Who could not admire the austere, clean lines – that fold! those sleeves! – of this pattern? But I held off knitting this for the longest time, knowing that the high boat neck and emphasised shoulders would be severely unflattering on me.
Meanwhile, I scrutinised any folded necklines that came my way: in shops, magazines and websites, for a modification idea. I considered all sorts of fabric manipulation – pleats, double folds, buttoned or stitched. Finally, while reading the pattern to see how the front was constructed, I realised the very slight V-neck was created by short rows. Aha! I would start the short rows much sooner to create a deeper V. Which would, of course, squish down the size of flap, but that could be managed by starting the flap sooner.
Once this was decided, the knitting was fairly straightforward. I started making flap increases at underbust level, exactly on the same row I started bust shaping increases. These increases required a bit of thought. Normally, I would knit the front of a pullover with one inch negative ease for a good fit. But in this case, I knew any negative ease would eat extra fabric out of the flap. So I calculated and increased for one inch positive ease in the bust, in addition to the flap increases. When the flap was about four inches, I split for right and left fronts, and started shaping the neckline with short rows. This made a very floppy sweater front when laid flat, but one that fits very well when worn.
The rest of pattern is mostly as written. I reduced the cuff to elbow circumference instead of the large bell. And increased the CC trims on the collar and hem.
This yarn, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, was intriguing to work with. I’ve never used a yarn with a high nylon content before, and I’m not sure if I like the springiness. Thankfully, it became significantly smoother and softer after a wet block, which it really needed to since the pre-soak knitted fabric was quite scratchy. But I’m happy with its smooth drape now.
Also, the colours are beautiful! The blue (Blueberry Mix) has flecks of the pink-purple (Boysenberry Mix) and vice versa, making each yarn the chromatic inverse of the other – which I find strangely thrilling. One odd thing about this yarn, though: it photographs much lighter than it is. In my own pictures and on the website, both colours look much lighter than my eyes see in real life.
The garment is beautiful, but I’m a little taken aback by how stern it looks. It’s got a Star-Trek uniform-ish kind of severity, more so since both colours are peculiarly muted when away from direct light. However, my love for this sweater means I shall have to make peace with its austerity. Shall I mitigate the starkness with the flirtiest of skirts or perpetuate it with no-nonsense trousers? Life is full of decisions.