-Pattern: Chicago, by Louisa Harding, from Rowan 37.
-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.
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.
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!