Once I finished my first colorwork project, I decided to tackle this pattern. I love neutrals and un-dyed yarns so this is the perfect colorwork project for me. Five shades of greys and browns to make a bear face? Yes! There was not a question in my mind over what yarn to use. What yarn is bulky and comes in a million beautiful shades of greys and browns? Imperial Stock Ranch Native Twist! This beautiful, softly-spun yarn is also grown and milled in the US by our friends over in Oregon, so I was excited to have a project that would be perfectly suited to the yarn and get to use the colors I love so much.
The bear face (which is amazing and adorable) is knit using intarsia colorwork, which means it is knit back and forth and uses bobbins to keep the colors straight. This was my first intarsia project so it was a bit hairy, but I took it one row at a time and it went fine. It was so exciting to see the bear face come together, it kept me knitting even as the weather grew warmer.
This was also my first time seaming a sweater. I prefer seamless sweaters, but the intarsia bear meant seams and it was worth it for that sweet bear face. I had help from Angelique and Sunne with my seams so they look awesome and I am much more confident with seaming now.
I made two modifications to this pattern. The first is that I'm not into hoods so I didn't add a hood and just finished the neck with a bit of ribbing. The second is that the pattern is only one size which is large (it is meant to be oversized). I am pretty petite so I was worried I would drown in a sweater that was too big, so I knit my sweater in a smaller gauge of 4.5 stitches to the inch instead of 4 that was recommended. I did some calculations to make sure that it would fit and it seemed like it would work. It did!! My bear sweater is still a big sweater, but with enough fit to be flattering.
This is a warm sweater, knit in bulky wool and I finished it in July in the middle of record heat. I was finally able to wear my new sweater on a recent camping trip at 10,200 elevation in West Fork, over by Ridgway, Colorado. It was amazing!! Bears flocked around me and they all knew I was not to be eaten as I was obviously a big fan. My new bear friends appreciated their likeness and took me in as one of their own. I can't wait to wear this sweater to all of my cold-weather outdoor adventures and see what types of experiences we'll have together!