Ann Hanson’s class on finishing handknits taught me how, and now I don’t fear that part of the project.

In short, the classes have made me a more capable, confident knitter. I just can’t say enough. Definitely check them out.