I am very glad to have finished Elise’s cropped raglan sweater today.
I took photos before blocking, but I think you can see I’m pretty happy with it.
Pattern: Cropped Raglan Sweater (Ravelry link), free pattern from Lion Brand
Size: Large (41″)
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Worsted 10-ply worsted weight, color #8067 Sea Spray (dye lot 3740), 60% Pima cotton 40% Modal; I used just under eight 50-gram balls, totaling approximately 400 grams/14.08 oz or 600 yards/552 meters.
Needles: Knit Picks Options interchangeable circular needles, in US size 7 (4.5 mm) and 8 (5.0 mm)
Recipient: my aunt Elise
Started: February 1, 2008
Finished: June 27, 2008
The usual disclaimers apply, in that I started this months ago and put it down for a long time, then finished it this week.
My aunt lives in Hawaii and works in an air-conditioned hospital. She mentioned how her shoulders and upper arms often freeze at work, so I wanted to make her something light and appropriate to the tropics, but substantial enough to keep her warm. I also wanted a soft and easy-care yarn, and I knew she adored this cotton/modal blend when she was admiring my grandmother’s shawl.
One of the most interesting aspects of this project for me is that I’ve made this pattern before, a little more than a year ago, and in acrylic. I really enjoyed knitting it in cotton and seeing the way it was intended to drape. As much as I love my first version, I found the cotton to be swoon-worthy in wonderful ways.
There were several technical differences this time around as well. Apart from general speed and confidence, now that I know how to seam, I knit the sleeves flat rather than in the round on DPNs, which I found made them go a lot more quickly.
As I only just learned how to properly pick up and knit stitches last week, it was quite a different experience doing the front band ribbing. I picked up 2 stitches for every 3 rows, which gave me about 74 stitches when the pattern called for 94. I feel like if I had picked up more stitches (as I’d done in my acrylic version), the ribbing would sag in the heavy cotton.
I used a stretchier bind-off on the arm and waist ribbing to make for a more comfortable fit. I learned this bind-off from toe-up sock knitting and figured it would work as well for upper arms and to give the waist some stretch. I wanted this sweater to be easy to pull on and off, fitting with the easygoing drape of the cotton. I worried that this bind-off made it flare slightly, but I can happily say that all evened out with blocking.
I think this is a great pattern. Because it’s such a versatile design, I find I wear mine all the time, over girly dresses or casual tees. I chose this soft greenish blue color because I think it’s beautifully subtle. I hope it will function almost as a neutral with the rest of my aunt’s vibrant wardrobe, making it easy to coordinate and enjoyable to wear. I also thought it would look great against her lovely tan complexion and blue eyes.
I am completely thrilled with the yarn. It is so nice to use and makes for a decadent finished project. I got to see how well it held up with my grandmother’s shawl, so I know that my aunt’s sweater will look great for a long time too.
My only concern is that this sweater may be a touch too big for my aunt. I tried it on myself to compare it with last summer’s version, and it’s slightly looser and more drapey all over. I think it’ll be okay, if a bit more casual in feel than mine was. I really hope she likes it! I’ll try to get photos of her wearing it when I give it to her for her birthday this weekend.
(By the way, for any Cure fans out there, I can’t look at this project without thinking of “A Letter to Elise,” but yknow, a sweater for Elise. Heh.)