Finished: Autumn Leaves

I finally finished my Autumn Leaves sweater a few days ago.  I am really surprised that something yellow actually looks good on me.  I haven't worn anything yellow in years and years and years--entirely convinced that my complexion couldn't handle it--but I decided it give a shot because the Fug Girls seem to so often say that anyone can work a yellow with the right red lip.  Of course, this meant ignoring that I myself rarely wear much on my lips beyond lip balm...  Fortunately it looks alright even when all  I've done is rolled out of bed and into some clothes.

(Hideous curtain courtesy of Ben's apartment.)

I am reasonably happy with the finished product.  It's hardly the most flattering sweater I own--I've started to think of it as my Butterball sweater--although I think part of the problem is wearing a Stanny underneath.  A silky camisole would probably help the sweater drape more naturally, but... it's January in Dawson City, so a sweater that has 3/4 sleeves and is full of holes needs to be worn with caution.  And a touch of miner-from-the-creeks fashion is always appropriate in this town.

Anyway, Stanny or not, I probably could have knit the 38 1/4 size rather than the 43 1/4.  The Cascade 220 sport seemed to bloom more than I anticipated, and I think the style of sweater would generally be more flattering with negative ease.  Also, it ended up quite long from underarm to neck, which adds bulk to the lines.  I did add an extra pattern repeat to the body of the sweater as well as on the sleeves (below the join), and I do like the extra length.

I'm not 100% certain what to say about working with this pattern...  I actually found it quite hard to follow, and I'm a little surprised that everyone else on Ravelry seems to give the pattern such good reviews.  Part of me thinks that if I can't say anything nice then I shouldn't say anything at all, but then again--wouldn't some constructive criticism help other people interested in this pattern?  This post from Hungry Knitter is a good read!

I certainly don't want to dissuade anyone from purchasing this pattern and making this sweater.  I think the concept and design are beautiful and unique, and I am very glad to add this piece to my closet.  But...  I do have some comments.

The Sleeves
I think the sleeve instructions for the 43 1/4 size tell you to do too many increases.  You don't need to do ten paired increases to get from 5 repeats of the pattern with 3 purl stitches in between each leaf to the arrangement of stitches called for in the pattern (5 repeats of the leaves with 4 purl stitches in between, with 1 extra stitch on each side of the  stitch marker at the beginning of the row).  I chose to do just enough increases to end up with the called for arrangement of stitches rather than doing all those 10 increase rounds.  The sleeves are plenty roomy without the extra increases.

The Yoke Decreases
Everything went to hell after I attached the sleeves to the body.  Well, not so much straight to hell, but... I think the instructions weren't as clear as they could be, and there may even be an error in the pattern at this point (remember, I worked the 43 1/4 size; with other sizes it may be different).  Unfortunately I didn't keep notes as I was going along, but if I remember correctly the first two (maybe three?) decrease rounds worked out okay, but then after that what I had on my needles didn't match up with the pattern and if I had made a mistake somewhere, it was so far down the sweater that ripping back was not an option.

I ended up choosing to ignore the exact instructions in the pattern and proceed with what I understood.  Basically, to work the yoke decreases, you 'finish' a leaf and then on the next row, you purl together the one remaining leaf stitch with the purled stitches on either side to eliminate that "vine" of leaves.  I think it's a cool method, but would probably be easier to understand if the instructions described these decreases in a different manner, and perhaps included a photograph or two (there are plenty of included photographs but they are all show the whole sweater--no close-ups).  I knit the correct number of decreases on the correct rows, but maybe didn't finish off the right leaves?

The Neckline
One reason I chose to this pattern is because of the cool v-neck look on the sample sweater.  However, I don't think that the larger sizes have this neck line.  Mine is definitely round, and I notice that other examples on Ravelry have quite a round neckline as well.  Also, my neckline is quite wide compared to what I was expecting.

Oh wow... this ended up long.  I thought a lot about this pattern after I reached joining the sleeves.  I guess the short story would be proceed with caution, although like I said before I don't want to dissuade anyone from purchasing this pattern.  I do realize that I could fix the underarm bulk with some frogging and re-knitting, but it doesn't bother me so much to make all the extra work worth it.  I would rather move on to something new (I mean, I have already moved on to something new).

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