There's a Jodie Gordon Lucas design I have wanted to knit for ages, but it's a daunting project. I cast it on last summer and made one shoulder + sleeve, but it sat in a project bag all winter because I thought I had to graft in pattern to finish the cuff. When I pulled it out again last month I realized that it was plain vanilla stockinette grafting, a 20-minute task at the outside. I knocked it out and cast on the second shoulder.
I suppose it's inevitable that a laceweight sweater will be A Project, but this one is a Really For Real Super-Gigunda Project. (Huh, spellcheck balks at laceweight but passes meekly by super-gigunda. Go figure.) The pattern is 11 pages long, with 5 separate lace charts. There is grafting in pattern all over the place. For the non-knitters, if you have not already gone skipping away to read about something more interesting like drying paint, that's hardcore. The construction is different from anything I've ever made before: first you make yourself a suspender, and then you knit a little jutting bridge out from one side of the suspender, and then you graft your bridge (in pattern!) to the far side of the suspender to make an underarm. After you unbend your brain, you pick up stitches from the underarm piece and knit yourself a sleeve. Here, look:
That represents a lot of hours of my life right there. (It will be prettier once I block it. Lace always looks like a crumpled heap of nothing in particular before you block it. It will be considerably longer once I block it as well, because it's alpaca yarn. Alpaca grows like nobody's business.)
Today I was planning to graft my underarm bridge on the other side, but I discovered that I did not follow the pattern when I made last summer's underarm bridge. I am trying to remember: did I think it was a good idea to make a shorter bridge? Was I so focused on GRAFTING IN PATTERN FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER that I hyperventilated and forgot how to count to 29? I think the answer is probably B.
At first I thought I might just leave one underarm bridge longer than the other. No one is ever going to walk up to me and say, "Please, may I count the rows in your underarm bridge?" And unpicking rows in laceweight alpaca is not my favorite task. I thought at first I'd rather live with a minor asymmetry, but I think I've changed my mind.
The thing I can't quite predict, the uncertainty that's making me a little reluctant to proceed, is how to optimize fit for a sweater with such an unusual construction. I am still wondering if I should have opted for the second size instead of the first. (I am still having the same problem I always have with sweater fit.) (Oh, goodness, look at baby Stella in that old post!) I don't know if you can see the brighter yarn at the edge of the shoulder/sleeve piece, but it's a provisional cast-on that I will unpick later. Because it's a crochet chain, it doesn't have the same amount of give as the knitted fabric, making it harder to estimate how the fabric will lie once the crochet chain is out of the picture. I can't quite tell if I am going to need more coverage. I could conceivably make the turtle lapel a little wider, (conceivably) (maybe) (with a shot of vodka under my belt except that would probably be a bad idea given the demands of this pattern) but the prospect of modifying this particular complicated pattern makes me nervous.
You know, maybe I should just email the designer. We've been on an email list together for years and years now, and if I say, "Jodie, what would you suggest that a busty person with skinny arms do about making her Tortuga fit nicely?" she will probably have good ideas for me. I'm sure you can't wait for me to report back.