I've been on more of a roll with my nightly knitting since Stitches, and I've barreled through the right front. Both fronts are now on my foam pads and old towels, ready for blocking:
Here's a close up of the buttons that I had purchased when I was still knitting with the original dye lot.
They are brown-gray, and they looked better with the lighter shade of Zara. But for now, I will use these unless I find something when I finish the sweater that better complements the darker gray. I like how the neck edge turned out.
Now it is time to think. [Hum some scary music here.] This is my first saddle sleeve, and I'm relying on the pattern instructions more than I usually do. I recite the mantra "trust no one" when I look at pattern instructions, and I remained suspicious of the sleeve measurements. How could every single size have an 18-inch sleeve?
I tested the measurement by putting the blocked back on my purple sweater, which has sleeves that fit perfectly, and projecting where Thora's sleeves would end:
To my astonishment, the length is perfect. [Hum some even scarier music here. This seems too good to be true.]
When I have knit a big piece, usually the back, I find it more accurate to work with it than the gauge swatch. And so I used the blocked back to figure out how many cable repeats I'd need for the 18-inch sleeve. And again, this appears to work out perfectly--15 repeats should do it. I hope this isn't an amusing Halloween trick that the knitting gods are playing on me.
My vertical gauge is not at all like the pattern (I get fewer rows), and I need to work out just where the instructions ask you to increase and then where I should increase to get something comparable. So there's a bit of math in my future. Perhaps this is where everything that seems so perfect will turn out to be less so. But I'll sketch my version and the original version on graph paper, measure and review my calculations at least three or four times (when I get two that are the same, I'll stop), and then cast on for the left sleeve. I'd like to hum something like "Happy Days Are Here Again" when I've figured all this out, but let's not push it.