Back in January, immediately following the the success of our Ingenue collaboration, Liz, Meg and I started knitting another sweater. Meg was on a sweater knitting roll after completing her first and second sweaters, and she had her sights set on a third. Tasha and Rochelle had recently announced their Knit for Victory KAL, and Meg easily recruited Liz and I to join her in knitting the Bridge Jumper.
It was a rocky knit from the very start. We each had images of our color scheme in mind when we started searching for yarn. That's usually not a big problem considering the variety of yarns available for colorwork; however, the yarn weight recommended for this project is fingering weight- the weight a knitter would typically use for socks. For whatever reason, there are not a lot of solid color sock yarns readily available. What's worse, most sock yarns are either superwash or blends, both of which are amazing for knitting socks and really horrible for stranded colorwork knitting. Still, we pressed on.
I knew that I wanted to change the original pattern. I love vintage pullovers, but felt I would get more wear from a cardigan. I also decided that I wanted a more contemporary fit than the waist length sweater directed. I swatched and recalculated stitch counts. Then, I incorporated waist shaping into the side seams. I also positioned the charts to create mirroring patterns on either side of the center line, and I prepared myself to knit my first ever STEEKED cardigan.
It's been a long time since I've encountered a knitting skill that intimidated me. At this point in my knitting, I've attempted most types of garments, stitches, and techniques. However, the mere thought of taking scissors up the center of a row of knit stitches still makes me quiver. The knitting bit of this sweater went relatively smoothly and quickly (albeit boring and tedious); however, I sat paralyzed with fear once I'd cast off. I left my sweater blocking on the table for more than a week before I was able to muster the courage to cut. It's likely this sweater would still be sitting on the table as a tube if it weren't for the support and reassurance of Tasha. THANK HEAVEN FOR TASHA.
When I decided I wanted to steek my sweater, I dove in head first without doing adequate research. I only left myself a buffer of four center stitches between the edges of the front piece patterns. (I know now, I should have given myself a bit more breathing room.) Terrified I was going to unravel the whole darn sweater, I sent Tasha a message. Not only did she cheer me on, but Tasha bounced ideas and approaches to steeking back and forth with me until I'd settled on the method I felt most comfortable with.
Ultimately, I decided to whip stitch together the legs of two stitches on either side of my steek line. Since I intended to pick up stitches for my button band very near the edge of my steek, I wanted to feel comfortable that those stitches were securely held together. Things were still a little shaky, but I managed to pick-up and knit button bands on both edges without too much fuss. I also steeked the armholes of the sweater; those went a lot more smoothly, since I didn't have the same pattern interference to worry about. I'm not completely thrilled with my finished product. I would like to redo the shoulder join to create a wider neckline. As it is, the neckline makes it too tight to wear this sweater closed. Because of this, I skipped buttons entirely. I think there's been enough time and distance from this project that I can safely return without frustration.
Liz and Meg each had their own issues with this project. Liz managed to power through. Isn't her red sweater the absolute cutest!? I think I'm telling her how much better I like her version than mine in the above photo.
Liz fought with her floats throughout knitting this jumper. We strongly believe that the yarn is to blame. The yarn is a blend, not a 100% wool, and it doesn't have the same 'grip'. Liz ended up having to manually tighten and tie-off many of her floats after she'd finished knitting. In the end, it worked out. Meg on the other hand... well, she's a smart lady.
Early on, Meg had a serious heart to heart with her sweater. Things weren't working out. Meg decided to decided to discard this project. I think Meg made a great choice. This sweater wasn't at all the happy fun knit she'd hoped it would be, and rather than try to bluff her way through, she knew when to fold. Meg did say that she plans to revisit this pattern someday. In the meantime, Liz had an ace up her sleeve. She surprised Meg with a bridge sweater during our photo shoot! HA!
This sweater wasn't anyone's biggest success, but I think we all learned something new during the course of this project, which is a victory in itself.