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Finished: Chicago

That's my sister, Rae

The Specs:

-Pattern: Chicago, by Louisa Harding, from Rowan 37.
-Size: Medium.
-Yarn: Rowan Calmer, 6.5 skeins Sour, and less than one skein each Blush, Coral, and Lucky.
-Needles: size 8 birch, (size 7 when called for).
-Start to Finish: August 11, 2007 – December 26, 2007.
-For: My darling sister Rae, Christmas 2007

Rae has been asking for this sweater since Rowan 37 came out (which was in 2005, if I remember correctly), so I'm pretty darn pleased that I finally delivered. There were some initial reservations about all those little flowers, but in the end they weren't so terrible. Because knitting is like chocolate. Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.

I knitted her a cardigan.

Mods: I think Ms. Harding got a little carried away with the extras on this pattern. At heart, it's a basic ¾ sleeve cardigan but then there are a) an eyelet lace pattern, b) 52 little knitted flowers, c) 2,500 knitted-in beads d) 18 buttons/buttonholes, and e) a ruffle at the bottom. That's a lot of stuff on one sweater.

The key to making this one a winner was to strip it down a little. I nixed the ruffle from the get-go…it doesn’t appear in any of the pattern photos (and why doesn't it?) so by the time I discovered its existence it was already out of the question. The beads knitted into the lace pattern were vetoed by Rae, thank goodness. So the whole project was a little less crazy-making than it could have been.

The only thing I added was 4 extra buttonholes (and buttons). Toward the end there I got a tiny bit lazy and didn't feel like doing buttonhole math. So I just knitted on buttonholes until I ran out of room. So 22 buttons it was. They're all hidden by the flowers, so it doesn't really matter anyway. Not that they aren't fantastic buttonholes.

It looks nice unbuttoned with a fancy shirt too.

Errata: The instructions for the little flowers say that you’ll have 6 stitches at the end…you won’t. You’ll have 11. If you want to have 6 stitches, omit the K1s. I just knit the 11 stitch version and they looked fine.

The Yarn: I love Calmer. So delightfully sproingy. I did have to go up a needle size since sproing makes me knit tightly.


I'm particularly happy with my set in sleeves. I used the crochet method (my current favorite) with a half-thickness of yarn to keep the bulk down (you just slap the pieces right sides together and crochet along the edge through both layers). So tidy!

To attach the flowers, I first arranged them on the sweater and then basted them into place. Then I just starting sewing those little buggers on and didn't stop until I was finished. Each one has three little glass beads into the center but you can't see them in the pictures (note to self: take closeups next time).

I picked out transparent buttons that are the exact same color as the sweater so that they don't distract from the knitted flowers. Normally I like buttons to stand out a bit, but in this case I thought they would just clutter things up.

Final Verdict: Woo! With a side of Hoo!


so totally cute, i love that bright green/yellow color! and i think it looks great without the beads. i'm curious to see what this ruffle is all about, though...

That's a fantastic sweater! Bully for you for ditching the over-embellishments. High-five!

Wow, it looks beautiful!

That's adorable! Your sis looks so happy in it too.

Really amazing. I'm glad you omitted the ruffle and beads, that's all signs of crazy-making knitting there.


Gorgeous, it fits your sister beautifully (good sister too, mine won't pose for the blog). Good call to omit the ruffles.

It is a lovely cardi. Thank you for the tip for crochet setting in sleeves. i will have to look into that as sewing is not my greatest thing!

It's perfect.

Gorgeous! I love the way you changed it too, I wouldnt have added beads or the ruffle either. I am sure your sister is delighted with it too as she looks quite pleased in the photos.

OMG... totally cute with all you did with it! I'd like one for Christmas.. ahem. ;)

Its really lovely, though just thinking about all that fidgity detail knitting makes me twitch. You must really love your sis.

It looks cute! I can't imagine it with a ruffle. I'm afraid that might look funny.

You are, indeed, a *very* good sister. That sweater is absolutely beautiful.

That is so beyond cute!!! And your sister clearly adores it. Congratulations!

I love it! So pretty!

What a spectacular sweater -- and a very lucky sister!

I can't imagine this sweater with beads and a ruffler. It would be way over the top, if you ask me!

Wow, this reminds me of something very expensive at a store like Anthropology. Your sister is adorable and what a perfect sweater for her. I have that book and must start my own, I can think of a million colorways. What an inspiration you are.

Absolutely gorgeous! I've been waiting to see the FO. I daresay it looks just as good or even better than the version in Rowan.

Fabulous sweater! Your sister looks very happy wearing it in those pics.

Wow, adorable abounds! You did a beautiful job, and your sister wears it very well. I have a feeling there are many many more knitting requests coming your way!

Absolutely perfect! Congratulations!

So pretty. I wish you were my sister.

How lovely! And your mods are spot on :)

So beautiful! I love it sans ruffle and beads.

Chicago, huh? I wonder why Louisa Harding chose that name. I live on Chicago's north side, and I'm telling you, it's below zero and not fit weather for that sweater right now. :-)

Wow, this is beautiful. I think it might be the first finished Chicago I've seen. I love it! Also, your seaming technique is new to me, I'll have to give it a try. As always, nice work!

