Bressay is finished!

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It’s stupendously hot and humid right now, so definitely NOT shetland wool sweater weather, but I’m just so, so delighted with how this sweater turned out!

Pattern: Bressay, by Marie Wallin, from her book “Shetland”
Yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, in a kit purchased from The Woolly Thistle
Needles: size 2 and size 3 circulars
Time to knit: about 3 months

Bressay is finished!

This was by far the most challenging colorwork I’ve ever done, in part due to the tiny gauge (this is also the finest-gauge sweater I’ve ever knit) and in part due to how complex the chart repeats were, and how similar some of the colors are. But it’s just so, so pretty. There’s no way I could’ve chosen a color palette that works as beautifully as this one does – Marie Wallin has an incredible eye for color.

Showing off the short-rows I added to raise the back neck.

The one thing I didn’t like about the pattern was that it had absolutely no shaping to raise the back neck. So once I finished the colorwork, I just did my own thing, adding around an inch of additional length to the back neck with short rows before a final decrease round into the ribbing. I’m really pleased with how it turned out! It sits on my shoulders perfectly.

Bressay is finished!

It’s really amazing how warm this sweater is, given how light it is. I’m going to love wearing this when it gets to be cooler. One thing I’m a little uncertain about is what I’ll wear it WITH. While these particular shorts are still relatively comfortable, I’m finding that after a rough recovery from pneumonia followed by more than a year of pandemic life, which has exacerbated some of my pre-existing issues with chronic pain…well, the rest of my jeans just aren’t comfortable at all. Some of that is weight-related (I’m just a bit thicker around the middle), and some of it is nerve pain-related, but basically, I haven’t wanted to wear anything “hard-waisted”. That’s been pretty easy to achieve when all of my social interactions are over Zoom – if I need long pants, I just wear soft-waisted yoga pants! But since I’m being forced back into the classroom in just a couple of weeks, I don’t think the yoga pant look is going to fly.

I do have all of the skirts I’ve made, though I’m pretty sure only one would look good with this sweater (the dot chambray one). And I’m noticing that the high-waist nature of those skirts is pushing me towards either more cropped sweaters or open cardigans, because if a pullover gets too long, it starts to look kinda weird with the fullness of the skirt. But this pullover has a loose enough fit, and it’s not especially long. I’ve also tried this on (before blocking) over the linen dress I made, and I think it kinda works? But pants would be really nice, if I had some with softer waists. And I do have patterns for that kind of pants – I’ve got the patterns for both the Free Range Slacks and the Arenite Pants. I’m just really intimidated by the idea of sewing pants, where it seems like fitting is going to be much more challenging than it is with a skirt or dress. And on that front, I’m hoping to sew a couple more skirts and at least one more dress before Fall semester starts, so that even if I am lacking in the soft-waisted pants department, I’ll have enough skirts and dresses to get me through teaching 5 days a week. I suppose I technically already do, since I have 4 skirts and 2 dresses, but I do like variety!

Yesterday, my university FINALLY announced that they would be requiring everyone to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, which makes me a little less nervous about being packed into a tiny classroom with a bunch of college students during the Delta surge when my kid (whose school situation I STILL don’t know) is too young to be vaccinated. But I do need to figure out what masks are going to work for me for teaching back-to-back classes, and if what works are the cloth ones I’ve made for myself (either with a filter in the pocket, or over a surgical mask, perhaps?) then I need to make some more of them. I made a bunch more of my daughter’s preferred filter-pocket style masks yesterday so that she is well-stocked for school (assuming that she IS in person, she’s going to be masking herself no matter what policies are in place; if she’s not, then I don’t know how I keep my job). This whole not knowing thing is just killing me, and I want to strangle anyone who says that we’re in a “better place” this fall than we were last fall. Parents of kids under 12 *certainly* aren’t. But I don’t think any of us have recovered from the exhaustion and burnout of the past year.

Of course, I also need to set up all of the materials for my classes, and trying to put together a syllabus and schedule when everything feels as uncertain as it currently does is just incredibly challenging. These next couple of weeks are going to be tough, and Fall semester will be, too. I need to figure out what kinds of knitting and sewing projects will help me stay calm and regulated, and what sorts of projects are best saved for a time when the demands on me are not as intense. The hard part is that I don’t know if such a time will ever come. Will I ever be able to fix the messed-up brioche on my Water Bearer cardigan, or is that project just doomed to linger forever waiting for life to settle down enough? Maybe it would be easier if I just ripped the whole thing out and started over? Or would I just mess it up again? I do think socks are going to be a good portable project for me, but as for sweaters…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Bressay is finished!

But anyway, I do have one more pretty sweater in my wardrobe this week than I had last week, and that’s something.

13 thoughts on “Bressay is finished!

  1. Your sweater is gorgeous. I am also trying to learn how to sew some simple pants this summer – elastic waist with pockets. The first muslin did not fit great, in a lot of ways. I decided to pay for a consultation with a sewist in my town who basically made 6 adjustments to the pattern for me. I haven’t yet made the second muslin, but I think I’ll succeed much faster with this assistance.

    • That’s a really good idea – I bet I could find someone local who could give me some guidance, pants-wise. I feel like the Arenite pattern is the most likely to work as-is just because it’s designed to be loose-fitting and forgiving, but I do wonder if I’ll have more luck making something that’s “bespoke” to my measurements, which have always given me trouble when purchasing ready-made clothes, too.

    • Thanks so much! I really like The Woolly Thistle – it’s a great shop for getting stuff that’s typically hard to find here in the US. (I apparently have very British/Scandinavian tastes in yarn, ha!)

  2. I had a prof who taught exclusively in sweat pants. Not saying it’s a great plan, but you wouldn’t be the only one to ever do it!

    * It’s a terrible plan that looks *wildly* unprofessional. Pretty much any other pants with stretchy waists would be a better choice.

    • Ha! Yeah, I’m hoping to be able to figure out stretchy pants that still look like “professor” clothes, not “I’m just heading out to the gym!” clothes.

  3. Lynne Marshall

    You have done a superb job with knitting your Bressay jumper!! The colourway looks really good, worth knitting in that small gauge to get such a great result. The short rows on the back neckline have worked well, I don’t know why on earth they leave them off!
    I have the same problem with pants, tight waistbands make me feel nauseous and set off a nasty neurological pain syndrome. I buy pants with stretchy fabric, soft waistbands and at least one size bigger. But they’re hard to find. It’s much better sewing them.
    Pick out a pair you already have and find some suitable stretch fabric, or at least fabric with some give horizontally. Lay your pants out so you can trace around one leg (the back will be bigger than the front). Make them without a zip and suitable to pull on. And add pockets, I like in-seam pockets rather than patch pockets. Don’t make a muslin, just go ahead with your preferred fabric.
    Sew up your first pair and mark any alterations needed onto your pattern. You will use it over and over.
    Please let me know how you go. I used to teach pattern making and dressmaking for many years and have had great success with this method. Bought patterns don’t really fit anyone!

  4. Wow your sweater is amazing! It looks so beautiful and I agree it would be really hard to pick another color palette for it. One of the first sewing projects I did was the Otis Overalls from Sew Liberated, and I was surprised by how un-scary the pants parts was! Now granted they didn’t really have to fit around the waist since they have the bib and a tie in the back to hold them up, but the actual construction was doable, and I am a VERY beginner garment sewer. I think the sweater would definitely look great with some linen pants!

  5. Carole

    Beautiful sweater! Love reading about your knitting, sewing and personal stories. Hope you have more information on school status really soon.

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