Please also excuse the saggy elbow. We took these pictures after staggering out of a day of wonderful classes with @knitspot herself, so my elbow had been in knitting position for the better part of six hours. The fabric made by the Mission Falls 136 Merino (on size US 5) is medium weight and on the tighter side, with lots of sproinginess, so I’m sure the elbows will be fine after a bit of a rest.
I realize that I only mentioned this sweater once, back in January, and that I should probably have posted as I went along, but there were extenuating circumstances. A month ago I was happily playing with spinning, and sock knitting, and maybe working on the sweater a few rows here and there, when I read on Twitter that Anne Hanson would be teaching classes in my city in just a month. Cue a mad scramble to Finish The Sweater, wherein I took pictures but never posted them.
Some comments about this pattern: it’s written beautifully. No mistakes that I found, no confusing bits. Detailed schematics for blocking out to the proper size. The good news is that this is a fitted sweater — it fits my arms beautifully and flatters them, I think (baggy elbow notwithstanding). The bad news is it also fits my back fat, my belly, etc… but that’s not the sweater’s fault; it’s just showing what’s there. The button band doesn’t stretch or gape when I button it up, the hips don’t bind, and the waist, while disconcertingly revealing, is not stretched tighter than any other part of the body. It’s a very honest sort of sweater, fit-wise.
I did make some modifications, and the book Knitting Plus helped me understand how to do them right. Because I’m so short, I took two inches off the fronts and back between the bust and shoulder. The book mostly talked about horizontal changes to patterns, including enlarging sleeves to accommodate what the author gently termed “fleshy arms”, and then fixing the sleeve caps to match. The pattern’s sleeve width actually worked for me, but since I had shortened the armholes, I needed to reshape my sleeve caps to fit the same decreases into fewer rows. There was math — hell, folks, the Pythagorean Theorem even made an appearance — but I just followed the book’s instructions step by step, and hoped for the best.
One of the things that surprised me, since I’ve never made a cardigan before, was the number of separating stitch markers I needed. Because when you have to pick up 117 stitches along the front for the button band, the only sane way to do that is fold and subdivide until you’re down to a reasonably manageable 15 or 16 stitches per section.
(I have no idea what’s going on with the blurry Kodachrome look here, but I did just start using the Camera+ app, so maybe I hit the wrong button accidentally. This is actually the most color accurate picture, though… teal isn’t easy for an amateur photographer to get right.)
I used the fold-and-mark technique again to figure out where buttons would go (more separating stitch markers) and count ribs to transfer those to the other side, where yarnovers would create the button holes (still more separating stitch markers). I needed to sew the buttons on so some markers could be reclaimed and pressed into service for the 175 stitches picked up for the collar, but I was trying to finish the sweater by a deadline, and didn’t exactly have time to go button shopping.
Lucky for me, the Spring/Summer Knitty had a pattern that included directions for making Dorset buttons. I really like how they turned out:
I just wish I’d used something sturdier than Susan Bates plastic stitch markers (the round ones), because they feel like I’ll be able to fit them through the buttonholes only so many times before the button collapses, or goes on strike, or is otherwise rendered non-buttoning.
It took the better part of last week to finish the sleeve caps, wash and block everything, then do more knitting for the button bands and collar, before seaming everything (this weekend). It takes two episodes of Hawaii 5-0 just to pick up 175 stitches around a wide collar, y’all. I wasn’t even looking at the tv (much). This isn’t the best picture I have of the pieces being blocked, but I like how it looks like it had art direction by Clive Barker:
So long story short (too late!), I finished the sweater just in time, including the mandatory “oops there’s one end I forgot to weave in” moment. Anne was kind enough to say nice things about my sweater, and take a picture, so I figured I should hustle to get this posted just in case I show up in her blog and people come looking for sweater pictures. I’ll probably have a stupid expression on my face, but that’s okay, as long as the knitting looks good. 🙂
tl;dr: Love the Leaving sweater pattern in specific and Anne Hanson’s patterns in general. Sad that Mission Falls is out of business. Hugely in favor of swatching and blocking and math (as needed). Will post about the classes I took, after I have slept at least 8 hours, cats willing.