If you haven't met Ann at Shim Farm yet, take yourself over for a visit. She lives on a beautiful rural property in Quebec, has a wicked sense of humour, and is the most expert knitter I (virtually) know. Just have a look at her Saga sweater, for a start.
Ann's beautiful sweaters were what prompted me to pick up my knitting needles after a long hiatus. I was never an expert knitter, but a long time ago I did manage a couple of Lopi sweaters knit in the round, and I seem to remember spending one long winter in my university days knitting mittens as a fund raiser for a disarmament group.
But mostly my needles have been buried away in a cardboard box in the storage room. Until I met Ann, that is.
So last summer I dug out my needles and learned to cable knit, and at Ann's recommendation I ordered a bunch of Lopi wool direct from the manufacturer in Iceland. (Man, what a deal!) But I couldn't get started on a sweater: I couldn't find the perfect pattern, and I worried about it turning out the wrong size. But again, at Ann's urging, I got off my butt and got started. (Are you getting the idea this sweater wouldn't have seen the light of day without Ann? You're correct!)
The pattern is the Iounn cardigan by Ragga Eiricksdottir with a major tweak: I liked the pattern, but my heart belonged to this little sweater and so I adapted the pattern to incorporate this design. That was one of the things I learned with this project. Another was how to use short rows for shaping: the cardigan has short rows through the upper back which makes the neck come up higher in the back, which I like, and it also has short rows at the elbows to give a little more fullness there so they don't get worn out.
But the biggest thing I learned was how to use a steek to knit in the round (which is easier than back and forth). Once it's done you do the scariest thing imaginable: you cut it open to make a cardigan. (That's why they call it a stEEEEK!) It was nerve racking but it worked. And then the hard part was figuring out how to finish the front edges. The pattern was a little vague in that regard, and to complicate things further I knew I wanted buttons but I had never done a button band before. But thanks to the all the kind people who post how-to videos on You Tube, I managed to sort out something I'm pretty happy with.
Of course I've finished it just in time for the weather to be too warm to wear it...