I’ve knit this pattern before, but it was so long ago that I didn’t remember much about it, so when my stepmom requested it for her birthday, I was game to give it another try. The pattern is Ripple and Bead Cardigan from the book Successful Lace Knitting. I actually think it’s not a very well-written pattern – it’s very short (probably to keep the book from being overly long), and the pattern designer leaves out a lot of helpful information and tips. There aren’t any errors in the pattern – that’s not the problem, it’s just that there are at least several places where more information is needed, or at least a helpful hint or a tip. I find that a lot of the pattern designers I like include this kind of information. Maybe it’s easier to do that in electronic patterns, where length isn’t an issue, but I’d have to say that even though this pattern appears to be very easy, I think it would be challenging to a beginning knitter because it’s so truncated.
I felt like I did a much better job knitting it this time – I knit size Medium (40″) instead of Large, and it turned out plenty big (the fit is supposed to be fairly loose and flowing). I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (45% wool, 35% silk, 20% nylon). Wonderful yarn, and such gorgeous heathered colors! This color is Columbine. Although I calculated yardage according to the pattern guidelines, and knit on the recommended US 7 needles (US 6 for the buttonband), I ended up using only 6 skeins (instead of the 8 I thought I’d need).
When I measured for length as I was knitting each piece, I stretched it fairly taut – more than I typically would – because I knew that when I blocked it, I’d want to stretch it out to open up the lace pattern. This turned out to be a good idea, because it’s plenty long in the body and sleeves. I also blocked each piece before seaming together, which makes for a much improved FO, and as a result, I didn’t block the finished sweater much other than the buttonband.
The pattern called for 3/4″ buttons, but they looked huge on the sweater, so I used 1/2″. Otherwise, I made no modifications. I think that the yarn is a beautiful complement to the pattern; keep in mind that the fit will not be like a typical sweater, it’s more like a layering piece, that hangs a little loose and floats, rather than a close-cut fit.
Although I got impatient while knitting – I’ve done too many sweaters lately, and have developed sweater ADHD – it actually went pretty quickly – for a sweater. I’m sad that I have to give this one away, and may be tempted to try it again in the future, now that I have a yarn that I love paired with the pattern, and a good feel for the fit and sizing.