Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Sweater Project 2012: Complete!

It is done! Just in time for 80 degree weather, too. ;-)

Pattern: I Heart Aran by Tanis Lavallee
Yarn: my handspun three-ply heavy worsted weight Romney from fleece purchased at MDSW 2011
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) and US 7 (4.5 mm) Knit Picks Options
Started/Completed: February 23/April 26
Mods: bound off all stitches and seamed rather than grafting at underarms and shoulders, added an additional inch of length to body

I am thrilled with how this turned out. The start-to-finish time span is not quite representative of how long it took to knit, because I was working on other projects at the same time and thus was putting it down and picking it up during that period. The front, with all the cabled details, probably took the longest of all the parts, as you would expect, but even that didn't take more than probably a couple of weeks' worth of knitting sessions all told.

The one minor modification I made to the pattern was to bind off underarm and shoulder stitches and then seam them; the pattern called for putting these stitches on holders and then grafting them at the end. I love to graft, but I felt that because this sweater was so heavy (handspun is generally a lot denser than commercial yarn), the added stability of sewn seams, especially at the shoulders, would help this sweater to keep its shape and wear better over the long run.

One shiny button purchased at my LYS!
I found this pattern to be generally well written, and when I did run into one area of difficulty, I was able to PM the designer and get great help. (For the curious, the difficulty came in the form of the word "repeat." When I see repeat, I always assume that you do something once and then repeat -- do it again -- x number of times. In this case, "repeat" was used to mean do a direction x number of times total.) Tanis double checked the numbers on the sleeve shaping for me and even sent me the pattern again just in case I had downloaded before an update had happened. She even acknowledged that the way the directions were worded was a little confusing. Turns out, the numbers were correct and it was just my interpretation of the directions that was at fault. The experience was great, though, in that I got an excellent example of what customer service and good pattern support should be.

One of the things I was most worried about was having enough yarn. I selected this pattern first and foremost because I loved it but also because all the cabling was only on the front -- as you can see, the back and sleeves are in stockinette. Of course, I still worried that I wouldn't have enough, especially as I only had about 150 yards more than the yardage specified in the pattern. As it turns out, I shouldn't have worried. I have two skeins completely untouched, one of them with fairly high yardage, and according to my calculations, that means I used approximately 925 yards for my sweater, including a swatch and these leftovers (with iPod for scale):

All in all, I can say with certainty that this year's Sweater Project was a huge success! The sweater fits really well and is not nearly as scratchy as last year's sweater, meaning I will wear it often when the weather is amenable. I still have a fair amount of fiber leftover and am thinking of spinning up matching yarn to make Rainbow a coordinating sweater for next winter. Plus, even though I didn't set a specific time frame for completing the sweater, I happened to finish this a week before Maryland Sheep and Wool -- which means I feel completely okay with bringing home another fleece!


  1. I had a similar experience when I found a small error in Tanis' Ombré pattern. The stitch count for the sleeve setup was wrong, and she got back to me right away. It's always nice to have that kind of pattern support.
    Love that sweater! You know, it's only once I saw yours that I really noticed that it was hearts and x's and o's. I don't know why I never noticed before. I think it's the angle a lot of the projects were shot at

  2. It looks great, and don't worry, it will get cold at least once more.

  3. It's beautiful. And I love the idea of making Rainbow one too. (And I have a Romney fleece arriving this week as well!)

  4. it's beautiful! i'm so impressed that you went all the way from sheep to sweater. gorgeous.

  5. It looks perfect on you! You did a great job!