I just finished knitting this sweater and I LOVE it! The pattern is Neon by Joji Locatelli. The yarn is Madelinetosh DK Twist in color Mansfield Garden Party. If ever a pattern and yarn were meant for each other, this is it.
The yarn is so variegated that I really had no idea what I was going to make with it that wouldn’t end up looking like a pooled mess or clown barf. Then my new friends I met in Santa Cruz showed me all their Neon sweaters and I thought that I had found the solution. I did indeed!
Like all Madelinetosh (and most all hand dyed) yarns, there are differences in each skein. You can overcome this by alternating skeins as you knit (to mix up the color differences) but I really didn’t want to bother. What I did bother with, however, was making sure that where I changed skeins, the color differences were matched in the body and sleeves. You can see above where the colors kind of change, and they change at the same points in the body as in the sleeves. I weighed my skeins and used 60% for the body (knit in one piece) and 20% for each sleeve. Clever, no? These color differences are much more obvious in a photo than in real life.
Modifications I made to the pattern –
First, I didn’t make all the waist decreases. I skipped the last one. I’m short and I don’t have much of a waist, so skipping a decrease made perfect sense for my fit. I made 3 rounds of decreases and 3 rounds of increases.
Second, I did the bottom ribbing and the sleeve ribbing bind off using Jenny’s Amazingly Stretchy Bind off. I thought it needed to be really stretchy, and after washing and blocking it is indeed stretchy! Maybe this was overkill. I probably could have used just a normal bind off.
Third, my sleeves are shorter than the pattern states which I did by knitting fewer ribbing rows. I have short arms.
Fourth, and importantly, I knit my sleeves FLAT instead of in the round as the pattern states. She goes to great lengths to explain how to do this stitch pattern in the round, which is very fiddly and annoying. Why bother? Just knit them flat with an extra stitch either side for seam allowance and spend 10 minutes sewing them up at the end. Simple! No worry about gauge or anything. When I got to the cuffs, I did knit them in the round.
Fifth, I made a small ribbing neckline instead of the stockinette stitch in the pattern.
And finally, also importantly, I knit the neck ribbing and the front bands ribbing on needles TWO SIZES smaller than called for. I read on Ravelry that a lot of people found the bands floppy. Simple solution. Use smaller needles. Actually, every sweater I’ve ever knit that has ribbed bands calls for smaller needles for this part of the knitting. I don’t know why Joji choose to use the same size. Mine turned out great. Oh, and I also made 3 stitch button holes because my buttons were kind of big. Perfect.
I’m super happy with how this turned out. It fits perfectly and I’m sure to wear it all the time. I’m tempted to make another one!