Adventurous

Well, Querido’s sweater still looks like a blob of navy blue fabric, so let’s look at something else.

Woman wearing a heichi back sweater on a boat

The back is the exciting part.

Francis! (Details on Ravelry)

This top represents the last of my summer of top knitting. First came the Kansas Spring, then a Cap-Sleeve Lattice Top that, with one exception, flew under the radar. Francis was started way back in May but took several months to finish.

This little beastie was a challenging knit. We are already well aware that I am very good at taking relatively straightforward knits and making them harder than they need to be by doing something silly like swapping two incompatible yarns, or by knitting to a different row gauge. But this time, the pattern helped too.

When I first saw this pattern a few years ago, I decided I had to have it. The open back, the simple neckline. It would be mine. I’d never knit a sweater from side to side before, but this was a minor detail. The pattern bills itself as ideal for adventurous beginners, and I was confident in my experience. Besides, I really wanted the finished sweater.

Francis was designed for a yarn that is now discontinued, so even if I wanted to make a summer top in worsted weight silk (which just sounds like a recipe for overheating), I wouldn’t be able to. I had hoped for a linen blend for drape, but those are hard to come by in worsted weight. After many desperate yarn searches on Ravelry, I said to heck with it and bought a nice bright bamboo/cotton blend from my LYS.

Thus began several months of knitting–ripping–and reknitting.

Beginning of a side to side sweater with sleeve

I got my head around the sideways construction pretty quickly, although without knowing how much the bamboo/cotton would grow after blocking, I just cast on the number of stitches called for in the largest body size. As it turned out, the body grew about 4″, resulting in a much longer than I intended.

The short rows were harder. I don’t knit with short rows very often, either, and there is just something about the sheer volume of math involved that shorts my brain right out. I knitted one back, measured the dickens out of it, redid my math, and reknitted. Once I was confident in what I was doing, the knitting went much faster.

Front view of a woman wearing an open-backed sweater on a boat

Half of the front: nothing to see here

Verdict? If you are the sort of adventurous beginner who is willing to jump on board with provisional casting on, grafting, picking up stitches, and short rows, then this can be a pattern for an adventurous beginner. Personally, I think a better understanding of side-to-side garment construction and plant-based yarns would have helped my little adventure come off with a lot less ripping, but I made it through. Moral to the story? We are always beginners at something.

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