I have been knitting. I just haven't been blogging about it. The truth is, I was so disappointed with the way Autumn Leaves turned out that I haven't been able to bring myself to take FO shots. It fits fine. I just don't like it. Eventually I will bite the bullet and post pictures. In the meantime, I have been soothing myself with alpaca.
This is the body of Amanda (Ravelry link), from A Fine Fleece. The yarn is Reynolds Andean Alpaca Regal in mallard heather. The color is a bit darker and maybe a bit greener than in this picture. It's definitely not as bright as the picture suggests. My little point and shoot camera and I don't agree when it comes to color. This is as close as I could get.
I love this yarn (and the fact that I got it for less than half of retail from a destasher doesn't hurt). I have a long-established alpaca fetish in the first place, but this is especially nice. It is a heavy worsted/chunky weight, and it's spun (I think) a bit more firmly than most alpaca, so it seems to hold its shape better than most alpaca. There is a bit of wool in it, which helps. My swatches didn't change gauge at all with washing, which is a rare occurrence with alpaca, in my experience. I do expect it will stretch lengthwise with wear, especially since the yarn is quite heavy. I am adjusting my lengths accordingly, so I hope I am correct.
This cardigan is worked bottom up in one piece, the sleeves are worked separately, then attached to the body, and then the upper body and shoulders are worked together with raglan shaping. I don't like this approach as much as a top down design, because it doesn't allow for trying on and knitting to the proper length, but at least there is only a tiny seam to work under each arm at the end. The sleeves on this are designed to be rolled up, so I'm not too worried about the sleeve length, but I have been waffling about the body length. I have finally concluded that I should make all my sweaters about two inches longer than I usually do. I seem to like winter sweaters best when they hit at the lower hip, which is longer than most are designed to do. I keep finding myself tugging at the bottoms of my sweaters, even though I always add length. So in recent days, I have been going back and lengthening some of my favorites. [This is not difficult to do, by the way, as long as you have the yarn. If the sweater was knitted top down, of course, it's simply a matter of picking out the bind off, joining the yarn, and working some extra rows. But even if it was done bottom up, you can cut off the ribbing, pick up the stitches, and knit extra rows downward, then re-knit the ribbing. Or you can just lengthen the ribbing. There are lots of options. Just because you've been wearing the sweater for a while is no reason not to go back and modify it if it's not quite right.]
I've finished the body of Amanda up to the armholes, although I made add another inch, and one sleeve is done and awaiting joining. The other sleeve is almost half done and will probably be finished today. I've been dragging this project out deliberately, because I'm enjoying it so much that I don't want it to end too soon. The pattern is really lovely and soothing to work. The textured stitch is much more interesting than plain stockinette, but not at all taxing--perfect for tv watching or supervising kids or sitting around with family.
Eventually, though, I'm going to have to finish it and move on. My queue (and my stash) are rapidly reaching disturbing proportions. And there's still that little matter of the plainblackstockintettesportweightcrewneckpullover. Sigh.