At last, Laela is a true FO. I decided to steam block it so I could wear it right away and not wait the day or two it would take to dry, and even so, the yarn bloomed and the lumpiness of the stranded yoke and borders smoothed out beautifully. Here’s the finished yoke:
And here’s the finished sweater:
And a couple of modeling shots:
This was a tremendously satisfying project in every way—the pattern was clear and required few changes. The only things I did differently were the tubular bindoff for the neck edge (not specified in the pattern), the omission of a row of color A (natural) at the neck edge (to have a smooth range of color above the patterned part of the yoke), and the readjustment of the sleeve increases so that the sleeve would be narrower at the wrist and forearm. I also repositioned the beginning of the yoke rounds so that they would fall in the back (behind my right shoulder blade). I knitted the smaller of the two sizes, and I’m really pleased with the fit. It is a very comfortable and very warm sweater. It is only about 40 degrees (4 degrees C) out today, and I wore it without a jacket.
So here are the specs: The pattern is from The Best of Lopi. I used Valley Yarn’s Stockbridge (the WEBS’ house brand), which is 50% wool and 50% superfine alpaca in chocolate (9 skeins), natural (2 skeins), and camel (1 skein). This is a lovely yarn to work with, and it substitutes perfectly for Lopi-Lite. I heartily recommend it. I purchased Lopi-Lite once, and I found it very scratchy. Stockbridge is as soft as a kitten.
This sweater is knitted in the round from the bottom up, and it is the first sweater like this that I have knitted. The one difference I’m finding with sweaters knitted in the round is that I have less control over the final fit. When I knit flat, I find it easier to measure the pieces. Plus, in recent years, I’ve started to block the back when it is finished and use it as a mega-swatch to check the sizing of the fronts and sleeves before I knit them and can make minor size adjustments. Since I intend to keep knitting in the round for much of this year, I’ll be using this sweater as a model for the sizing of the others.
Sirdal, which I’ve resumed knitting in earnest, matches the body circumference almost exactly. And I’ve taken out my Philosopher’s Wool kit to prepare the yarn for my third stranded sweater of 2010. The original oversize pattern will require some pattern changes, and I’ll be working those out based on Laela’s measurements and those of other finished sweaters. But for now, I’ll bask in the glow of having a sweater that I rate a 10 as my first effort in stranding.