My trip to Rhinebeck for the New York Sheep and Wool festival is a highlight of my year. I always fly out to Boston a bit early and spend a day working with Team Rav; then we all drive out to Rhinebeck and stay with a group of friends in a rental house with a fabulous kitchen. Since I love feeding people as much as I love knitting, this is an altogether fabulous weekend for me every year. We enjoy the festival each day: Ravelry meetups, seeing friendly faces, browsing the vendors' booths, watching the sheepdogs and visiting the fiber animals, and eating our weight in cider donuts. (Ok maybe that's just me.)
For Ysolda's book, we were asked to make our ideal Rhinebeck sweater. For me, that meant a cozy and durable cardigan, for sure. NYS&W has been super cold every year I've been - thank goodness for layers of wool! I definitely wanted to do colorwork with a motif and colors that would remind me of the gorgeous, bright autumn leaves that are on glorious display at each festival. The sugar maples in particular blow me away every year with their fabulous glowing orange leaves. And so, Sugarleaf was born.
I was thrilled to be able to work with Green Mountain Spinnery's New Mexico Organic and Local Color yarns (Local Color is naturally-dyed New Mexico Organic). The sheep for this wool are raised just a few hours from me here in New Mexico! The wool is then made into a scrumptious woolen-spun yarn by the wonderful people at Green Mountain Spinnery. I'm a sucker both for naturally-dyed yarns and natural-colored wool, and I looooove how the the rich orangey-red pops out against the grey. I want to make another, with the indigo Local Color as the MC and a natural cream as the CC. Wouldn't that be nice? The buttons, gorgeous rosewood toggles, are from Melissa Jean - another NYS&W vendor whose booth is on my "must stop and buy" list every year. I squealed when they arrived and I sewed them on the sweater - the refined rustic toggles were exactly what I wanted!
The yoke! This was my first adult-sized circular yoke sweater and I so enjoyed the process. The pattern is pretty bold, but tight, just framing the face and circling the tops of the shoulders. Bonus: the colorwork part flies by and then you can really motor along in stockinette. Surely it can't be just me for whom "cramming in knitting as fast as I can and then blocking in the hotel room or maybe the van driving out to Rhinebeck" is a part of the New York Sheep and Wool experience?
The inspiration for the colorwork motif is a little silly but makes me happy. Late last summer, while the design was in the hibernating/waiting for yarn phase, I was having a bit of a Skyrim moment. In the fictional Skyrim town of Whiterun, lots of doors have these geometric floral carvings. (You can see them in the background of this image from the Skyrim Wiki.) While playing one day, I realized - these would make a terrific colorwork pattern! There is actually a Skyrim character who lives in this village and was named after Ysolda, so I felt like this was fate. ;)
These photos were taken on the festival grounds just after dawn. Ysolda, Bex, and I got to wander around the fairgrounds admidst the buzz of focused vendors busy setting up their booths. Jennie the Potter kindly allowed us to borrow one of her beautiful mugs for the shoot, and I also got to walk a baby llama, no big deal. (HA! Yeah right, it was a very big deal. Baby llama walking!)
You can find all the details about Sugarleaf on its Ravelry page. I was so excited to finally be able to add my project to Rav! Bex is already working on a gorgeous version in her handspun (!! it's always a huge honor to me when someone uses their handspun for one of my designs) and I love the colors she chose. If you'll be at NYS&W this year, you'll be able to see this sweater in person - like last year, I'll be wearing it on Saturday - but this time I can wear it *after* the festival is open. Can't wait!
Thank you, Ysolda, for inviting me to participate in this project - it is an incredible honor to be included with this amazing group of designers and passionate fiber folks! I am so excited to be able to hold this book in person. You can check out the full details, see a complete lookbook, and even preorder the book on Ysolda's website. Hooray!