ACT I: A truth universally acknowledged about sweater knitting, is that just-off-the-needles garments with fit issues are unlikely to be worn.
It’s too big. That, my knitsibs, seems to be the general consensus. The sweater featured in Today’s Sweater, the one I talked (and talked and talked) about in Epic Bind Off, is just too damned big. Which explains why I made the decision last Saturday to frog the sucka, but reveals nothing of the pain that this decision caused. While I love that I can rip, and a little ripping is good for a knitter’s soul, ripping out large expanses of stockinette is a painful, nasty business.
There are a couple of ways to go with sweater now that’s down to yoke and sleeves. The fix I talked about last week, to work more decreases in bodice, might sort the body fit issues. Some. Probably. But the sleeves also suffer from excessive bigness at the underarms, and fixing the body won’t do a thing to help the sleeves fit. It seems clear I need to rip the sleeves as well, and work a shallower yoke.
Before committing to this course of action, however, I deemed it prudent to check the Ravelry project gallery for this sweater, to see if anyone else had similar issues. And, because I am nothing if not distractible, whilst there, I did a quick search on the Jaeger Extra Fine Merino, just to see what other people have been knitting in this yarn. Not that I was planning on abandoning Baby Cables altogether. No. Just to see. For curiosity’s sake.
There are lots of hats, but a dearth a sweaters, which is to be expected with a yarn that was discontinued long before Ravelry was born. There are many cabled projects, which is also not unexpected, considering the yarn.
Jaeger Extra Fine Merino is a cabled yarn, made up of twelve singles plied together in twos. The six 2-plies are then plied again, and the result is a yarn that’s rounded, bouncy and perfect for cables, which is why I chose it for the Baby Cables project in the first place. It came as no surprise to find so many cabled projects, but the one that really caught my eye was (quel surprise) a sweater. A sweater awash with cables. Fairly dripping them. It was this one: Silver Bell, by Debbie Bliss.
ACT II: If you’ll recall, the reason I worked all those increases at the side seams in the first place is that I wanted a less hour glass shape. Something fitted through the bodice and flaring out to skim the hips. An A-line shape. This shape.
I think it’s clear where I’m going with this.
Looking through the Project Gallery for the sweater, I see a lot of gorgeous Silver Belle Sweaters. Sweaters that nip in at waist, and flare out over the hips. Sweaters that are very, very flattering.
RCCHeryl’s Coral Belle, has the length that I’m going for (just below the “Good China”).
DebinVancouver’s version has more of an empire waist, but is nonetheless flattering.
HannahSmith’s Silver Belle was one of my favourites, with a perfect fit, and a cabled neckline and cuff mod that I’l probably steal. HannaSmith nailed it.
I am seeing some fit issues with the underarms on this sweater, and there are a lot of too-big projects that knitters aren’t happy about (I can relate) so that’s something to watch.
I searched for DK versions and, in addition to Rossero’s Jaeger Extra Fine Merino version, the one that sent me down this rabbit hole in the first place, there are enough other DK versions of Silver Belle that I feel confident a Jaeger Extra Fine Merino version can be attempted. Of course there are issues.
The gauge is wrong, so it means designing a version with more stitches. The largest pattern size fits a 40″ bust. I’ll spare you the rant on pattern grading. I think that’s too small for me, but because the bodice is knit cuff to centre back, the schematics aren’t much help in predicting the finished fit. The bodice construction is exactly like the Summer Soltice/Autumn Equinox sweater I frogged in order to reknit the yarn into Baby Cables and Big Ones Too. Silver Belle has enough going on that the project won’t be as boring to knit as Autumn Equinox, however, Silver Belle is worked in pieces, and sewn, and I am too enamoured with top down construction at this point to embrace seaming wholeheartedly.
And. I may not have enough yarn to knit the pattern as written. I had a kilo when I started. The frogged balls and the existing yoke and sleeves of Baby Cables weighed in at 800 grams.
ACT III: Enter MichBrum’s extremely clever mashup of silver Belle and February Lady. Top down. Check. Lots of cables. Check. That peplum with the shaping I love. check, check check.
What the Feb Lady mashup lacks are those gorgeous sleeve cables, an element of the original pattern I really like, but the placing of which presents some challenges with raglan shaping. At a total of 40 stitches across, the two charts make for quite a wide sleeve at the cast on edge. That means fewer stitches left for the back and front, and a change to the shape of the neckline.
This assumes that I work the raglan shaping every other row, like February Lady. This rate of increase is the easiest to work, but is not carved in stone. I’m devoting an entire chapter in my book to advanced, non-standard raglan shaping, where the increases for sleeves and body are not worked at the same rate. It can be done.
I swatched the raglan shaping with the smaller cables in the seam, and used just one of the larger cable charts on the sleeve, and found it wanting. I really think it needs two.
There’s also the issue of the cables at the bottom of the bodice, which need to be worked sideways. I could knit that cabled band onto the bodice, much like the cabled neckline edge of HannahSmith’s sweater, and then pick up stitches on the edge of the cable to work the peplum. We’ll see. Much to think about; many decisions ahead.
The result of all these mods is that I’m basically designing a sweater from scratch, using Debby Bliss’s cables. It’s going to require extensive tweaking. It’ll need lots and lots of math. It’ll be a TOTAL pain in the ass. I’m very excited. I can’t wait to get started.
I’ve been truly overwhelmed by the comments on the last podcast, as well as the Rav messages and email I’ve received this past week. From time to these past nine years I’ve learned that the podcast had a wider reach than I ever suspected. I’m still surprised, and quite humbled to discover that it touched so many people, in such remarkable ways. Thank you.