Over the years, we’ve worked to improve the energy efficiency of our old house. My basement studio was once one of the coldest spaces. It’s now much warmer, however, I still face a unique challenge when I sit at my desk for hours. The solid wood work surface and metal supports underneath tend to retain cool overnight temperatures. This means that if I rest my arms on the desk while I’m working, they end up chilled pretty quickly and then my entire body feels cold.
I have a favourite cardigan I love and have worn for years. I adore almost almost everything about it — the body length, it has pockets, and it’s a Penny neutral colour (tabby browns). However, the sleeves are bracelet length. That leaves quite a bit of arm and wrist open to my desk’s frigid surface.
I thought about knitting fingerless mitts with a long cuff or simple arm warmers but I wasn’t excited by the idea. For most of December, I used my “watercolor washcloth” as a layer of protection. This is what I use instead of a paper towel to clean my brush for years now. It worked well, unless I had just used my paints. The cats enjoyed knocking it off my desk, it became a fun game for them!
I knew a better solution was a garment with long sleeves that I could toss on top of everything when I’m cold at my desk. So I decided to work a top-down raglan cardigan. While I prefer set-in sleeves for most sweaters, raglan construction allows for a greater range of motion which makes sense if I’m wearing it over multiple layers.
The next question was yarn choice, I wanted something warm. So, I wound up two skeins of Oink Pigments Helix (discontinued fingering weight blend of alpaca, merino, and silk) in the bruised blueberry colorway (available on other yarns & fiber).
However, I only had two skeins, or 800 yards. Combining the garment oversize I knit and my tension, I knew I was going to play yarn chicken. After the I finished the first ball of yarn I worked the sleeves. This was because having them the correct length was more important to me than the body or hems.
It worked out, I had enough yarn to knit the sweater to the correct length, a sweater that was to my minimum length, and enough In the end it was yarn chicken. This small amount is all I had leftover!
I’ve worn it almost daily at my desk since I wove in the ends. The sleeves are long enough to provide warmth when I rest my arm on my desk. It’s loose enough that it fits comfortably over anything I’m wearing. I wish it was an inch or two longer, it lands exactly at my hip, but it’s not something I often think about which means it works.
When I posted the project to instagram, a friend pointed out my sweater matched my desktop wallpaper. The image is of M33, The Triangulum Galaxy. The image was taken from the Subaru telescope (NAOJ) with image data assembly/processing by Robert Gendler.
Haircut is by my trusted partner E; after I started snipping and needed help with the parts that were hard to manage by mirror reverse. He won’t let me go near his hair!