I have just finished knitting the ultimate neutral sweater for spring/fall. What? You don’t consider pink, red and orange stripes to be neutral? Come on. Look at all that beige in there. It’s totally a neutral! I started knitting it in the summer for wear this fall. And then I got pregnant and stopped knitting anything that required any mental energy (since this is a bit more complicated than the rectangles that made up my knit-while-pregnant twist front sweater and red shrugigan). However, it seems like, despite a miserable first and second trimester, I’m going to have a third trimester where I feel mostly human (woohoo!), so I was able to rally the mental energy to finish this cardigan just in time to wear for spring. And, since it’s open front, I can actually wear it this spring!
The pattern is Fringed Cardigan from Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2015. They suggested a nice muted palette of a neutral background with a light purple and grey used for the stripes. As I said, I used my version of neutral colors. I’m currently challenging myself to knit up my yarn stash (since I currently have 94 different yarns in it – thanks to my Ravelry Stash for holding me accountable!) and I figured the stripes were the perfect way to do so. I had to buy 2 skeins extra of the beige for the arms, but everything else was from my stash and I even used up several partial skeins in the process. Go me!
The only thing that I’m not completely happy about is the arm length I ended up with. Since all these yarns have cotton, they tend to stretch out with wear. But, because the slip stitch pattern is super squidgy (that’s a real word, I swear), wear and movement draws the length back up. So, I had intended for these to be full length and actually thought they were when trying on the sweater before binding off the sleeves, but instead when I put it on and wear it, the sleeves end up at 7/8 which, on my long arms, just looks like the sleeves are too short, which I hate and is one of the major reasons I started sewing and knitting in the first place! So I’ll probably eventually be going back and knitting a few more rows on the ends of the sleeves.
The pattern does call for the stripe pattern to continue along the length of the sleeve, but it’s supposed to match the body. Since I was using up the ends of skeins, I knew I couldn’t match the sleeve to the body. Instead, I opted to keep most of the sleeve plain and add a couple of stripes at the bottom. I like it. And that uninterrupted swath of beige totally pushes this sweater into neutral category. I swear.
The sweater is knit in the round with the front an armholes steeked. The front steeks are finished by blanket twist edging and the sleeves are pick up and knit from the armhole down
The knitting gets its neat woven look by using slip stitches every-other-row. Comparing the main knitting to the stockinette steek front is a great example of how stitch gauge can be the same but row gauge can be completely different between different stitches.
I tried using a pretty crochet chain to stabilize the armhole steeks, but I couldn’t seem to get a hook/yarn combo small enough to not stretch out the edge, despite multiple attempts. So I finally just zig-zag stitched with my sewing machine. It means the inside of the armhole isn’t as beautiful as it could be. But it’s stable, and it’s done. And now I get to wear the sweater!