Humboldt

A Penguin Sweater

My latest knitting project is the Humboldt Sweater from Anna Maltz’s incredible book of knitting patterns, Penguin. As soon as I first laid eyes on this book I was in love! Every project is unique and interesting. I immediately coveted a Humboldt of my own and got to work finding some local Kiwi wool.

IMG_20160605_153634301_HDR

NZ has a lot of sheep. I was on the plane recently and during an idle moment took part in the quiz that they play on the inflight TV screens. I learned that we have roughly six sheep per person (30 million sheep). I’ve been on a real NZ-made kick lately, seeking out shoes and knitwear that’s been made locally. It made sense that I should also find local knitting yarn given the high ruminant population around here! Pretty quickly I found Ashford Tekapo, a hardworking yarn that’s been around for ages and is named for the very beautiful Lake Tekapo. Colour choice was extremely tricky and a lot of dithering took place before I settled on the colours that Anna used in her sample, white and charcoal. Not very original! But why mess with perfection?!

IMG_20160605_153245084_HDR

IMG_20160605_153415013

Humboldt is named for a type of penguin, and given the fact that I saw a Little Blue Penguin while swimming at this beach last summer (smallest penguin in the world!) it was a good excuse to take photos here. Also, a nice day for a walk.

IMG_20160605_153158148
IMG_20160605_153324341_HDR

Humboldt features a technique called Marlisle. It’s a cross between marled and Fair Isle. Two yarn weights/colours are held together the majority of the time, and occasionally only the heavier yarn is used, in this case white, to create the pattern on the front and the decorative raglan sleeves. Anna puts it much better, and more eloquently, here. The whole garment is knit in garter stitch, resulting in a very cozy fabric with lots of body. I love the way that this sweater holds its shape. I think that this thick fabric works especially well in a cropped, boxy design like this.

IMG_20160605_153355559

IMG_20160605_153347268_HDR

For now I’m wearing it over jeans and a Marthe top, but am seeking ideas for an appropriate dress pattern to go under it. I like the idea of a gathered skirt coming out from underneath and I might do another Simplicity 1366 bodice with a gathered skirt in some sort of winter weight fabric. I am finding winter dress-wearing quite tricky as I refuse to wear a slip and skirts keep sticking to my tights! I should probably just get over my slip phobia and get on with it 🙂

Anybody else knitting at the moment? Any exciting projects on the go?