Hello from my last day in Aberdeenshire! These last three weeks flew by; despite it being June, it's been cold and rainy most of the time, which left ample time for finishing up my Snowbird sweater. Fortunately the sun came out briefly right after I finished it, so I was able to drag Iain out to take some photos:
I knit this in nine days, which is obscenely fast for me. Once I got started, with little else to do out here, finishing it became a bit of an unhealthy obsession. I knit an entire sleeve in one day and knit 35 cm in another; if I ever get so stupid as to decide to knit something this fast again, I'm definitely going for a shorter sweater with fatter yarn.
My frenetic knitting was made slightly stressful by the fact that this sweater looked like @$*&! while I was knitting it. Fortunately, I steam blocked this rather aggressively with an iron, and am very, very happy to see that steam blocking forgives a number of sins and results in a much softer, much drapier fabric. It's still not perfect, so, um, don't look too closely!
The Pattern: This is a gorgeous sweater, the kind I would buy in a store, and my first purlwise-facing project, which I like quite a bit; the directions are generally easy to follow, though they don't spell things out as much as some others do (something I always appreciate, since if there's a wrong way to do something, that's probably how I'll do it unless firmly ordered otherwise). The construction is not forgiving of mistakes, with some of the seaming or more fiddly bits in very visually central areas, like the shoulders (mine do not look wonderful). The seaming of the back threw me a bit, until some helpful Ravelers pointed out that to do mattress stitch on two different fabrics, you follow mattress stitch directions for stockinette on the stockinette side, and directions for purl-side on the other - a bit obvious when you think about it, but the sort of thing I need pointed out (also I was a bit delirious after my nine day knitting binge and was probably not thinking clearly).
I actually really enjoy seaming, though I'm not very good at it - like I said, I think I may use the last remnants of my yarn to redo the shoulders when I get home - and so I'm less happy with this sweater than others because all the goofs are in the most prominent places of the sweater. But, that's my problem, not the pattern's, and I would definitely recommend this to a confident knitter. And maybe not doing it over nine days!
Modifications: I didn't modify anything, except to knit one sleeve inside out (I knit the other sleeve entirely in purls; not surprisingly, it took three days where the other took one) and then pop it rightside out when I got to the cuffs. So much easier, so much nicer looking. I also purled the last row on the cuffs before binding off knit-wise to minimize rolling, and then blocked it with an iron (like, literally ironed it - not something I think you're supposed to do? but it worked for me) to flatten it even more. I'm not a big fan of curling.
The yarn: I honestly don't remember why I choose this yarn or the color - I seem to remember it being a decent price, though it doesn't fit any of my usual criteria for yarn (either ridiculously soft, or a crazy vibrant color that doesn't actually match anything I own). Hence, it was a bit boring and scratchy to knit with, but after blocking has transformed into a softer, much drapier fabric that I like much, much more. Though I'm still toying with the idea of dying the whole thing black (it'd cover up all those mistakes in the shoulders!), I do have to admit that oatmeal, while not the most striking color, definitely goes with almost everything.
PS, The knitting of Snowbird would probably have gone even faster were it not for this grouchy old lady, who developed an instant need to sit on my lap or stand on my project whenever I broke it out. Here she is studying the pattern.