Knitting this sweater was a major slog. I worked on it intermittently for nearly a year, throwing it aside when I was too frustrated or bored with it to even look at it and picking it up in fits when I could convince myself that it was worth finishing.
The idea for this particular sweater came after the yarn refused to work with two different patterns. I decided if it wouldn’t play well with a pattern, I’d just improvise a plain, no frills v-neck pullover. I wanted something similar to my Blank Canvas sweater but in a dark neutral that I’d be more likely to wear on a regular basis.
Since I had extensive notes on the way I had worked the shaping on my Blank Canvas, knitting the body of this pullover went smoothly and pretty quickly, given that it’s knit up in a fingering weight yarn (Cascade 220 Fingering in Jet, more specifically). It’s when it came time to work the sleeves that things took a hard turn towards the miserably tedious and frustrating.
My first plan was to work a seamless, top-down sleeve shaped with short rows, which is the same sleeve method used in the Grandpa cardigan I finished around the time I began this sweater. But the short row sleeve caps looked terrible, so after trying twice to get it right, I ripped it out completely and decided to do a regular seamed, set-in sleeve. I used an armscye calculator to help me figure out how to work the sleeve cap shaping and decided I would knit full length sleeves with a deep ribbed cuff.
So I knit up the first sleeve which seemed to take forever, especially since the cuff ribbing was never-ending. And when I got to the end of the sleeve, I realized that the sleeve was about 2” too long and, more importantly, there was no way that I had enough yarn for two full-length sleeves. So I ripped out the entire first sleeve (which at that point represented endless hours of joyless, painful knitting) and reengineered my sleeve plans to give me ¾ sleeves. My third sleeve plan was, mercifully, a charm but the knitting still took forever—mostly because I had started to actively hate this sweater project and was alternating between knitting a bit and thinking very seriously about ripping the whole thing out.
I finally finished the second sleeve in early August. It took me another month to stomach picking it up again to knit the neckband, sew in the sleeves, and weave in the ends. But once I put it on, all the hate and resentment was gone. I love this sweater. The fit is relaxed and casual, it’s soft and lightweight, the neckline is just where I wanted it, the yarn goes with pretty much every other piece of clothing I own, and this particular shade of charcoal/soft black is my favorite. I will wear this sweater all the damn time.
But I will not be improvising a super basic, fingering weight pullover again any time soon. Or ever.