She is done, and a successful knit. Without much thanks to the pattern, though. At least it was quick, only about a week to do (and that included knitting two left fronts).
Aside from knitting each front 2″ narrower, I also knitted the sleeves in stockinette with a lace panel down the center, rather than knitting them in plain reverse stockinette.
Modifications: Where to begin… After analyzing the schematic and the pattern photo, I realized that there was absolutely no way the cardigan was going to look like the photo when knitted in the smaller sizes, though it does seem to look pretty much like the photo when knitted in the larger sizes. A closer look at the pattern photo makes me sure that the body of the cardigan has been pulled back and pinned. I’m pretty sure that if knitted as indicated in the pattern, the cardigan would not drape open at the front for sizes S and XS unless modified, and some of the finished projects on Ravelry show exactly that. Not that it’s bad that way – it’s just not the look I wanted.
One person made the size small for the back, and XS for the fronts, which helped with the oversized front pieces. That looked like it turned out well, but it requires reworking the raglan decreases to make it work. Knitting the next smaller size might also have helped, but then the armscyes would have been smaller too, and it would have made the cardigan tighter across the back.
The biggest problem with this pattern is that the neckline is exactly the same for all sizes (from 32″ to 52″). The only change to the body between sizes are the number of stitches at the side seams, and the shaping of the armscyes. For the smaller sizes, the neckline is just too big, and most of the people had to pick up far fewer stitches than the pattern called for in order to make it work.
I knitted the back piece exactly as indicated in the pattern. Then I knit the left front (again, just as indicated in the pattern), and knitted one sleeve. After pinning all of the pieces together, it confirmed my thoughts about the front. I decided that I didn’t really want to change the back piece or the sleeve, since they seemed fine – I just needed fronts that weren’t as big, and smaller neckline.
To resolve the problem, I eliminated one pattern repeat of the lace. I removed the repeat that was closest to the center, leaving the side seam stitches and armscye shaping as in the pattern. I shaped the neckline just as it would have been shaped from that point. (Basically, it was as if I just cut off 2″ of the original front piece at the center front.) Eliminating one pattern repeat was actually a little more than 2″, so I added one extra purl stitch on each side of the remaining two lace repeats. I knit the right front with my new “pattern”, and it looked fine, so then I reknit the left front. I did make an unintentional modification to the lace pattern – when I charted up my new plan for the right front, I charted the lace pattern as if it were the left front and didn’t notice until I was done knitting it. It looked fine, though, so I just followed the lace pattern for the right front when I knitted the left front.
Although I modified the sleeves to add the lace panel, I didn’t make any modifications to them for size, and they turned out just right.
The pattern called for using US size 10 needles for the body, and US 8 for the ribbing. I used US 9 for the ribbing on the hem and sleeve cuffs by mistake – I thought they were my 8’s, but they worked out fine anyway. For the neckline, I did use the US 8’s, and I picked up the stitches for the neckline at the rate of approximately 4 for 5 stitches, adjusting to make a multiple of 4 stitches + 2. I only made one buttonhole instead of two.
In the end, I was pleased with how it turned out, and it did come out pretty much how I envisioned it.
The Cuzco yarn seems quite nice, but as should be expected, is very warm since it’s a bulky alpaca/wool blend. This will probably be mostly an outdoor sweater for cool weather.