(Not Quite Finished During the) 2010 Olympics Sweater (2 weeks late) FO

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
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...
And that quantity reflects a policy of working every ball to the bitter end  - even midway across the rows in order to save every inch of yarn ( a bit of channelling EZ!)...
Am I ever pleased at my decision to make the back more narrow than the front. It isn't a noticeable difference and I would have run out of yarn had I tried to make it as wide as I needed the front to be.
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!
The stretchiness of knitted Alpaca forced me to knit two inches "north" of where I ultimately wanted the bottom of the sweater and sleeves to rest. (I quantified this stretch factor using the completed back panel) I wore the sweater for several hours shopping this morning and it did "grow" right down to the point I had aimed for just below my hip bones. So I'm pretty happy with that!

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.
They're knit with the smallest bit of negative ease between cuff and elbow to provide some support for the weight of the sleeve.
I also decided to go with the thumb holes in the extra long sleeve cuffs. I had initially thought them impractical but then realized this knit isn't one I'll likely be wearing around the house where partially covered hands would be a pain.

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.
As for overall fit, I wanted it loose enough to be cozy while not looking sloppy. (Some women can do the sloppy look really well and it makes them look adorable. On me sloppy just looks like a mess.) In the end the mock ribbed fabric hangs nicely with about an inch of positive ease. 'Just what I was hoping for!
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!


pendie said...

That looks gorgeous and warm and fuzzy!

Liz said...

Stunning sweater, and your knitting journey was priceless as well.

Brenda said...

I am so glad that your sweater turned out as expected. Often they are nice - sometimes great - but not always as expected. You were very brilliant to think of the stretch factor. Love the thumb holes BTW.

LaurieM said...

You did an awesome job! The sweater looks really great on you. I'm so impressed with how you thought through every little detail and how well it all came together.

Congratulations! You may not have gotten gold, but you still performed to your best.

Acorn to Oak said...

What a great sweater! I love it! Great pictures too. :-)

Julia said...

You're becoming an expert at custom fitting your knits. Great job!

Sandra said...

great sweater and great pictures! Truly a wonderful project - fun(?) to learn what suits you, and a fantastic, wearable sweater at then end of the journey.
Nice job!

Lorraine said...

It's the perfect sweater for this time of year, and for fall.

Looks terrific with your hair.

elizabeth said...

It is fabulous! I absolutely love the contrasting hems and thumb holes! You can tell how soft and warm it must be - great job!

Stephanie said...

It's beautiful!!

Tina said...

It looks great. Soft and warm. Perfect.

Anne Campbell said...

This sweater is fantastic! Thanks for the detailed notes - it's great to hear that thinking about details such as the stretch factor actually paid off. Congratulations!