It was 85° inside our apartment today, so of course I thought it was a perfect opportunity to take pictures of myself wearing my new sweater. Don't worry - I didn't sweat on it too horribly : )
Serpentine Sweater (A shorter version of the Serpentine Coat by Norah Gaughan from the book Knitting Nature)
Reynolds Odyssey, Merino wool (104 yards / 50 g per ball)
6.72 balls of "Brown Mix"
2 balls of "Granite Mix" (not quite enough, as it turned out*)
1.42 balls of "Sea Mix"
US 4 (3.5 mm) circular needles for yoke, body, and upper sleeves
US 3 (3.25 mm) bamboo dpns for lower sleeves
US 2.5 (3.0 mm) dpns and circular needles for sleeve cuffs, collar, and button and buttonhole bands
US 8 (5.0 mm) circular needles for lower body bind-off
As I mentioned previously, I decided to convert the pattern for knitting from the top down, imagining that I could make the sweater fit me better if I could try it on as I knit (a good idea in principle... unfortunately, as you will see, my execution was, shall we say, lacking).
First, I should mention that I really enjoyed the Odyssey yarn, which consists of 4 plies, each of which changes color independently. I'm so glad I was able to find it on sale last year! I love the colors :)
After working the yoke, I realized (or rather, finally admitted) that my floats were way too loose (ahem, gauge problem alert), so I spent some time trying to tighten up the worst offenders. I laboriously shuffled the excess yarn to the edges, where I later cut it and wove the ends into the button and buttonhole band seams. There's still some extra looseness in places (and some bumpiness), but it's much more tolerable. I definitely need to work on figuring out the right amount of tension for stranded knitting....
I knit the sleeves to fit me excellently (ripping out the forearm a few times on the first one to get it just right). Nothing ever goes as planned, however, as after blocking the yoke grew significantly (duh... all those loose stitches) leading the turtleneck-style collar to migrate down over my collarbones and the armpits to hang about 3 inches below where I was expecting them to be (I have some pretty impressive flying squirrel "wings" when I spread my arms). This situation, of course, caused the sleeves too be a corresponding 3 inches too long (and wider than expected - moving the part of the sleeve that was meant to fit around the meaty part of my forearm down to my wrist area, etc.) and shifted my waist and hip shaping (as well as the bottom edge of the sweater) downward.
Clearly, my brilliant plan for perfecting the fit backfired a bit...
The upshot of all this is that what I meant to be a closely-fitted cardigan is now a relaxed, rather roomy one with cuffed sleeves. Luckily, I like it anyway :)
My buttonholes ended up smaller than expected (I think they were the only things that did), so I chose 0.5 inch buttons that I thought went well with the color scheme. After the fact, I realize that more frequent button placement would have been a good idea to prevent gaping (I placed three rather close together on the collar/upper yoke, but spaced the rest about 4.5 inches apart, as the pattern suggested).
I'm too lazy to reknit the buttonhole band (*which had the added problem of me having run out of the "Granite Mix" and having to switch to "Brown Mix" too soon), so instead I decided to try a technique I've been meaning to use on several other sweaters: lining the button and buttonhole bands with grosgrain ribbon for added stability.
I think this went pretty well. I used the overcast stitch as described in TECHknitting with all-purpose sewing thread to attach the ribbon (the cut ends of which I folded toward the center (to make a point) then under twice). For the buttonhole band, I stitched the ribbon to the edge of the band first, cut a hole in the ribbon behind each buttonhole, and used the buttonhole stitch to stabilize these holes before overcast stitching the rest of the grosgrain ribbon down.
I didn't line the collar (I did initially, but it seemed to make the collar flop open (exposing a little more of the ribbon than I liked) when not buttoned).
All in all, this sweater didn't work out (at all) as intended, but I like it!
I think the inside is pretty, too:
Too bad I can't really wear it until the temperature drops considerably.... ah, well... it looks nice folded up :)