Grey Matter

It was my goal to finish up the sleeves of this sweater during the driving portion of our recent trip.  There were about 10-12 hours in the car each way.  Fortunately Sweetie likes to do the bulk of the driving, so there was a lot of time to sit back and knit.  I finished the first sleeve on the way down, and the second on the way home!


  • Pattern: Baby Cables and Big Ones Too by Suvi S. (ravelled here) Started December 20, 2008 Finished March 23, 2009

  • Size: 37 (medium), about 2 inches of positive ease

  • Yarn: Valley Yarns Stockbridge (50/50 wool alpaca) in Light Grey. 10 skeins/1,090 yards

  • Needles: US 6/4 mm

  • Mods: I omitted the cables on the arms.  This was something that I really liked about this sweater when I first saw it, but I was ready to get this off the needles.  Instead, I knit it plain and finished the cuffs with garter stitch to match the hem.  I also only did 9 decreases on the arms instead of 10.


The garter stitch yoke is so big and stretchy that I could have easily gone down a needle size.  It didn’t seem so big until after I blocked it.  Then those ridges opened up and it grew.  The portion at the top of the arms feels particularly bulky.  I’m also not completely satisfied with the arms.  Seeing how it ended up, I would have liked to do more decreases at the top of the arm making it a little bit closer fitting.  As it is now, there’s quite a bit of bulk under the arms.  It feels like I have bat wings when I hold my arms out to the side!

Aside from those 2 areas, I am pleased with the fit of the body.  It was a seamless top-down sweater, so I was able to adjust the body as I went along.  No such luck for the sleeves; it’s hard to try on a sweater in a moving car and decide if the arms are fitting well or not!

Now that I’m thinking about it, I could have knit the yoke and arms in size small and the body in size medium.  Would that solve these issues?


Overall I am satisfied that this sweater is finished and wearable.  It was only my second sweater, and each time I have learned so much.  I am figuring out what to look for in a pattern that will suit my body and knitting style.  Both sweaters have ended up with ill-fitting arms, so that’s something I need to pay attention to in the future.  In any case, I’m happy to be finished with this winter sweater just in time to see the daffodils bloom!


This sweater was in the works for a good 3 months.  If you’d like to read more about the process of knitting this sweater, check out these posts:

  1. Getting Started: Sweater #2

  2. Baby Steps

  3. Reignigted

Now I’m off to think about what garment to knit next.  Ideally it will be something lightweight, perhaps a cardigan or cropped sweater of some sort.  Any suggestions?

15 thoughts on “Grey Matter

  1. It’s really lovely. You did wonderful work on it.

    I don’t see that the sleeves fit poorly, but I can see what you mean about the bulk under the arms. It doesn’t look bad, but I can imagine that it would feel a little uncomfortable to the wearer.

  2. Beautiful sweater, bat wings and all. Your stockinette is so even and neat. Nice job! I like that you used positive ease for this. Thanks for the heads up on the garter stitch stretch…got to remember that when I start mine.

    As far as cardigans, I was eyeing the Decimal on Knitty. Very pretty.

  3. Do you feel like the arms are too big around, or like the yoke is too deep?

    If it’s the arms being too big, you could skip a few of the increases but just in the sections of the yoke that become the arms (if that makes sense)–so you’d increase every 4th row in the sleeve sections, instead of every other row. That way, you’d work the yoke to the right height, but end up with fewer sleeves sts. If it’s the yoke that’s too tall, you’d need to increase more quickly (by working 2 increase rows in a row), so you’d get to the right stitch count in fewer rows.

    I think… does that seem right?

  4. I love it! The first few garments always feel like such an achievement. It makes me wish I had known a few more fancy stitches when I first started knitting garments…

  5. Look at you with two sweaters completed since Rhinebeck! Congrats! It looks great and I bet it is so cozy warm. You will really enjoy pulling it out next fall as the days cool.

  6. You really do a beautiful job!
    I like doing sweaters from the top down because I can decide how much longer to knit the body or the arms and I hate sewing it together!
    I recently finished the minimalist cardigan from the winter 07 (?) interweave knits. Now I’m knitting another v-neck top down (my 2nd that I would wear, but 3rd overall!).

  7. Oh isn’t it lovely! I think the fit is really nice and I reckon leaving the arm cables off was just fine. It’s not too busy and the colour is gorgeous!

  8. I also think it looks great on you. I’ve read people say how much the garter stitch yoke on the February Lady cardigan grows, it must be a pain. I actually like the slight looseness at the top of the arms. If you like being able to try on sweaters as you go, what about Liesl or another top-down pattern?

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