Well, it took me from November to finish this sweater, but I did it! I was beginning to think it would be one of those seasonal knits that gets finished just in time to wave winter goodbye, but we’ve had a return to the cold temps so a wool sweater has been a necessity. My little family spent some time playing in the backyard this weekend and Sweetie snapped these shots in the lovely morning light.
- Pattern: Climbing Vines Pullover by Joelle Meier Rioux from Interweave Knits Winter 2008 (Ravelled here)
- Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in the Happy Forest colorway, 4 skeins (approx 1000 yards)
- Needles: US 7 & 8/4.5-5mm
- Mods: Added length to the body and sleeves. See Ravelry notes.
What can I say about this project? I learned so much along the way, it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with what I love about it: the simple shaping, scoopneck, and leaf motif. That’s why I chose the pattern in the first place. I think it’s a very wearable piece that looks good over a t-shirt, tank, or even a button-down shirt as it was shown in IK.
The yarn and colorway are stunning and lovely to work with. Classy is a sturdy, superwash merino that produces smashing stockinette and makes those leaf motifs pop. It’s also soft enough to wear against your skin. I did not choose to alternate skeins, and was happy with how the color looks over the whole sweater. Cheerful!
It is a fairly straightforward knit, but my inexperience in knitting a sweater in pieces psyched me out, and I did a lot of second-guessing; this is probably why it took me so long to finish. In fact, the knitting has been done for weeks, the pieces blocked and waiting for me to gather up the gumption to tackle the seaming. Seems like a shame, now that I’ve done it and realized there was nothing to fear! I took a lot of time and care getting the seams just right, but still ended up with some bunching at the shoulders.
I did encounter a few tricky bits during the making up of this sweater. My first flub came way back at the beginning when deciding on sizing. I had a 38″ bust at the time (subsequent weight loss only ads to the following misstep). The sweater appeared to have very little positive ease built in, and I wanted something that would work as a layering piece. The sizing options were such that I felt compelled to knit the size 42″ instead 38″ bust. This ended up working out for me in the hips, but being large everywhere else. I didn’t make the connection that as I was adding length to the body, I could have also removed length and/or width from other areas, essentially creating a hybrid of more than one size sweater. I’m comfortable making these types of modifications in top-down raglan style pullovers, but didn’t know how to go about it with the sweater in pieces.
In the interest of being totally transparent, let me show you what I’m talking about:
Remember, knitting is not homework, but it can be helpful to do your homework before you start knitting. Here are a few tips I learned on this project:
- Have someone help you take measurements of your body.
- Knit a swatch. Wash and block this swatch. That way there will be no surprises after you’ve spent hours and hours knitting a sweater to your measurements, only to find it outgrow them when wet.
- Don’t be intimidated by new techniques. There are loads of resources out there to help you tackle them, from resource books, helpful videos, and generous knitting group friends. Seaming is nothing to fear!
- Just because your bust is one size doesn’t mean the rest of your body is. I’m a classic pear shape with a long torso and slight shoulders. Choosing to knit a size based on my bust measurement and my desire for positive ease left me with a too-large armhole and shoulder.
- Customize the fit where you can. Having knit a couple of tops with my long torso in mind, I knew I would have to add at least 2 inches to this sweater to get a comfortable length. I also added a couple of inches to the sleeves to make them full length.
In case you’re a novice sweater seamer like I am, here are some resources I found helpful on my journey.
- Article from knitty on seaming sleeves
- Video of mattress stitch on knittinghelp.com
- Shoulder seams on StudioKnits
- Join sleeve to body (stitches to rows) on StudioKnits
And when in doubt, it’s always a good idea to take your bag of sweater pieces to knit night and ask for help and support. This is what I finally did, and it gave me that final push I needed to get finished. Thanks, Laia!
When the Official FO photo shoot ended, I joined PB in the garden for some exploration and compost churning. It was chilly, but Spring is definitely in the air.
Have a great day today, and come back tomorrow for a little giveaway!