I finished my Sophisticate. Finally! The Etsy vendor came through, sending me several skeins of similar but not identical bulky yarn. I truly lucked out. The undyed Corteccia yarn doesn't have any dyelots to match. I finished the sweater with the same undyed fibers just used in different proportions. The replacement yarn isn't as soft because it has less alpaca, but as you can see in the collar below, visually there is no difference between the two yarns. They also knit up beautifully - I haven't even blocked this sweater. I've never knitted a thing that didn't need to be blocked, but the Corteccia is the exception.
The best thing about this sweater is that I've worn it twice and not one person asked me if I'd made my cardigan - not even people who know that I knit. The ultimate compliment!
I did get some criticism about my sweater though. Two Rav people commented that the back doesn't fit me correctly and is too large at the crossback. This is a function of making a symmetrical raglan; I can't cut in the crossback like I do on set-in sleeves. Kathy Zimmerman won't design raglans for this very reason. She says you can't get a good fit.
But this problem is exaggerated on a larger form - or at least one like mine with lots of curves. Clearly raglans fit skinny chicks like Cecily Glowik MacDonald perfectly; she therefore designs with this form most of the time. Here is one of her creations, the popular Leaflet. Cecily's crossback is about the same width as her hips; she's even worked in some waist shaping, but she doesn't end up with extra fabric like I do. She rocks raglans.
Deb has another great idea. She writes:
The only thing that I see when I look at your sweater is I think the back of neck is too wide. I would take a crochet hook and run a slip stitch line across the cast on back of neck stitches and pull it in about 1 1/2" - 2". You can be quite aggressive since the collar covers where you cast on there. If it works better you can do this in the pick up stitches at the base of the collar where pulling it in will actually help with the roll of the collar. Using a crochet hook means if you don't like it you can just zip it out pretty quickly and try again. I've done this with some top downs of my own because after a while they tend to stretch out of shape there.
Next up: I'm going to finish my Sunflower aka Zinnia mittens, modeled here by Monica, my 19-year-old cat.
I also want to make Susan Mill's Patchouli, a new design from Classic Elite Knits. I bought some Classic Elite Summer Set, an alpaca/cotton blend in Hydrangea - you know I'm a sucker for pink. I'm going to upsize this pattern to fit me and add some waist shaping, too. Hopefully I'll have this pretty spring cardigan done by Easter.
Finally, I have another big plan. I'm going to start a Knitting at Large Starmore Knitalong. Knitters can choose the Alice Starmore pattern of their dreams and we'll work on upsizing the patterns. Most of Starmore designs use very simple shapes; the complexity comes in the colorwork or cables. I've always wanted to make her patterns so let's just do it! Besides the online Rav group that I'll be setting up, we'll also have monthly (or at least regular) meet-ups in the DC/MD/VA/WV/PA area. Sorry out-of-towners... if you're ever passing through, I hope you'll join us. I'm thinking we'll start this in April, so stay tuned.
I haven't thanked you in a while for reading my blog and participating in the Knitting at Large Rav group, so let me say it again: THANK YOU. You make my day every single day.