To start off with... I feel like this cardigan may have sucked one year of my life away. There were many times when my confidence was shadowed with doubt and anxiety over weather or not I had the skills to achieve what I had envisioned in my head. I even picked up the book AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary mid way through to help me out.
And I will say that up to this point I was really quite impressed with myself and how well I was doing. I did notice that in the top my stitches were a little too tight and that there was some puckering.
Which I was able to block out and it is not as noticeable when wearing it. The bottom part of this colorwork I managed to complete a little bit looser and at some points I was worried that it was too loose. But as much as I drove myself crazy about tension once I kept my stands in the same position it all seemed to work out for the best.
However, it was half way through this that I remembered that when doing colorwork you need to pick one color to be the dominant so that your stitches do not get lost. For some reason I had it in my head that this should be the black color. Regrettably (and this is the only thing I regret about this whole entire project) it should have been the gray. The single gray stitches seem to get lost at times in the bottom black section of the yoke. Kind of reminds me of little sparkles now that I look at it.
All in all, I am very happy with how the yoke came out. But I was not done with my alterations to this pattern. Since the arms on my Sipila sweater were so tight at the shoulder I went up to the next size on the sleeves with this and CO a few more stitches. Then I reduced them back down to the number of stitches the pattern called for with this size when I picked up the stitches for the sleeves. I also decided to do some shaping to the body so that it was a little more fitted. In the end I wanted a sweater that would have more of a retro feel to it so that I could not only enjoy it at Rhinebeck this year but also wear it when I do Car Shows with the Hubs. I did reference some patterns by Andi Satterlund to help figure out body alterations.
Helpful tip- I made sure to place locking stitch markers along the entire steeking section so I could see where I needed to cut and also which legs I needed to picked up for the button bands. Once of the things that I love about top down sweaters is that I was able to try this on the entire time I was making it. Which allowed me to confidentially making the adjustments needed to ensure the right fit. Honestly, more colorwork yoke sweaters need to be designed this way.
Since I was using multiple black skeins I also decided to work both the sleeves at the same time. This allowed me to 1. alternate between skeins to make sure the colors were even on both sleeves and 2. make sure I was keeping up with the same alterations on each sleeve. It was at this point that I also began to think about buttons and ribbon. I went onto to Etsy and had found some nice vintage buttons that were a dark gray and I thought they would offer a nice contrast to the button band and at the same time pick up on the gray in the yoke. But when they arrived and I held them next to the cardigan they didn't work out. I ended up getting some plain black buttons instead.
I also went to Michael's and found two different types of Halloween ribbon on sale and after much consideration and voting on Instagram I went with the ghosts. Mind you, the pattern mentions nothing about what to do with the loose ends once you cut them. Since I was using a superwash I wanted to make sure my ends would not further unravel with wear. And lets be honest, why do all this work and not spend the little extra time to clean things up and make the final cardigan look as polished as possible.
Once the sleeves were done I decided to block the entire sweater to make sure that the fit was in fact correct. I was worried that I had made it a little too short in the body. And I figured this would help to make sure that button bands were the right length and wouldn't pucker or be too long when I added them.
Side Note: before I picked up for the button bands I did sew two zig zag strips along each side of the steek with my machine. The zig zag stitch would still allow the sweater to stretch and move with wear.
Mind you I am doing all of this at the zero hour while getting ready for Indie Untangled. And at the same time I felt like I was trying to prolong the inevitable when it came to cutting this cardigan open. I was so scared. You can watch the video of me cutting the steek here on Facebook.
But I did it!!!!!!!! And I was so happy I did. Now I just want to steek all the things! I had accomplished everything inside and out that I had hoped to when it came to this project. I also feel like this was not only a big accomplishment for myself but for everyone who went on this crazy journey with me. Without you all cheering me on and offering advice I am not sure if this would have been as successful as it was.
For more detailed notes on the specific alterations made and patterns that I incorporated please visit my project page on Ravelry.