I started this sweater a few weeks before Thanksgiving and completed it the day before Christmas. I hadn't knitted in a while, and then I was up in the attic looking for something else, and ran across this yarn I'd bought years before at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival. And the knitting bug struck again.
I knitted a swath for my gauge, and then took measurements on a commercial sweater from Abercombie that I've worn for years and like a lot. I got about a quarter of the way through the front before I figured out I'd taken my measurements wrong and I had to rip that out and re-knit.
I'd finished the front and the back when a friend who also knits gave me some potentially bad news. When I'd knit my test swath for the gauge, I didn't block that. My friend thought if I blocked the sweater enough to show the ribbing well, that the sweater would turn out hugely wide. I kept on, hoping that I could just not block the sweater and still have the dimensions I want. Right now, anyways, the sweater fits the way I want, but my friend could still be right... it might stretch out as I wear it and become too wide. Maybe I can just block it then without stretching so it would shrink back up?
The yarn is a superwash wool. I used 19 skeins, each of which was 82 yards, so the sweater took about 1,500 yards of yarn. In the two bags that I'd purchased I found a little information tag that identified the person that sold it to me as the "Yarn Lady", and her website is still up (www.yarnlady.com). The yarn looks like it was German (the tags on the skeins are all in German).
The most complex part was charting out the sleeves, which I did on graph paper based on the dimensions of the original sweater and the guage. I would find out from that for each section of the sleeve how many increments or decrements had to be done over a certain number of rows, and then make a check-sheet that distributed those over the total rows in that part of the sleeve. After finishing one sleeve, I started to use the same check-sheet to mark of the rows and increments/decrements for the other, but part way into the sleeve noticed that my gauge had changed. I guess I was knitting tighter? Maybe holiday stress :). Anyways, I had to add some extra rows to make the dimensions come out right.
I knit the whole sweater on #3 (US) circular needles. I picked up stitches for the neckline, and decremented on each side of the V neck (k1 s1 psso on one side, and k2 tog on the other). I knit tightly (on purpose this time) and crossed my stitches for elasticity on the neck (I knit in modified style, continental knits and regular purls).
All in all, I'm pretty happy with the sweater. The sleeves look nice, and the saddle shoulders have the same look as the sweater I was copying. If I had it to do over, I would shorten the sleeves so that I wouldn't need to roll them up (which I also have to do on the original sweater I patterned it off of).
Now that I've got a buch of yarn for Christmas, I'm looking for what's next :).