FO Friday: Sloane's Weld + La Bien Aimée Raglan

Y'all, I made a fuzzy pink all-stockinette sweater...and I love it.

My stay-at-home knitting hasn't exactly been going at breakneck speed, but my first Social Distancing Sweater is finally an FO: I finished my Cozy Classic Raglan this week! It's also the first thing I've made for myself that hasn't been a design sample since I test-knit the Divide hat for Emily in <checks watch> November 2016. But hey, it only took a few...years, but I did finally start working on some of that selfish knitting I kept saying I was going to do.  And... it was really super.

Top-down raglans are ubiquitous, and by all accounts, here to stay. They have pros and cons (both generally, as a means of sweater construction, and specifically, as to how they fit on different bodies, both of which are a much longer subject). But, when you have the right combination of yarn and pattern AND the schematic measurements work for your particular combination of bust, bicep, and shoulder widths, they're super, and for a lot of newer sweater knitters, a really great introduction to sweater knitting (or, it turns out, a great break from more "complicated" versions of sweater knitting for, um, tired knitwear designers locked in their houses with their small children). This is a pretty straightforward "45 degree" raglan, where you increase every other round at all four "seams," which, at this gauge, happens to work pretty well for me. As in all things, the devil is in the details, and I loved a lot of the choices Jessie Mae made here, including the lifted increases at the raglan seams, and the short row shaping she uses to lower the front neck. 
Fawn + Dawn = Love

I knit this one in our Weld in Fawn (which we still have in stock!) and La Bien Aimée's Silk-Mohair in her "Dawn" colorway, which is a pale pink. Pink isn't usually my deal (though my daughter went through a really serious pink phase at one point), but Dawn is a soft, muted kind of dusk shade, and combining it with Fawn's light heathered oatmeal shades tones it down still a bit more. The overall effect is a little "millennial pink," but the subtle variegations in Aimée's hand-dyed yarn and the natural heathering in ours work really well together to add some subtle visual interest while still meeting my usual "exists in nature or in ready-to-wear" rules for color selection. The fabric is a little fuzzy, but it's incredibly soft, lightweight, and not too too warm. I think it's going to be a great three-season sweater for NorCal.

As I talked about in my last post, I modified the body to add some A-line shaping and slightly lengthen it (I'm making peace with the cropped sweater thing, but...slowly), and I'm thrilled with how they turned out. I ended up with a sweater that has about 6" of ease at the bust, and 10" of ease at the high hip (where this one hits on me—right about at my belt loops, or the center of my hip bones). (Because bodies think size charts are bunk, I have considerably less ease than was specified in the pattern at the bicep, but, that's okay with me: I actually preferred the more fitted sleeve.) I also knit the sleeves flat and seamed them, but that doesn't have any substantive impact on the sweater—I just am a whiner about small-circumference circular knitting, for reasons slightly passing understanding.
A-line shaping accomplished.

The final sweater fits almost exactly like the ready-to-wear sweater I borrowed the mods from, and like the majority of my most-worn sweaters: solidly anchored (not necessarily tight) through the yoke and in the sleeves, and with a little more ease and movement through the body. That kind of A-line fit isn't going to give me the kind of 1950s "Sweater Girl" hourglassiness that a sweater with tapered waist shaping would, but the fit is close enough at the bust that some combination of gravity and strategic underlayers creates the illusion of some kind of curvature to the body, while still being super practical to wear in the actual real life in which I wear sweaters, which involves a lot of moving around. 

Ultimately, I know it sounds like I modded the thing up the wazoo, but what I've done here is take a relatively blank canvas (a simple, stockinette sweater) with great building blocks, and make a few changes to make the fit work better for what I like and feel comfortable wearing—which is part of what is great about knitting! And I followed my own rules about it: because I know that the yoke is where almost all of the complicated engineering of a sweater is, I did that part exactly as written, and I kept my mods to the body of the sweater, where there were considerably fewer moving parts. And, most crucially, I a) swatched carefully ahead of time and b) repeatedly blocked my WIP to check my progress (particularly before I tried it on).

Knitting almost always grows (in both directions) when you block it, and I knew that my target sweater fabric (from my swatch) required some pinning and blooming to achieve. As a result, I knew that trying on an unblocked WIP was going to be misleading and likely to cause me to a) worry and b) call audibles mid-stream (which I try to dissuade people, including myself! from doing). Checking this one as I finished the yoke, as I finished the body, and after finishing the sleeves but before going back to knit the neckline helped me make informed decisions about whether I was on track, which was a major contributor to my #happysweaterface at the end of the project. I'm super happy with the sweater and can't wait to wear it—and I've already cast on my Kuffel, so I seem to have caught the selfish knitting bug, after all!

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