For those of you who don't know me in "real life", let me start this post by telling you I have a bit of an obsession with all things Italian. My Great Grandmother (who is now in her late 90s and as sweet as sweet can be) immigrated to the US from Italy with her parents when she was a kid. And even though by blood my heritage is roughly 75% German and only 25% Italian, it is that Italian heritage with which I identify most. Probably because my Great Grandma Mary married an Italian, my Great Grandpa Pete who passed away when I was a tween, and many of our family traditions stem from their families. I'm sure it helps that my Great Grandma is the mother of my mother's mother...and us ladies if we are good at anything are good at carrying on with family traditions through the generations.
I love to hear my Mom talk about how when she was a kid she always knew when GG Pete was cursing or when he and GG Mary were having a discussion they didn't want the grand kids to understand because it was in Italian. We celebrate with Italian foods at the holidays. We drink wine. We go to mass. (I use "we" loosely here because "I" don't so much go to mass as the collective of the family.) Any who, it is to Italy where my thoughts travel when I think about ancestral roots.
So I pretty much KNEW it was fate when I started looking for yarn to take on knitting my first sweater and right away I found this lovely Italian superfine merino on closeout at WEBS! I knew I had to have it and the toughest part was deciding which "neutral" color to order. (Yep, my wardrobe is boringly neutral. But hey...it's not white or black so I consider this a step away from the norm even if it's a small step.)
I wish you could reach through the screen and squeeze that ball and see for yourself just how lovely it feels.
I'm using the February Lady Sweater by Flint Knits pattern as my guide. I say guide because well, I'm not totally following the pattern. (A fact that shocks you I'm sure considering how we have established my inability to just follow a pattern. We can discuss that later in therapy. Back to the sweater.) I had pictured in my head what I wanted to make and the February Lady Sweater was the closest I could find to that image...and it's a well written pattern that seemed to be allow for tweeking.
The pattern uses garter stitch through out the top portion of the sweater and for whatever reason, I'm just not a garter stitch fan. It seems bulky to me and the fineness of my yarn I think calls for something a little more delicate. So I'm knitting up the top portion with a seed stitch collar and button bands and stockinette throughout the yoke. After ripping out my original start to add a few more rows of seed stitch to the collar, and take a few columns out from the button band, I'm REALLY happy with how things are moving along.
I also plan to alter the sleeves from the original design. I'd like to make them elbow length, maintaining the stockinette stitch instead of switching to the gull lace, finishing them off with a buttoned band of seed stitch. I guess we will just have to wait to see how that plan goes.
I knit Scott's Turn a Square hat in part to get a feel for raglan increases knowing that a sweater was in my near future. (And I have no desire to knit anything at this point that requires any amount of hand seaming!) I just love how dainty the little raglan "seams" look.
A new skill that I've had to pick up for this sweater is the making of button holes. Talk about stressful! Not so much the process of making the holes, but more the process of deciding where they should be located knowing you can't move then later! I picked up a number of unique buttons on clearance at the quilt shop and can't wait to see which ones fit the overall feel of the sweater once it's finished.
My solid section (before the start of the gull lace) will be a bit longer than the original design too as I plan to have it end just UNDER my boobs rather than right across my boobs. The 3rd button will be located here and I'm hoping will help give the top a little snugger fit before giving away to the swingy section of lace.
I am a tiny bit concerned about the fit being as my gauge is off a little from what the listed in the pattern and I'm knitting the size that JUST fits my bust measurements. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how much of a difference those 2 stitches per 4 inches really make. Truth be told I'm at currently sitting at my "winter weight" so I could handle loosing a few pounds if I need to fit into the sweater. (Sometimes motivation comes from the strangest places.)
My poor lace scarf has taken a back seat to my sweater lately mainly because it takes too much concentration for me to be able to knit the lace pattern AND watch the Olympics. As you can see based on how much sweater progress I've been able to make this week we've been watching A LOT of Olympics. I mean how can you now? The Olympics ROCK!
The next question is: Can I finish both my lace scarf AND my Italian February Lady Sweater by our spring break trip at the end of March? Oh how I do hope so!!!