Wow! That sweater is beautiful.

the sweater came out so cute! you're sister is going to love it. I can't believe you knit all those little flowers!

It looks incredible! Congrats on finishing it...your sister looks gorgeous in it, and very happy.

It's stunning, what a great job! but 52 knitted flowers- I don't know how you did it and stayed sane, really.
Your sister looks super pleased!

wow... your family is just gorgeous. do you all get accosted when you walk out onto the street?

again, i LOVE your work. you're so consistent and everything looks perfect /me sighs lol ... i'm such a fan girl!

Oh my gosh, how CUTE. I love those flowers... though I've recently gained an appreciation for how long those little details take. The end result is totally worth it though! Love it!


It's really beautiful and it looks great on your sister!

Very lovely! And she does look so pleased :-)

Beautiful work, and she looks so pleased!

What a gorgeous sweater! I am definitely going to try your method of seaming set in sleeves. The first thing I thought when I saw the first picture of the sweater (besides the aforementioned exclamation) was, "Daaaang, those set in sleeves are perfect!!" I've never tried the crochet method before, and never thought to use a half-thickness of yarn....thank you for the advice!

That is absolutely gorgeous!
I'm in awe...

absolutely gorgeous. i think your sister looks very much like you! both beautiful, like nymph in the woods. i love the white blouse with cardi.

thanks for sharing!

It's just beautiful--what a great gift!

It looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing your crochet method for seaming sleeves. I'm going to give that a try.

Beautiful! You inspired me to knit Blaze, and I love the final project.

I'm working on getting the yarn for this sweater as well, but I think I shall omit the flowers. But thanks for so much inspiration!

Hi Hunnny- beautiful as always! I just love to bask in your creative genious! Great to see you this past weekend!

It looks amazing! Beautiful job. I totally agree with your thoughts about the ruffle and the beads.

Soooo pretty and it looks just your sisters style!

This is a fantastic sweater. It looks awesome unbuttoned as well as buttoned. Your work is flawless!

She's one lucky sister! Glad for pictures like yours to keep the creative ideas flowing.

It looks beautiful. I can't imagine that many beads with ruffles and flowers. You made some good calls there.

I love the look of the cardi unbutton. So cute and playful.

Love it! A breath of spring. And Rae, just like you and Krick, is beautiful.

Beautifully done. I'm going to have to try that sleeve-setting-in method... they look so clean and nice!

That is one gorgeous sweater!!!! And she looks so happy--what a good sister you are!

An FO that didn't jump off the needles AND yet made it to completion to become a gift - that is a particularly satisfying combination isn't it? Congratulations its beautiful and it suits your sister so well!

I agree -- it's completely wonderful. I didn't realize it was Calmer until this post--what a nice yarn. And thanks for the crocheted-in-sleeves tip! I mostly enjoy seaming, but I really like when a little crochet can be the "just right" join.

Sour is my favorite of all the Calmer shades. Your sister looks delighted, hooray!

That looks fantastic!

What a gorgeous sweater! You must be very proud--and your sister must feel very lucky. Congratulations on a job well done!

this almost makes me want to knit one of them :)

it's beautiful. it looks perfect.

Perfect! It is a beautiful knit for a beautiful lady! Just lovely.

What an amazing knit! Congrats - it turned out beautifully :)

It fits your sis perfect and looks just fabulous!

Incredible!!!! You did a fantastic job and I can't imagine it looking any better with any of the additional "floof" you left out. Great job!!

Woo with a side of Hoo indeed! That's a very cute, flattering sweater. Hey, our favorite preschool teacher's name is Rae!

I love it! I've been looking forward to see this FO. It's absolutely beautiful. 2500 beads. Holy crap. I could never do that. :-) I hope your sister loves it!

Look at your gorgeous sweater-girl sister! You deserve a medal for this exquisite sweater, and especially for knitting and sewing on 52 tiny flowers. I'd have figured the cardigan looked pretty classy without them and called it good. You're reminding me that I have a whole bag of lovely Calmer in that colorway to knit next summer, if I so choose, and I love the way it matches the lichen on the roof shingles. Well done, madam!

That is one awesome sweater!

Lovely! That's gonna send me running for my copy of Rowan 37!

That sweater is perfect in every sense of the words-- I can't get over how much I love this!!

you DO deserve a medal for this sweater! I love it muchly!!! You are the best seester ever. I also love the comment about being nymphs in the woods.

Congrats on a gorgeous sweater! You definitely deserve a big gold star for dealing with all those flowers.

It's so whimsical and beautiful and perfect!!

This sweater is kinda spectacular. She looks great in it and it really suits her.

Stunning and great mods to keep you sane.

beautiful sweater, I have started setting in my sleeves with crochet also and am really pleased with the results. Don't you mean that you put the RIGHT sides of the pieces together though?

I love it! Wonderful colors.

Wow I was undecided about doing the flowers but will do now. I have to agree it would ahve been much easier without the beads and becasue I did the lot it's taken over a year to do. Wish I'd thought of crocheting the sleeves in. Great job