Erik has wanted a sweater like this for years and I finally found the pattern on Etsy. For an extra retro feel, he wants the main colour to be a tan/toffee brown. WOA in Suede fits the bill perfectly. The reindeer will be in dark brown and the trees in dark green. I’ll be making it with raglan sleeves.
Mods: After much swatching, I’ve settled on a gauge of 15 sts/4” instead of the called for 14 sts/4”. To get 14 sts I would have had to go way up in needle size and the fabric would have been too flimsy. Instead at 15 sts, the fabric is just firm enough and to make allowances for the resulting difference in fit, I’m making the 42” size (which hopefully will end up fitting like the 40” size). Bonus: I’m getting a perfect 5 row/inch gauge on the 6.5mm needles so the length will be spot-on.
Also, I cast on 74 sts (instead of 76) for the ribbing at the lower edge of the back so that each edge will begin and end with k2 on the right side. I will increase 2 sts across the last row of ribbing before starting the body. The way the pattern in written, one edge would begin with k2 but would end with p2 -weird and old-fashioned. The sleeve cuffs and front pieces are similarly written - I’ll have to make similar mods to make sure the edges being/end with k2 as well. I want a nice symmetrical ribbing into which the side seams will disappear.
Further mod: the pattern calls for an odd (old school) way to decrease for the raglan (K2tog on RS and P2tog on WS right at the edge), thereby hiding the decreasing in the seam, which I don’t think looks good, and is really hard to sew up. Instead I’m doing all dec on RS rows so it’s symmetrical and by doing K2, ssk, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2.
July 31 - finished the back and spent about an hour weaving in all the ends. Off to bed now that I’m about a third of the way through the right front. This enormous gauge is making quick work of the knitting.
Aug 17 - Back and both fronts done - started first sleeve today. Must. Hurry. DH’s fishing trip is looming!
Aug 25 - finally done - a billion ends to weave in - it’s blocking. Once it’s dry, I’ll install the zipper. It’s surprising how warm a big wool sweater on your lap can be in the middle of summer!
I’m inserting the zipper using TECHknitter’s brilliant method (as described on pp. 108-109 of the Winter 2010 issue of Interweave Knits. Warning: Working two rows of chain stitches on a 24” zipper takes approximately 47 times longer to do than you think it will. :)
Sep 8 - Ok, DH tried on finished sweater only to have it be too tight under the arms and through the shoulders. After throwing myself on the floor and wailing loudly for about half an hour, I remembered that I saw something else on TECHknitter’s site: instructions on how to insert gussets under the arms to enlarge the armholes of sweaters thereby adding more room through the chest and the shoulders without affecting the fit through the waist and without having to reknit the whole stinking sweater. It was like the clouds parted and the sun shone on my head and a chorus of angels starting singing - ahhhh! Whipped off a couple of diamond-shaped inserts and BAM, done! Once the blocking of the affected area has dried, I’ll post a pic of the gussets, providing it isn’t now too big, in which case I will put on the sweater and jump off the nearest bridge and my husband will host a massive garage sale to unload the remains of my stash.
Fit update: Ding, ding! We have a winner! Opening the underarm seams and inserting a 4” wide gusset under each arm has solved the tight armhole/chest problem.
Final post-script: After finally wrestling the zipper into submission, I remember why I don’t knit things with zippers in them. Because it is bloody torture! However, TECHknitter’s tip was a lifesaver and should I ever have to insert a zipper into a sweater again, I will definitely use her method.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a stiff V&T to celebrate!