Yarn: Mountain Colors 4/8s in Silverbow (no longer on their site), knit at
5.65 (wrong project - more like 5.25) stitches per inch on US5/3.75mm and US4/3.5mm for hems and bands.
Pattern: Karen Alfke's top-down Unpattern done as a cardigan with a slightly scooped crew neck
Started August 16th
Last button sewn on December 10th.
The pattern gives you a framework for designing your own sweater in any yarn in stockinette stitch. You can make a pullover or cardigan with almost any neckline or collar and edging. It does require stockinette for the proportions to work.
I enjoy working with the Mountain Colors. If a yarn splits at all, I'll have a problem with splits due to something in my technique that crops up as soon as I build up any speed. I had very little problem with splitting even on long rows of stockinette stitch.
Even though this sweater took four months to complete and got toted around on buses and ferries quite a bit, the yarn shows no sign of pilling or wear. I had a couple of places I had to do a fair bit of manipulation of the yarn to fix errors or other issues and it stood up to that very well.
The color runs are so short they give zero chance of pooling or flashing but are long enough to get a sense of all the colors used. The colors in this colorway all have a blue-gray tone and really work well together. I'm sorry they no longer produce this one and so were several people who saw the sweater in progress.
I did picot hems on the bottom, sleeves, button and neck bands. To coordinate I used Yarn Overs for the increases along the raglan sleeve line. The only thing I'd do differently would be to make the cuffs a bit narrower. I allowed a bit of room for the double layer of fabric but when wet blocked the hems actually held the fabric out wider. On the body this gave a nice bit of shaping but the cuffs turned out just a hair wide.
Because my purling tension varies quite a bit from my knitting tension, my gauge knitting flat and in the round can be very different. I pick (continental style) and so purl loosely, plus purling feels less comfortable on a long row. Instead of purling I knit back backwards on the flat knitting of the body. (I still haven't written a post on that, have I?) This put my gauge flat very close to that of my in-the-round sleeves, maybe even a little bit tighter.
This link contains photos and a video (scroll to the bottom) of what the author refers to as purling back backwards but which matches what I learned as knitting back and what Elizabeth Zimmerman calls knitting back backwards in her books and videos. This is a useful technique also for those times when you don't want to turn your work, such as on an edging, entrelac, or in crowded conditions like a plane or bus. I've used purling back very little but it comes in handy to avoid having to flop thing over for, say, the few stitches of a garter stitch edge.
The delay in sewing on the buttons happened when I decided the plan to use split off plies of the yarn for thread as I had for blanket stitching the button holes actually wasn't a good one. Also, The too-large needles I had frustrated me and damaged the sewing-up yarn.
Because I'm currently in a small town in California where we spend about two months of the year, I don't have all my normal supplies. I also don't have access to the kind of shopping I'm used to, which resulted in my arriving at the local quilting supply store five minutes after they closed and a trip to WalMart on a weekend before Christmas.
Obviously, I felt desperate.
It was worth it.