I've always been a big fan of Stefanie Japel's designs so when I picked up my copy of Fitted Knits, I knew I wanted to make something out of it right away. I picked out the Cozy V-neck Pullover because although when I started it, it was very close to summer, I wasn't quite done knitting wool.
I had picked up some Classic Elite Beatrice (Hedgerow - 2372) in the 50% off rack at Lori's in Alpine a few months ago. Despite being a fundamentally busy yarn, I liked the nice combination of warms and cools. It is 100% merino, so it is super soft and I thought it would make a nice sweater for the office. Then when I started flipping though Fitting Knits, I felt that this yarn would make a nice Cozy V-neck.
All in all, the sweater gobbled all 12 balls of yarn in my stash as well as half of one to grow on. I knit the stockinette portion of the sweater on size 10 needles and the ribbing on size 9s. My swatch had told me that my gauge was off by enough that I could knit the next size up from my normal size to get something that would fit. Unfortunately, my swatch was a nasty little lier. This led for a rather interesting turn of events when it came to finishing.
However, I will start with the modifications that I intended. First up, the V. I really wanted a deeper V, not because I found issue with the original, but rather, I just really needed to scratch that particular itch. I deepened the V by knitting my neck increases every other right-side row and reducing the width of the neck band to one inch.
Unfortunately, what this did, was actually put the end of my V right at my bust line. It looks fine. But, I think the sweater would be much more attractive on me if it was a little higher up. As it stands, the V interferes with my own bust line and minimizes the difference between my waist and my bust...something I shouldn't be doing considering I'm only about 4" inches different between those measurements as it stands.
Knitting this sweater was also a learning experience for me. This was my second top-down sweater, the first being Green Gable that met with a very nasty fate last year. So, I hadn't yet figured out that I am someone who benefits from some shoulder shaping to add a bit of room for my swimmer's shoulders (not BIG, but square). While this isn't a problem big enough to make this sweater unwearable, it is a point well noted for my next top-down project.
The other lessen I learned was how to compensate for my own errors. Now, I could kick myself for not taking pictures of the problem before I fixed it (like a good blogger should). But I was so anxious to see IF I could fix the problem, that once I did, I sure as heck wasn't going to pull it out again to document what I did. Basically, by the time I realized that my gauge was off, I had already knit ALL of the increases and had taken the arms off the needles. I thought that if I could add some subtle decreases along the sides, I could take out the stitches that were turning what was supposed to be close to a 36 inch sweater into close to a 40 inch sweater on a 34 inch bust. It seemed to have worked as I tried on the sweater as I went, so I kept going. But not until I finished the knitting and seamed up the sleeves did the gigantic bulge I had created fully reveal itself. So the fix? I simply seamed up the increases I made. There was enough room in the underarm, that I was able to hide the difference there. And honestly? Not only can you not see what I did (there is a little pocket of extra fabric inside under my underarm), I'm not even aware of it when I have the sweater on!
Now, like most problems in knitting, I had to put this one down for awhile while I got the strength to do what I needed to do to make this a wearable sweater. However, what this also meant was that I kinda forgot which needles I had been using for the ribbing. This bring me to another 'design modification' that I made. Now, I could pretend that the fun bell sleeves were fully intentional and planned, but then that would make me as much of a lier as my swatch. I knew I wanted to lengthen the sleeves before I was finished, but by knitting the last 2 inches of each sleeve with the larger needles, I unintentionally created the bell shape at the cuff - a very fortunate mistake I think.
Overall, I am very happy with how the sweater turned out. It feels really great when I wear it and although it isn't perfect, I feel like it will get a lot of use come next fall.