Friday, January 30, 2009


Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
I am very, very excited to be wearing this sweater. I am also excited to have captured on film a cat toy escaping behind the door hinge.

When I wear hats and scarves to work I am often asked if I knit, but it's almost as if this is beyond the realm of what people think is possible of a handmade item. I have to admit I enjoy the attention.

Some thoughts on the pattern: If you are thinking about making this, you should strongly consider going down a size, perhaps even two sizes (as I did). I ended up unraveling the first eight inches I knit in order to start over, and it nearly derailed my entire project. I'm generally somewhere in the 37-38" bust range, and having gone down to the smallest size (for a 32" bust) this is still plenty roomy.

I did not incorporate color changes into my swatch because I was concerned about running out of yarn, and I wanted the option of re-knitting from my swatch without having to deal with a million short pieces of yarn. Although I think the sizing problem is more the fault of the pattern than my particular batch of yarns, it is possible that my swatching decision contributed as well. There was a highly variable level of twist between each color, which may have changed my spot-on gauge measurement into something a little...roomier. I relied on several vendors in order to assemble all of the colors, so I think it may simply have been because some of the yarn was much older (for instance, the now-discontinued dusty rose).

The sweater is flattering and (as long as you compensate for the sizing problems) I think the original pattern picture does a good job of portraying the type of fit--if you want to make a statement with your figure, you will need a bra with an attitude, because there is no bust shaping.

If I were to suddenly have the patience, sewing experience, and visualizing/charting/math skills to change one thing about this pattern, it would be to modify the shape of the set in sleeve. The sleeves begin farther down on the torso than I think is entirely necessary, which makes it feel slightly like having miniature bat wings. However, I know that I am not yet at the point where I want to start messing around with changing armholes, so I'm pretty darn satisfied with how this turned out.

Three last words of advice: buy (and use) stitch markers, first of all; count often; and forgive yourself if your stitch count gets off for a few rows. Feather and fan is forgiving, and I can't tell you how many times I compensated for a mistake several rows later instead of going back six rows to fix it. I can't tell you because it is practically impossible to tell without a magnifying glass and a severe case of OCD.

Working on and completing this project after more than a year and a half has greatly influenced the type of project I am interested in tackling next. For the longest time I thought I would want to work on Salina--I finished the moss stitch hem last winter and the Felted Tweed looks absolutely delicious--but I don't think that is enough of a challenge. Besides, I have plenty of classic, single color sweaters in my wardrobe already, and although they aren't hand knit I don't feel an urgent desire to add another one.

So here are the top contenders: a slightly elongated Fyne vest, with added bust shaping and steeks for the arms and neck, or a Tangled Yoke. I already have the yarn I would use for both of them, but so far it seems like the Fyne vest may be winning as I have already swatched. Stay tuned.


Elyse said...

This is glorious!
I'm so glad you've finally finished. Can't wait to see it on you for real.

The DeDe said...

I love it! The pattern is so vintage(y) and the colors compliment it very well!

Rachel said...

Thank you, thank you! I'm so glad I searched ebay for the yarn--I managed to score the exact colorways in the original, even though at least one of them had already been discontinued. Lucky or what?