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Amber's Aphotic Adventure in Learning From Your Mistakes and Loving Them

My Aphotic sweater—with it's cosy colorwork yoke and gansey-textured glory—is finished, and I am absolutely in love with it!

Annie Haas' (This.Bird.Knits) pattern from the Autumn 2019 issue of Pom Pom, is a quick and engaging knit. I adore the high contrast, beautifully unexpected colors of the sample sweater, and wanted to do something similar. We didn't have the perfect dusty peach, so I chose an almost inverted palette. In Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Worsted, the deepest, darkest burgundy would be my main color, and mint as the contrast.

Amber standing in front of a white wall with her arms out, showing her new knitted sweater.  The sweater colors are burgundy and mint, Amber is wearing light green pants.

Read on for a few important tips I'll share about blocking colorwork with saturated hues, and to hear about my pattern modifications.

Pattern: Aphotic Pullover by This.Bird.Knits for Pom Pom Magazine Autumn 2019
Yarn: Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Worsted, 3 skeins Ramblewood, 1 skein Rosemont
Size Made: 2 (43 1/4")
Modifications: Used single contrast color (instead of two contrast colors), shortened bodice, lengthened and tapered sleeves.

I consider myself a pretty great knitter, but I tend to be terrible at reading directions and just barrel through things. I had to pull out some of this sweater after I skipped over some colorwork directions (a mistake that was pointed out to me by a very kind instagram reader). A second mistake I didn't pull out—I shortened Chart E to three triangles high. I decided I wanted to live with it and was into the idea of a slightly more cropped sweater.

Amber standing in front of a white wall on a city street with her hands to her side, facing the camera and smiling.  Amber is wearing a burgundy/mint green knitted sweater with light green pants.

I continued my shortened version of the chart for the sleeve, but I wanted longer sleeves, so I repeated Charts E and D once more than the pattern called for. To narrow my sleeve, I decreasing 6 sts evenly before the final E Chart and again before the final D Chart. This tapered the end of my long sleeve, instead of the ever so slightly puffed 3/4 sleeve of the pattern.

Close up image of a knitted burgundy sweater and sleeves.  Women is wearing light green pants standing in front of a white all with on hand in her pocket.

Now for my biggest mistake—I mean my biggest learning moment. You may have noticed a bit of a peachy undertone to the mint in my yoke? I finished this sweater at midnight and was anxious to wear it the next day. I got ready for my standard washing/blocking setup - warm water in the sink for a soak, spin dry, lay flat under a fan. As soon as I put my sweater in the warm water I knew I had made a mistake. The water instantly turned burgundy from the main color bleeding. With that saturated, deep color, of course it did! I pulled out my sweater as quickly as I could. I knew the warm water would set the dye into the colorwork, so I rinsed it with cold water to keep as much of the roaming dye off the sweater as possible.

A women wearing a burgundy sweater with mint green accents.  The photograph is up close to show the pattern of the knitting.  The photograph is cropped from the women's forehead to elbows.

As I decide whether to laugh or cry, some random thoughts/lessons:

  • Next time, I'll block with cold water and a color catcher!
  • I don't usually knit with reds, and they are the major culprits when it comes to bleeding. Proceed carefully.
  • My swatch would have been helpful in testing the bleeding! I blocked my swatch much less aggressively with cold water, so I didn't notice bleeding on it. Next time, I'll be harder on my swatch than on my knitting.
  • Another option, which would be smart for high contrast colorwork, would be to wash the danger yarn while still in a skein and hang to dry before winding into a ball.
  • If you are deciding whether to laugh or cry, see how creative you can get with your cursing. Then laugh.

    All that learning aside, I am in love with this sweater so much. It's so comfortable and cozy, and I'm so into the texture and the wearable-without-being-neutral palette. The bleeding toned down the mint and now it matches my pants. That's cool! My Aphotic Adventure will be on display at the shop for a little while. Come see it before I can't stand to live without it anymore and bring it home!

    Amber doubled over laughing in front of a white wall wearing a burgundy/mint knitted sweater and light green pants.

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