|Inaugural Sweater by Mary Annarella|
I'm knitting The Inaugural in soot-grey Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran:
About the Yarn: For starters, let me tell you that I may actually be done with this stuff. I've dealt with so many knots in this batch of skeins, it's ridiculous. And the texture of the fibre is such that it's visible where you weave in the ends mid-row. Add to this the fact that I've got only just the right amount of yarn (just) and I've got numerous woven-in ends in the middles of rows.
Furthermore, I feel there's a slight halo on the face of the fabric - not something I can get with. I'm not giving up on Debbie Bliss, but I sense I'll be sticking to Rialto from now on. The Cashmerino is a pain in the ass. OK, to its credit, it's very soft and it has beautiful drape. And the colour is rich. But I'm starting to wonder if its drape is optimal with the structured design of the Inaugural sweater. I guess time will tell.
About the Sizing - and Modified Gauge: Mary, the pattern designer, has been so available and helpful in working with me to determine my optimal size. I chose to make the 34" at the shoulders and waist/hips and a 36" at the bust. Having said this, note that I also deliberately chose to use a larger needle size (US7) that gives me an extra .25" every 4 inches, or a total of 2 inches of extra width in horizontal circumference.
What this means is that I a) maximized the size I believe I will require while b) minimizing the amount of yarn I'll need (by knitting slightly more loosely than the pattern instructs). FYI, I did get gauge horizontal gauge in a US6 needle. And on the US7, the size I eventually chose to use, I got vertical gauge (7 rows per inch).
Effectively, on the US 7, I'm making the size 36"* in the shoulders/waist/hips and a 38" in the bust - using a minimal amount of yarn to retain the basic shape. At 38" circumference, the bust works with 0" of ease (which is how Mary designed the pattern to fit). In the modified 36" size, on me, the shoulders are on the roomy size of fitted. Likely, were I to make this again, using the same (modified) gauge, I'd knit the 32" in the shoulders, 36" in the bust and 34" in the rest of the pattern. That would make the actual shoulder circumference 34" (very fitted for me), and the bust 38" (what I need to well-fit a double breasted cardigan having 0" to 1" of positive ease). The modified 34" fits well in the waist and opens, per the design of the sweater, at the hip.
There's a point to be made that I could have improvised short-row bust darts into the sides of this (largely) stockinette pattern. But I'm not feeling adventuresome at the moment so I opted to alter size based on modified gauge instead. Having now knitted much of the body of the sweater, I feel that I should have begun the side decreases sooner than I did. The bust fits and the waist fits, but the span between the two is a bit more shapeless than I would like. I did try it on as I went in an effort to avoid this. But sometimes it's hard to see what's going on when your stitches are mushed together on a circular needle.
One other thing I'll mention - and I may have misinterpreted the pattern instructions - the directions to slip last stitch at the end of the moss-stitch pattern need to happen on the SAME side as the buttonholes because that's the side of the double-breasted moss stitch that's going to sit on the top. As far as I can tell, that's the last stitch of the wrong side, not the last stitch of the right side (what's instructed), so my raggedy moss stitch edge is visible on the outside of the garment. I wonder how much this will torment me.
By the time I figured this out, I was already a significant number of rows down the moss stitch section and I didn't have the stomach to frog back numerous inches. I think the key, in this situation, is to go on as you've started. If you start slipping stitches 4 inches down, the unslipped section will that much more observable by contrast. Sure, the slipped stitch side looks much lovelier than the other one, but will you really notice that the other one looks bad if you have nothing with which to contrast it?
About the Moss Stitch Panel: Certain knitters have misinterpreted the moss stitch pattern, or so Ravelry reviews advise. The single moss stitch (what this pattern calls for) is well described in this post.
About Knitting Buttonholes: One other thing, I knit in horizontal buttonholes for the first time, over 2 rows. I can't imagine myself doing this again. I see that everything's going to stretch all to hell sooner rather than later. Had I gone with my preferred method (hand sewing in a petersham button band and then machine sewing in vertical buttonholes), this would not be an issue. But I wanted to see once and for all whether it's necessary to use the petersham to obviate stretching. (The button band, machine buttonholes thing is labour-intensive plus, after all.) Although the double breasted front has snaps on the inner panel, to mitigate sagging and pulling, that's not going to be enough in the long run, I suspect. Not with this soft yarn.
I'm giving this a slightly fussy preliminary review, I sense, which isn't fair because it's a terrific design, a clear pattern and a relatively simple project. I'd say you could confidently give it a go after having made 2 or 3 other sweaters. And I don't think I can extrapolate the end result from the experience I've had so far.
*Note that the sizes of this pattern correlate with bust size, not shoulder or waist/hip size. My modified size 34" (akin to the size 36") actually has a shoulder circumference of 29"- 30".