Business as usual
Thank you so much for all the sweet, thoughtful comments on the USMP. You guys make me blush.
On to pattern notes, and questions about the sweater -
Yarn substitution is a big issue with this garment; the Plassard alpaca called for isn't widely available on this side of the pond. Frog Tree Alpaca, Knitpicks Alpaca cloud, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, and some singularly gorgeous handspun have all been spotted over at the knitalong, but I am deliriously in love with the Garnstudio DROPS Alpaca I used. It's a fingering-weight 100% alpaca yarn that manages to be really rather all-around decadent and reasonably priced at the same time (poor man's cashmere, indeed). It even comes in an enormous palette of beautiful, sophisticated colors to boot. Four and a half skeins (about 900 yards) of main color and most of one skein (about 150 yards) of contrast color went into the smallest size.
On 3.25mm (US3) needles and a gauge of 7 stitches to the inch, it took exactly two weeks from caston to weaving in the last end. Therein lies a huge part of the appeal of this garment - though the shaping is fresh and architectural and unusual, the knitting itself couldn't be simpler (plain stockinette, done almost entirely in the round). The payoff is exponential to the amount of effort put in.
Pattern mods - I modified the bell sleeves to 10 stitches (about an inch and a half) smaller in circumference - it made a big difference. I also worked the sleeves a little differently than called for - I worked the short-row cuff as written; then decreased 1 stitch at each end of the round on every 19th row 5 times to give an even flare to the sleeve, starting about halfway down the forearm. The way the pattern is written, the sleeves are knit to measurements rather than row counts - I think I took about one inch off the total length.
Blocking - though I covet a blocking board with the lust of a thousand nuns, I'm still blocking on the guest bed mattress. I wet-blocked, squeezed out excess water, and pinned carefully, matching stitch for stitch and checking with a big T-square.
With all that said - I want to keep this! < /three year old >
Back to business as usual around here - we went to see The Corpse Bride tonight (it looked spectacular, of course...but I think Tim Burton's starting to mistake creepiness for whimsy and forgetting to put his tongue in his cheek). The rainy weekend we had seems to have ushered in fall proper - it's getting so a little something at the throat would be welcome. I've started a scarf with the leftover white alpaca, using the lace pattern from the Kimono Scarf and a simple garter stitch border:
and I'm ready to start on a new project (that will be mine! MINE! Muahahah!) - the sweater jacket, re-imagined:
In playing with the Korean merino, it turns out that fair isle produces a marvelously smooth, sturdy fabric.
I think I'll do this little jacket as a nipped-waist type thing, patterned brocade-style with a very simple light-color lattice over a dark brown background. I'm thinking princess shaping; I'm thinking seamstress detailing; I'm thinking I need to start right. This. Second.