Just to get it out of the way right off the top - as I type this, the kids are downstairs watching the Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Paralympic Games. Clearly I was not "successful" in completing the entirety of this project within the span of the regular Olympics. With that admission out of the way...
Pattern: Mock Ribbed Cowl
Yarn: Estelle Pure Alpaca
Colour: Light Grey and Dark Grey
Needles: 5.0 mm Aero straights, 4.5mm circular
Start: February 13 Finish: March 13, 2010
Modifications: Changed Gauge/all Stitch/row counts to suit yarn and reshaped sleeves for more narrow fit. (See Detail Below)(I was interested to note the weight of this knit at 2.5lbs. yet its similar in size to my Big Cabled Pullover in super chunky and my Bonbon Pullover in worsted wool that are but 1.8 and 1.3 lbs respectively. Something I'll remember about alpaca vs wool in future!)
I chose this pattern to use, to its best advantage, 1000 yards of alpaca I won at the DKC last autumn. I also wanted to use as close to all of it as possible on one project since additional quantities wouldn't be available in the matching dyelot. I added two skeins of the same yarn in a contrasting colour for a total of 1200 yards and I'm left with this...
I wanted a sweater that would be neither skin tight nor as voluminous as that pictured in the magazine. I didn't think I had enough yarn for the latter of these two options and I didn't think either alternative would look well given the attributes of my figure. I got a finished knit with one inch of positive ease through the bust. Excellent!
I used a 3 needle bind off at the shoulders to prevent the weight of the sleeves dragging the shoulder seams down. This seems to be working, along with other attributes I built into the sleeves to address this same issue.
With the holes they work as hand warmers on these still cool days outside and are also good for holding everything in place to again minimize the kind of stretching to which all knitted sleeves are prone.
So other than timing, this knit worked out as planned (or more accurately, my guessing seems to have been close to the mark!) Nonetheless I'm not going to toss patterns aside in favour of doing my own thing from now on. I like working sweater patterns designed with thoughtful detail by people who know what they're doing. Its like sight reading music or diving into a great novel about which you know nothing but its due date back at the library. The process of working through it reveals all kinds of cleverness and insight that feels like a mini "vacation" from having to think things through on my own and often with delightful results. I enjoy that aspect of knitting too much to sideline it.
I will go forward with greater confidence about refining patterns to better fit or suit me. I will also be a bit less worried about diving onto a pile of great yarn and trying to wrangle something wearable out of it.
As the season of leaving coats at home to venture out in sweaters and light jackets begins here in Toronto I will get more wear out of this very warm, very soft and pretty successful sweater project in the coming weeks. (However long it took me to get it done!)
Thanks for dropping by!