knitting

Spewing Rainbows

Some of you might remember, way back in 2012, I knit this baby sweater for a coworker:

Which I was absolutely in love with. I wanted to create the same effect in an adult size, but none of the yarns I looked at had a long enough color repeat to be more than rainbow colored barf–the different colors would end up in such small segments by the outer rings that it wouldn’t look like a rainbow, just confetti.

Eventually, I resigned myself the fact that I would have to make a striped sweater, and control the color changes myself. So in 2017 I used my tax refund to purchase a rainbow pack from Knitpicks. The specific value pack I ordered is no longer available, but it included 2 skeins each of their Mighty Stitch yarn (80/20 acrylic/wool) in Serrano, Orange, Canary, Macaw, Celestial, Eggplant, and Fairytale–or, roughly, ROY G BIV for you artsy types.

It took a few false starts. I ripped out my first attempt, because my increases at the center back were wrong and looked like I had a giant nipple riding on my shoulders. The second time I placed the sleeves wrong. The third time I got about 3/4 of the way done before we moved…and then I accidentally put the yarn in storage, only packing the sweater itself.

I finally found the box of yarn, containing all of my 2nd skeins, and was able to go back to work on this sweater at the beginning of May. I quickly knocked out the last three stripes on the body, measured, adjusted, and measured again the placement of the arm holes, and very carefully wove in a lifeline all the way around the place where I wanted the sleeves.

And then I took a deep breath, fortified myself with chocolate and chai (while wishing I was the type who drank) and commenced the incision.

I made a tiny snip in the middle of my outline, then used the blunt end of a tapestry needle to unpick the stitches. The lifeline worked beautifully and held everything together. I left the lifeline in place and picked up for the sleeves. When they were done, I turned the sweater inside out, pulled out the lifelines, and used the four long strands unpicked from the center of the sleeve opening to secure the slightly wonky stitches on the short side of the rectangle, closing up any unsightly gaps.

The width of the stripes changes the further from the center you get to mimic the effect of the original baby sweater. All told, the circular body of the sweater is about six feet/2 meters in diameter!

Spreading out the finished body after completing the 1,000+ stitch bind off. There is at least one cat hidden under that sweater.
Bast approves of this sweater and would like to know why I insist on chopping holes in it.

Despite having fourteen freaking skeins of yarn for this project, I was running low on some colors as I worked on the sleeves. Instead of doing each one individually, I went back and forth between them, knitting the yellow on the right sleeve, then the left, then the green, etc, to make sure I’d have enough for both. In the end, this is what was left in the aftermath:

This sweater is HUGE. It is heavy, and long, and is just shy of being a twin size afghan.

But I am all for wearing Socially Acceptable Blankets. This yarn is also super soft. My full review can be found here.

Normally I would not purchase 14 skeins of acrylic yarn for any reason, but in this case I knew it was going to be the most cost effective and efficient way to get the look I wanted. I spent about $75-$85 for the set. Had I chosen to go with a comparable yarn in a natural fiber/blend , I would have easily spent that much for half the number of skeins, and would probably have run out before reaching the point I wanted (I’m a completionist. I COULD NOT bind off the body halfway through the rainbow. I either needed to end with violet, or work my way back to the beginning and end with red. It would have driven me absolutely bonkers for the rest of my life).

I know it’s June, but this is Seattle. We will have more than our fair share of cool, damp days before Pride season is over.

And who doesn’t need a giant, cuddly, technicolor dream coat?

I can't tell the stars from the downtown lights — Such a dazzling coat of  many colours, How I love...

Like what you see? Check out Petite Critique: The Vampire Knitting Club.

2 thoughts on “Spewing Rainbows”

  1. That is a beautiful and wonderful job! I appreciate the Joseph & the Technicolor Coat musical reference. I would be very tempted to have help reenacted that gif alone. haha

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