Friday, January 8, 2016

Pattern Review: The Sandra Sweater

Once in a while, when I knit something that will take more time and commitment than a hat or some fingerless gloves, I actually follow a pattern! I know, it's wild.

Awhile back, I picked up a bundle of back issues of Knitscene from Interweave, and it's become my favorite knitting magazine. Lots of great ideas and patterns that actually look good on the people wearing them, which seems like no small feat when you check out some of the other knitting mags out there.

The Australian Women's Weekly, 1967.:
Ok, that one's from 1967, but you get my point.

One of my most recent pattern-following successes was The Sandra Sweater by Odessa Reichel. It's from the Fall 2012 issue and has the kind of retro styling I'm drawn to, and that will continue to be fashionable for years to come. 

The original
Cute as it is, when I use someone else's pattern, I rarely stick to it completely, and this sweater was no different. I used a stash yarn I picked up on ebay I don't even know when (a Merino wool blend from ICE yarns). and had a gauge that was....close enough.

The yarn
I got 20sts for 4 inches rather than 21. Based on my measurements, I could go with the size 34 1/2 for a snug fit or 36 1/2 for a looser fit.

I did some math....
Trust me, it's worth it. And actually kinda fun.

Pattern gauge
21 sts / 4" = 5.25 stitches per inch

My gauge
20 sts / 4" = 5 stitches per inch

That doesn't sound like much of a difference, but it can really affect your sizing when spread over a whole garment. You can figure out how much with just a little more math. 

Pattern measurement for Back
I calculated this by dividing the number of stitches by the gauge per inch.

Size 34 1/2
90 sts / 5.25 = 17.25"

Size 36 1/2
96 sts / 5.25 = 18.28"

Size 34 1/2 using my gauge
90 / 5 = 18

Following the size 34 1/2 pattern with my adjusted gauge would get me a size 36. That sounded just right to me, so I followed the directions for that size. Since my gauge was close to the original, the adjustment is relatively minor, and I can just size down from what I might have chosen with the correct gauge. If your gauge is way off, it can be rather trickier, as you may have to make up a new size based on your gauge.

Math homework completed, I was off to knit!

I didn't have another color of the yarn in question, and didn't particularly care for the thin stripes in the design anyway, so I omitted those.

The wip
The mock cable design on the front worked up easily and more quickly than a traditional cable knit. I also found it much less bulky, which worked well for the relatively fine yarn and made a nice, thin sweater perfect for the cooler days in my very un-chilly climate (New Orleans).

The finished product

Overall, I'm quite happy with the result. If I were to knit it again, I might add a little extra length, as the cropped cut limits the sweater's usefulness (at least in my wardrobe). My one complaint was the total lack of directions in how to seam the puff sleeves. I would have been much happier (and would have put off seaming a much shorter time) if there was some indication of how to best ease in that extra material. Google failed me on finding a tutorial, and I was left to my own trial-and-error devices. I ended up doing a couple folds at the top and sewing the sleeves in through a double layer of fabric at strategic points. I'm not, however, convinced this was the best way to go about it. C'est la vie. I do think they turned out all right anyway.

Happy knitting!

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