And I'm going to show you a ton of pictures.
Because, well, y'all, I finally finished this freakin' sweater.
pattern: Lace Leaf Pullover from Loop-d-Loop, by Teva Durham
yarn: KnitPicks Decadence, 100% alpaca (discontinued), in Chocolate, 6 skeins (726 yards)
needles: KnitPicks Options, size 10
started knitting: August 18
finished knitting: September 3
finished sweater: November 15
modifications: I used a less bulky yarn than called for in the pattern, and therefore had to seriously modify my stitch count. To do this, I used a combination of intuition and mathematics, with mostly good results. The fit is pretty perfect, but the leaf motifs didn't end up exactly in the same places as in the pattern pictures. Only after I was well into this knit, did I read pieknits' straightforward explanation of how to modify a pattern to fit your gauge. [I swear that's where I read it, but now that I'm looking to link it, I can't find it.]
unintentional modification: left out one set of yarnovers on the right arm. Seriously annoying, and so far I haven't come up with a fix.
after the fact mod: erasing some of the bags under my eyes in these pictures.
Dude. I didn't realize what a hag I'm becoming. I need more sleep!
if I had it to do over again: I would use a bulkier yarn (as called for by the pattern), in a lighter color. I went with this yarn because it's what I had (received as a Mother's Day gift, with another pattern in mind, but then I got obsessed with the Lace Leaf). I like the drape of this yarn a lot, but I decided after the fact that for this sweater I really like the look of the original pattern - that sort of bulky, over-sized, stand-up sweater kind of look that a body can get lost in.
Also, the leaf motifs don't show up as well in this smaller yarn, and especially in this dark color.
So I go around holding my left arm up near my face a lot, so people can get a glimpse of that leaf cuff action.
Hi! I'm a dork! It's 20 degrees! I don't have a coat on! But look! I have leaf motifs!
As usual, my favorite-est part was the button.
Good thing I've got the short hair thing going now, or I can assure you I would be contorting myself somehow so people could get a glimpse of the awesome button. (If you doubt me, see leaf motif photos, above).
Of course, my former long locks would have come in quite handy covering up the unintentional design feature, as seen below:
How I didn't even notice I'd missed them until I was seaming the sweater is even further beyond me.
That I chose to do nothing about it before seaming is no real surprise.
[Is there anything I can do about it now? I mean, aside from taking the sweater apart and ripping back?]
ETA: the right sleeve is indeed supposed to have two lines of eyelets running up the arm. It's just that on one row, I skipped both yarnovers - eyelets - which you can see about 4 inches below the top of the sleeve. I have tried to figure out how to go back and create holes right there, without causing a huge unraveling. Another idea someone gave me was to embroidered a small branch with leaves there....
If you know this design, you know that the biggest difference between it and any other sweater design is that you knit the bottom from the bottom and the top from the top and then you graft in the middle. The reasoning Teva Durham gives is that the leaf motifs come out better that way. Some people do knit it all in one piece anyway, just reversing the chart at either top or bottom. I had already changed every number in the pattern, because of my gauge being so drastically different, and I was not up for making further modifications. So in the end, that meant grafting 136 stitches. I do not mind kitchener stitch at all. But after the first 10 I somehow messed up somewhere, and didn't notice it until many stitches later. At that point, I set the sweater aside for two months, while I finished up my Gothic Leaf Stole.
When I picked it up again, I made a mess of things multiple times. I would rip back and start grafting again, only discover a bit later that my stitch count was off by one (top and bottom stitch count not matching). I finally ripped all the way back. As I got ready to start again, I really wanted to cry. I could hardly face doing it again. I had thought I needed to do the whole grafting with one piece of yarn, and was using a piece about 6 feet long. Have you ever tried to kitchener with a piece of yarn longer than your own body? It is unbelievably tedious, and slow. A very experienced knitter then encouraged me to cut the yarn, use only about 18 inches or so at a time, and just weave in the ends. That's what I did. It was done in a night. It looked fine. If I had tried this in the first place, I would've had it done at the beginning of September.
The seam was noticeable, but the blocking took care of most of that (there is one tiny bit of the seam that is barely noticeable in the back). It startles me to think of how I used to never block anything. Now I can't imagine not blocking.
verdict: Overall, I'm pretty happy. A great design, a delicious yarn, a favorite color, and a few lessons learned. A keeper for sure.
Now get that girl a coat!