14 November 2012

FO: Sparkle Bee (most exciting FO yet)

Guys! I have another sweater to show off!

Yarn: Dream in Color Starry, in a mysterious brown colorway that might not actually be for sale anywhere (ooh, how exclusive!). I acquired three skeins of this yarn through the Hyde Park knitting group when the Dream in Color people brought a bunch of new colorways and discontinued colorways and one-off "irregular" skeins to a knit night.  All of us immediately pounced on the piles of beautiful yarn and started plotting what kinds of sweaters and accessories we would make. 
Basically I would like to knit with Starry all the time, because then everything I make will have sparkles on it. Is my spirit animal a magpie? Why, yes!

Needles: US 4 circular. That's pretty much as small a needle as I'm currently willing to use to knit an entire adult-sized sweater, but obviously the results are worth it for intricate lace and a nice fabric on the stockinette sleeves: the smaller gauge handles the puffed shoulder detail really well.  

Pattern: Laura Chau's Honeybee Cardigan.  The pattern is really adaptable; there is a cropped version of the cardigan, and obviously sleeve lengths can be adjusted at will.  There's also a wide range of sizes. Mine is knit up in the long cardigan version (obviously) at the 42.5" bust size. That sizing makes for positive ease and the possibility of wearing the cardigan over a tshirt without having too much fabric bunching up under my arms.

Mods: By the way, that lovely little puffed shoulder detail might have been the result of my misreading the pattern and handling the shoulder decreases incorrectly. This was my first bottom-up sweater, plus it is a cardigan, and the whole concept of working back and forth and then sort of in the round to make a yoke with sleeves that look set-in instead of raglan was... difficult for me to conceptualize.  I'm a pretty visual person, so it didn't make sense to me how all these separate pieces were going to fit together on the needle and get joined up and eventually be one sweater until I'd done the knitting. Anyway, I got to the final few rounds of decreases and realized that I had (way) more stitches than I was supposed to; instead of ripping back and correcting the error, I said to myself, "EFF! Well, I guess I'm going to wing it!" Normally those would be famous last words, and you never would have seen this sweater or heard it mentioned.  But the numerous rapid k2togs I added to the pattern resulted in one of my favorite features. So there. Take that, planning ahead and following instructions!

Verdict: While it took me about a hundred years to actually finish this cardigan (I started in April 2010 and kept putting the thing down for months at a time, plus it still doesn't have buttons, oops.), the end result is well worth the amount of true knitting time invested in it (disclaimer: if you work on this project with any sort of dedication, it should not take you two and a half years to finish it).  The lace pattern, though intricate in appearance, is simple and fairly intuitive after a couple of repeats.  Even the potentially boring stockinette sleeve portion of the knitting was made more enjoyable by the sparkly sparkles of this sparkle yarn.  It might have been all that sparkling that distracted me from, you know, actually reading directions.

As you can see, I am pleased.

Ravelry project page here.
Thanks again to Lauren for taking the pictures, especially the horrifying one that I am not posting, in which my face looks like that of the very unfortunate love child of an elf and walrus union.

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