Oh, Cecilia, I had such great hopes.
I pre-ordered Essentially Feminine Knits because I was really impressed with the designs. It arrived earlier than the estimated delivery date, so I was really excited to get started! Generally, I really like the book. The patterns all seem pretty well written (of course, I’ve only done one pattern so far, so we’ll see how it goes in the future), and most of the designs are things I could see myself wearing, perhaps with some mods.
One of the big negatives about this book is (nearly) every pattern is knitted with a yarn that is either not available in North America or would be ridiculously expensive to order.
I wanted to knit Cecilia first since the lace design would be nice for summer, and I’m really liking dolman-shaped sweaters right now.
A few things went wrong, well, maybe not wrong, but definitely strange:
1. The pattern calls for size 7 needles for a finished S/M sweater. I had to increase to a size 9 to obtain gauge, which I felt was strange because usually my knitting is very loose and I have to go down a needle size or two.
2. The lace pattern was actually really fun to knit, but then I got to the “body” portion of the sweater, which is just plain stockinette stitch (st st). At this point, I had nearly 400 stitches on my needles, so knitting in st st was about the most boring thing I’ve ever done. The pattern called for nearly 1″ of st st after the lace, which I felt like would make the sweater really long, but my gauge was right on and the measurements were matching up with the pattern, so who was I to argue?
3. So, the “body” and “sleeves” ended at about my natural waist after all that st st-ing, at which point begins the ribbing. And here’s the major problem – I can barely move my arms. Unfortunate picture below.
4. I actually bought more yarn in terms of yardage than the pattern called for, but I still “ran out” in the sense that the ribbing was only a few inches instead of 5.5″ as called for in the pattern. But frankly, if I did have enough yarn to keep going, an additional 3″ would be too long on the sweater as it is now.
Otherwise, I really like the sweater. The lace is simply stunning. I tried to take a close up, but since I had to be my own photog today, I couldn’t get a shot that was in any way representative of the lace.
Final thought: I think I’m going to have to rip it out at least to near the bottom of the lace pattern so I can finish the st st earlier and make the rib longer. Hopefully, that will give me more arm movement.
I’m disappointed. I followed this pattern exactly as written, and sometimes you just have to have faith in the patterns as they are. I guess I should have followed my instinct and shortened the st st when I had the chance. I’ll update if/when I am able to fix Cecilia.