This is my second handknit sweater, and I'm SO happy with it! It's the Aiken sweater by Andi Satterlund - a fitted pullover with a beautiful lace detail at the neck. I wish we had a chance to get some close-up photos of the lace, but a thunderstorm came along just as we started taking pictures so we finished up pretty quickly!
I started this project pretty much right after finishing my Marion cardigan, in February last year! It went pretty quickly at first, and I had the body finished in a couple of months. It just took me forever to knit the sleeves! I barely knit at all over the summer because I was focusing entirely on work and sewing for the Super Online Sewing Match, and then I really struggled to find time for knitting during first semester. After finishing up knitting some Christmas presents, I worked on this a lot over Christmas break, and finished up early in January.
It wasn't a difficult knit - like most of Andi Satterlund's patterns, it's knit mostly in stockinette from worsted weight wool, so it goes really quickly, once you actually make the time to knit! I had never done any lace before, but I picked it up pretty quickly and the pattern wasn't difficult to keep track of. Once you get past the lace, it's just knitting in stockinette in a circle with decreases every few rows. Great mindless knitting!
The wool is Malabrigo twist, a gorgeous merino in the colourway 'Velvet Grapes'. It was on sale at a store that was closing in Canmore, when we visited the summer before I worked there. I love Malabrigo, but it's pricey at regular price, especially if you buy enough for a sweater, so this was a great find! I bought 6 skeins, which was everything she had left, but I only used 5. I'll have to use the rest for a cozy scarf or something in the fall!
Malabrigo doesn't give a very specific gauge for their wool, so I tried a couple swatches with different size needles to see what I liked the texture of. Using 5 mm needles as suggested gave me the texture I wanted (thick, and therefore warm!), but the gauge was a little tighter than recommended. If I went up a needle size, it wasn't as thick as I wanted it, so instead, I took a bit of a gamble and just made a size larger than I normally would (small rather than extra small). I know that this probably isn't the best way to adjust, but it worked really well in this case! I don't think there's anything I would change about the fit.
I think the only thing I would change if I made this again would be to knit the ribbing on a size smaller needles - I know that a lot of patterns have you do this, and I'm not sure why hers never recommend it (maybe it's assumed?). I think I'd prefer the look of a slightly tighter rib, especially at the sleeves.
The trickiest part of knitting the sweater was trying to prevent striping! Since the yarn is hand-dyed, I alternated skeins throughout the whole sweater (except for the short rows at the sleeve head), but I still had some striping, so I had to keep cutting the wool and trying to start using it again when it was a different colour. It took me a good few rows to finally stop the stripes, but I think they're only noticeable to me (?).
This also meant that when I was finished knitting, I had SO MANY ends to weave in. I don't like weaving in ends much (who does?), so it took me at least another week to finally finish up after I was done knitting!
Overall, though I'm SO proud of this sweater! I love the lace details - it's subtle, although a little more noticeable in real life! It's also so warm and cozy, and I wear it lots, even now that it's May! It's finally warmed up a little, but the first week was pretty chilly for May.
Also, thanks to my friend James for taking these photos for me! I think this one was taken just before we decided it was time to head inside...