Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Done, with Time to Spare

Although it took me the better part of a week to finish those final bits that should have taken an evening or two, I'm happy to tell you that my Mad May sweater is complete!

Pattern: Gnarled Oak Cardigan by Alana Dakos, from Coastal Knits
Yarn: madelinetosh tosh dk (100% superwash merino) in Forestry, approximately 5.5 skeins
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) and US 3 (3.25)
Started/Completed: May 1/May 23
Mods: worked a smaller size to compensate for gauge difference; picked up fewer stitches for button bands

This pattern was one of two main reasons I bought the book, and when I was forced to take home six skeins of this gorgeous green tosh from my LYS (seriously, the yarn wouldn't let me leave without it!), I knew it would be a perfect match with this sweater.

The body and sleeves really flew, despite the fact that I was alternating skeins every two rows/rounds to avoid any unseemly pooling. It can be a bit of a pain and can make the project a little less portable, but I think it's worth it. The only place I didn't alternate was for the button bands, and that was frankly because I was being lazy and didn't want to add time to the project by having more ends to weave in.

The real star of this sweater is the gorgeously cabled yoke. Some of these rows took a half hour or more to do, but they were worth it. Aren't these leaves just incredible?

My only real modification to this sweater was to knit a size smaller than I normally would. For one thing, I didn't have enough yarn to knit the bigger size. But it turns out to have been a good thing, because my gauge was a little off. I think Alana Dakos is a very tight knitter; she gives a gauge of 24 stitches and 30 rows using a size 5, but I was only able to get 22 stitches and 32 rows over four inches -- and that was with a size 4. I saw her post somewhere on Ravelry that the dense gauge was somewhat deliberate (it would really make the cables pop), but I liked the fabric I was getting on 4's and just couldn't see going down to a US 3 for a DK sweater. Thanks to the difference in gauge, I was able to knit a smaller size and have it come out just right to fit me, as you can see.

I really couldn't be more thrilled with how this turned out. The pattern was very well written, and clearly the finished sweater fits me well. Mother Nature was even obliging enough to send us a cold front that made it cool enough on Saturday to actually need a sweater, so I was able to show it off around town. My only disappointment is that these shots do not do it justice; my camera did not seem to want to capture the beauty that is this colorway accurately, and though I color-corrected the photos you see above, they're still not quite accurate. I suppose if that's my only complaint, then I have a real success on my hands.


  1. Couldn't agree more. An enormous success. I loved that cardigan the minute I saw it and it's definitely on my to-do list. But yarn never talks to me the way it does to you...

  2. SQUEEEE!!! It's gorgeous! And it fits you perfectly!!