Pattern is Carabe, yarn is Madelinetosh Pure Merino Worsted in Weathered Frame colorway and Madelinetosh DK in Baltic colorway (the stripes).
My first full-on adult-sized sweater is finished! And it only took me a little over a year and a half! Well, actual knitting time wasn't quite that long, but I did have extended periods (two summers, which is a long time in Texas) where I wasn't knitting on it because it was too hot to have a lap full of wool.
So, here's the rub: I am pleased with my knitting, and I think I did a good job with it. This pattern was a little more complicated than my mind was able to process at times (to be honest, a lot of times), and I had to take tons of notes along the way, be comfortable with ripping out work to make it correct, and also learn how to do shaping and decreases every so many rows, which in turn meant more notes and the repeated use of a stitch counter to keep me on track.
One of the best random investments I've made for knitting - a stitch counter.
Trying it on...
But - you knew there'd be a but, right? Even though I tried on the sweater along the way, I'm not happy with the fit. It ended up with the sleeves a little too long; I can fold back the cuffs to shorten them, but then the last blue stripe is hidden:
See? You lose the fun pop of color by folding up the cuff.
The sleeves ended up too long because when I blocked the sweater (which is where you soak it in a bath of cold water and special wool wash and then squeeze it out and lay flat to dry), they grew. Which makes sense; sometimes that happens and I violated the first rule of knitting, which is to knit a swatch, measure it, then block it and measure it again so you can account for that kind of thing. I didn't do this because I'm lazy and like to live on the edge. That said, the sweater feels a little short in the body, which makes no sense because it seemed like the right length when I tried it on, and if the sleeves grew, you'd think the body of the sweater would grow as well, right?
The sweater is finished off with an I-cord bind-off around the button band and collar, and I think that is partially to blame for the way the sweater pulls up now:
The front panels should be lying even with the back. I'm pretty sure they were, before I did the I-cord bind-off. I even went up two needle sizes, as recommended, for that.
That is definitely NOT a shawl collar by any means.
The other thing that I'm disappointed with is the shawl collar - there's not much to it, especially when I compare it to the other Carabe sweaters that are shown on Ravelry project pages. That collar gave me a lot of trouble; it's knitted with short rows, which mean you have to do a wrap-and-turn stitch to make it, and I had to do a lot of ripping out and restarting it and obviously I still didn't get it right - it needs to be more substantial.
What I did do well, and what I was concerned about from the get-go, was picking up stitches for the button band and collar - that's a tricky thing to do, and I watched a lot of tutorials on You Tube before attempting it - and I was successful, go me! Plus, my decreases along the body (for waist shaping) and sleeves (for tapering) look nice, and my stitching in general looks good:
Click on the picture - you can see the decreases along the side of the body and along the sleeve.
I'm not going to bother with sewing on the buttons for this sweater, because there's no way I'd wear it in the state that it's currently in. And I'm not in the mood right now to figure out what I need to do to fix this in order to turn it into something that I'll wear. That said, I'm not mad about how it turned out because I know that at some point I can fix it, and also, I was really inexperienced with knitting something this complicated when I began this project back in March of 2016. I'm a better knitter now, and thanks to knitting (and reknitting) several baby sweaters, I have a better understanding of what I'm doing. And that's the beauty of knitting - when I'm ready, I can unravel parts of this sweater and make it longer, and shorter (haha), and maybe even get the front panels to not pull like they are doing now...still not quite sure how to do that, so I'll just wait until I come up with a better plan.
It's funny that knitting rarely frustrates me the way other things do - for example, having a bad run has made me feel like I'm a terrible runner and should just quit, but spending hours and hours knitting something, only to have it not turn out perfectly? I'm OK with that. I mean, sure - I'd love for this sweater to have turned out perfectly, or at least perfect enough that I could wear it, but it was a learning experience; also, I enjoy the process of knitting - after all, I had beautiful squishy yarn that was hand dyed in gorgeous colors, and it really was a pleasure to knit with. So don't be surprised if one day you come here and read a post where this sweater is finished for the second time - AND you'll see a picture of me wearing it!