06 July 2012

Intro to Fireside

A couple of friends and I decided this spring to do a cabled sweater as a knit-along.  Not a big deal, nothing formal, just a "hey, let's each knit the same sweater pattern and see how the finished products come out different" experiment.  I'm not quite sure how we settled on the Fireside Sweater (Rav link), because I came late to this game, but I appreciated not having to participate in a lengthy deliberation process.  All I had to do was grab some Lamb's Pride Worsted from my stash and get to work.

Fireside is a gorgeous cabled concoction with a sumptuous collar.  Turns out, though, that the pattern's a bit of a mess.  It's just not very well-written (it's clearly-written, but not well-thought-out in a few places) and I'm very glad that I spent a good bit of time on Ravelry reading about the ways other knitters had modified the pattern.  For one thing, this is the designer's first pattern.  Or first sweater pattern, maybe.  Anyway, there's a hint of not-knowing-what-she's-doing to it.

This not-knowing-what-she's-doing is most clear in the way she has written the upsizing: the designer happens to fit a size XS, and she made the sweater for herself... but her solution to upsizing was to add extra inches of reverse-stockinette between cables and cable-panels.  So for those of us who are not size XS, the extra "empty" space simply makes the cabling look sparse -- so the bigger you are, the farther-apart the panels are... that is, the wider you are, the wider you look.  (And seriously?  I'm knitting a size medium.  I can't imagine how an XL sweater would look, but it seems like there'd be more reverse-stockinette than cables.)  This is particularly an issue for the back of the sweater, which has a giant swath of rev-st that's just supposed to get wider the wider you are.  Not flattering!  It looks like everyone who's bigger than an XS has modified the sweater somehow to deal with this issue.  Most of the good mods I've seen are either additions of cables in the places that called for wide swaths of reverse-stockinette, or an increase in the size of the original cable panels.  I'm doing the former, adding cables in the center back and on the sides.

I added this cable in the center back at the bottom.
There will be a complimentary one at the top, too, when I get that far.

I also decided to knit the sweater in one piece rather than in two front panels and a back.  I'm more likely to finish it that way.  We all know that.  So I added cables on the sides under the arms where a seam would have gone, partly to fill up the reverse-stockinette space, and partly to add some of the structure a seam would have provided.  I've got a little i-cord edging happening on the front panels, too.  It looks a little funny right now, but once I block the whole thing I think it'll work out.

So far I've got a body and two sleeves -- up to the point where I'd join them to knit a yoke and do it all in one piece, but I think I am going to sew the sleeves on as written.  I've got to knit in inch or so more of the body before attaching the sleeves and attempting to, but I wanted to get the sleeves done first so I could figure it all out, and I'm glad I did because it turns out I had to modify the sleeves even more than the body (thanks to the poorly-thought-out upsizing, if I'd knitted the sleeves as written they would have been suuuuuper wide)... and, well, I think these decisions are good fodder for a future post.  Stay tuned to find out what I decide.

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