Way back in November 2009 I started stalking Kate Davie's blog when she posted a beautiful new sweater and added that a pattern was being created. I might have started checking daily even though I know designers need time to grade, work out the kinks and get things test knit. It didn't matter, that sweater Must Be Mine!!
The pattern came out on Feb 28th, I tossed the stash, decided to use some navy felted tweed and knit like a women possessed. (If you a person who never highlights their size numbers...ahem me... then do it for this pattern. It makes you life soooo much easier)
As usual with felted tweed my lose knitting means to get gauge the needle size needs to be scaled down to size 3. My stitch gauge was still .25 off but I figured that the extra width would be a blessing with my currently expanding body. The sweater's main body and sleeves where all knit with size 3's. The neck and front bands knit with size 2's. However I learned the hard way that no matter how lose your gauge is an icord cast on is pretty tight. After casting on a few sleeves that would have only fit over a baby's hand I used the recommended size 7 needle and got the right size wrist circumference for me. If knitting your own you may want to check the sleeve length. Felted tweed always blocks out with extra length for me so I was not concerned when the sleeves were bracelet length pre-block. Post block my sleeve sat comfortably at my wrists, though I did to stretch them while wet. If you are working with yarn that will not grow much you may want to add a few extra inches to the sleeve length.
This was my first sweater with pockets and they did cause me some annoyance. Knitting the pockets is easy, you just pick up and knit from the bottom following the increase and decrease instructions. Seaming the sides onto the sweater was a pain in the ass. It took hours to get the sides even and then get both pockets to look the same. However the pockets are really the only fiddly bit and the only part that needs seaming. You don't even have to calculate button hole placement and the i-cord button holes where the easiest I've ever knit. (There does seem to be a pattern error under "Work I-cord edging." It says, "from rs.... starting at a point between the right front and back, begin to work i-cord bind off.... across the edge of the cardigan back and left front." If you need to work across the back to the left front you can't do this from the right side you, you need to be facing your wrong side. That's what I did and then made sure to do the i-cord cast off on my pockets from the wrong side.)
The instructions have you fold the pleats in the same direction across the neck. I noticed that other ravelry members switched the pleat direction at center back. Maybe it was a bad brain day but I tried and failed to do this on the size 36. Still it's a nice customization to keep in mind if you're interested in knitting this design yourself.
The only thing that I'm not fully satisfied with is my button selection. My local stores seemed to only have coordinating navy buttons in sizes too large for my already completed buttonholes. These wooden ones are pretty but always seem to clash with the cool colors of the rest of my wardrobe. I'll probably switch them out with some silver buttons in the future.
Concluding thoughts on this pattern and sweater.
The pattern is very well written and Kate made sure to include an instructional sheet on how to do all the cast on/casts off needed in the project. The style is the perfect combination of simplicity with "a twist". People love love love the neckline, I've had both knitters and non knitters comment upon it. (Non knitters are sad that they can't run to the store and buy one) The pockets totally redeemed themselves to me when I discovered they are deep enough to stash a pair of sunglasses or a set of keys. Overall the fit is very comfortable and the 5 button closure is great for this time of year when you need a little bit of extra warmth. This was an enjoyable sweater to knit, I'd recommend it to anyone.
Also should add the the designer Kate Davie suffered a stroke early in the year from a heart defect that she was not aware of. She has been blogging about her road to recovery with much good humor. I wish her all the best, she is a very talented designer and I'm sure Manu is not the last lovely design she shares with all of us.