Enchanted Mesa Sweater

A difficult start

When you find a pattern that really gets your attention cause it is constructed very differently to all the others and are intrigued but a bit intimidated, too. What do you do?

My reaction to the Enchanted Mesa from Westknits was stalling and tiptoeing around all the beautiful versions I could find on Instagram. That did not make it easier to start – everybody seemed to have put so much thought in the colours, on the arrangement of them that I felt I never could decide which to use and when to change.

Luckily there came the Mistery Knit along my way which helped me to loose my intimidation (read about that here) and finally I began plotting my own version of the Enchanted Mesa!

My colours suddenly seemed so easy to choose when I started looking into my stash seriously. There were a couple of skeins that would fit nicely together and after reading through the pattern for the first time I realized there was more than enough to choose a combination from.

Cause a Westknits pattern screams for contrast bright colours I wanted some variations of two main colours. Here you can see the final choice after arranging and rearranging my skeins on the sofa to find the best match.

What makes me really happy is that I would work with selfspun and self dyed yarn next to skeins I bought – a real mix of all the ways to get yarn getting together in one sweater!

Deciding on colour change

While browsing through so many different versions of Enchanted Mesa sweaters I quickly decided I wanted to make a plan of switching my colours before starting to get a balanced look in the end.

As my chosen colours had different amounts I had to keep that in mind, too. The Yoke was planned quickly and now I couldn’t wait any longer and had to cast on – the rest had to be figured out later. But when I went looking for the sizes I had to see that the different sizes where achieved only by different gauges and needle sizes – so I had to make a swatch before I can start!

After making one real quick (and being happy that I didn’t have to change my yarn choices) I finally, finally cast on!

And what can I say? This knitted up so easily and quick, the pattern was clear and I made good progress: The yoke was finished before I had thought about the colours I would use for the next part!

The striped section took me a bit to decide on – and maybe I stretched the nerves of my hubby a bit while doing so… In the end the fading from light to dark lilac / pink makes me really happy.

Now going back to blue for the next section! I totally underestimated the slightly thicker spun up yarn – after only half of the section it was all used. Time to improvise: I hold the thin light and dark blue together and knitted the rest of this section. Hopefully I will have left enough yarn of these colours left to use for the arms, too. But I will worry about that later!

Last part of the body offered two options: Brioche or garter ridges. No question here – Brioche it is!

And I did it three times. Cause I didn’t like the first two colour versions. And three times the charm, isn’t it? Luckily the third version worked fine for my eye and I bound off the body!

Sadly now I needed to make a break for a week cause I couldn’t take this work in progress on holiday with me – the sleeves would have to wait a bit longer. (But the holiday was worth the wait – so much snow!!)

To sleeve island!

The first sleeve was easy to decide on, I simply would repeat the colours of the yoke. And yes I got lucky and the length of the arm fits great!

The second arm however took some thinking again, from me and my hubby. And I have to admit this time he got the right idea with a subtle fading from dark pink to light lilac. To get the length similar with the first sleeve I counted the rows (not so difficult because the sections have the same amount of rows – I had to count them and not all the rows 😉 ) and calculated how many rows I had for each colour including fading into the next one. To fade I made stripes in varying thickness like shown on the picture of my notes.

And that’s it! Time to bind off and be happy – the fit is just right and soon I am going to take my Enchanted Mesa out to wear!

This is how I had hoped to ending this post, but after a a few times wearing there happend a little problem…

The collar is widening – oh no!

The collar seemed to have a thinking of its own and was getting wider and wider. So wide that I nearly could swipe it over my shoulders! I don’t have to tell you that this wasn’t the way I had planned on wearing this sweater! And like this it wasn’t keeping my neck warm at all – not something you would want when it is cold and you want to cuddle up in something cozy.

What to do now? I browsed the Internet for tips and only found the things I already had in mind before: Washing or tumbling so that the sweater would shrink a bit. But there is the risk of getting it felted when the temperature is only a bit to high. Do I really want to risk that?

I decided to go with a lighter version and handwashed my sweater with warm water and layed it flat to dry. That didn’t help at all.

Next thing I tried was the wool programm of my tumble dryer, I new from putting other wool garments in there that this was really gentle and not too hot. But again this didn’t help.

Ok then. The washing machine. But which temperature? After thinking I decided on 20°C and hoped that this would be enough but not too much. I didn’t dare to go up to 30°C, I ruined a small scarf of my little girl with that.

When grabbing it out of the machine it looked fine – phew! To see if this has helped with the widened collar, I have to wait for the sweater to dry completely. Which took nearly two days!

But it worked!!! The collar is back to its normal size!

And to prevent this from happening again I took the advice I got from a comment on Instagram: I attatched a cord (which is a crochet chain) inside the collar, so that there is a limitation from inside to hold the knitting in place.

And that is finally it – my Enchanted Mesa!

I hope you enjoyed my journey with me and if you have any questions about my improvising, calculating or problem solving: Please leave a comment!

Have a good day, Katharina!

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