Victory Sweater

Sarah's jumper close-upKeen-eyed observers who saw my last post may have spotted a finished object which I haven’t yet mentioned. Yes, I finished my Victory Sweater in time to wear it proudly on Yarn Shop Day. (Actually I was very glad to wear it as the day was chilly!) I must admit I’m delighted with how it’s turned out. It fits like a glove (a well-knitted glove of course) and the yarn (Blacker Swan Falkland’s Merino) is an absolute delight to wear against the skin. I had hoped to take some better photos in time for this post but having failed I’m making do with some selfies I took in the loo at work. You get the idea! Sarah's jumper cropped

Not being blessed with the 1940s siren style assets needed to rock an ultra-fitted vintage sweater I heavily modded the original pattern from 1945. I began with a wider welt and a shallower rib, thereby losing the need for the dramatic bust increases of the original. In fact my version has no waist shaping whatsoever. Instead I took advantage of the stretchy stitch pattern and opted for a minimal amount of ease which gives a figure-hugging shape without being clingy.

The most challenging part of rewriting this pattern was calculating the sleeve tops. To get your head around the science of sleeve tops – or armscye as I discovered they’re correctly called – takes a lot of brain power. It involves trigonometry! Looking at the sleeve heads above, nestled neatly into position in the armhole of my sweater, you might wonder what could be difficult, but believe me, visualising the correct shape for those decreases on a piece of flat knitting before you’ve sewn up the sides (which you can’t do until after you’ve inserted the sleeve head) is tricky. You need maths, and sometimes, as in this case, it doesn’t work out smoothly! Strictly speaking I’d made a mistake on the body, as I hadn’t created enough of a slope between the start and end of my armhole decreases, which meant that when I came to do my armscye I didn’t have enough rows for the number of decreases I needed. No way was I going to unravel the body, so I made the prudent decision to knit a couple of prototype sleeve caps to test out how to make them fit (effectively how to fudge them!) The first one was too baggy – still too many rows – so I reduced the row requirement with a thinner sleeve and a wider final cast-off, but still had to take the unconventional step of decreasing on every row. It’s not how it should be done but I think I got away with it!

Just a word about the yarn. Blacker Swan Falklands Merino is absolutely wonderful. Soft and bouncy, it’s a joy to knit with and amazingly comfortable to wear. I will definitely be knitting more sweaters in this, no question about it.

My Victory Sweater is ravelled here.

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