Please excuse the blurry picture ... I forgot to change the setting for picture under bright sunlight. :) Can you feel that I was sweating there? The temperature was around 70F when the picture was taken! Can you see the grafting line? I bet and I hope you can't ... to divert your attention from it in case you see it, here is a closer up of the shoulder with the button:
Ever since I saw the pattern in IK, I had wanted to make one. But when I found that a very bulky yarn was used, I thought maybe it was not for me then. Then when I got the book Loop-D-Loop, my love for the sweater was renewed. Yet, the 10sts-for-4" gauge is a big problem for me. After going back and forth several times, I finally decided I wanted the sweater ... even though it meant I need to do some serious math work. By the time I made the decision, I have already seen several pullovers made on blogs. I was indeed lucky to catch Yarn Harlot's post on her pullover as I could avoid similar frustration like that of Alison's.
Pattern: Lace Leaf Pullover by Teva Durham from Loop-D-Loop
(1) Since my gauge is way smaller than what the pattern specified, all the numbers of stitches have to recalculated. While this may be some routine preparation work for some of you, to me it was not the case. I took out my copy of Stitch and Bitch Nation and read the relevant chapter all over again before I started. It is a milestone for me since everything worked out fine. I gained a lot of confidence by working on this sweater, knowing that my knitting would not be limited by my wonky gauge.
(2) With the smaller gauge, I thought the lace leaf pattern would appear to be too small if I kept to the original pattern. There are altogether 3 lace leaf patterns in the sweater - the one just above the ribbing, the one under the neckline and the one on the left sleeve. For my pullover, all three are of difference sizes. The one above the ribbing is the biggest one - 21 stitches wide; the one under the neckline 17 stitches and the one on the sleeve 15 stitches.
(3) In Stephenie's post, she said that the arms were too tight and the sweater didn't have shoulders. If you look at the sweater being laid flat, you would find that the shape of the shoulders is indeed a bit strange. So, while knitting the upper body, I paid particular attention to the shoulders. Besides, before I started, what worried me most was the raglan armholes. For this, Ann Budd's sweater pattern book pointed the direction to me:
"For the raglan seams to lie flat (and the sweater to fit well), the sleeve caps must have the same number of rows as the armholes."
I am not sure I knew about this basic principle of raglan seams before. But it certainly gave me an idea how to make my recalculation work. When knitting the shoulder increase rounds, I disregarded the instructions on how many rounds to knit, but kept trying the piece on to make sure I have the desired width for my shoulders. Then I measured the desired length for the armhole to figure out how many rows I need for the raglan increase in the case of the upper body, and decrease in the case of the sleeve caps. Next, I made use of tools (Taper Sleeve: decreasing and increasing) I found on Lucia's blog to calculate how to make the decrease and increase. If Ann Budd is right, my sleeve caps should have no problem fitting into the upper body. Guess what, she IS right! I also bore in mind the tip from Stephenie about leaving extra stitches at the grafted shoulder to avoid the wonky seam which caused Alison to rip out her Lace Leaf.
Yarn: Lion Brand Kool Wool Col: 147 (Eggplant) (50% Merino Wool, 50% Acrylic)
I bought the yarns from a closeout blowout sale at Smiley's. I like this yarn because it is soft and I paid very little for them. After blocking, the sweater becomes very soft and comfortable to wear. But since it is only 50% merino wool, I think it is perfect for the weather here. Yesterday the temperatures around here were record high (75F) and I was like a mad woman wearing a bulky sweater. It felt warm ... but not unbearably so ... at least I didn't suffer from a heat stroke. Now I am looking forward to a little bit of cool weather so that I can wear my new sweater comfortably.
Gauge and Needle: 14 stitches to 4" using US10.5 in stocking stitch
Start Date: 01-24-2006
Finish Date: 02-04-2006
There are more patterns from Teva Durham's book that I'd love to make. The next possibility is Dreamcatcher Medallion Cardigan ... here and here are two beautifully finished ones.