My Bel Air Sweater
I recently finished knitting my first sweater using yarn that I had dyed. I knit the Bel Air sweater by Anne Hanson of Knitspot using almost 3 1/2 skeins of my Cash Sock in the Caribbean Waters colourway. I love her patterns because they are so well written.
To determine which size to knit, I looked at the detailed schematic that is included with this pattern as my first step knowing my measurements and how I wanted this sweater to fit. In the end, I decided that I would need to merge three different sizes together to get the sweater to fit the way I wanted. I chose the extra large size for the bottom portion of the sweater as I wanted some positive ease across my stomach and hips and the large size for the top portion as I wanted a little negative ease across my chest. For my sleeves, I chose the medium size as I wanted close-fitting sleeves and my arms are smaller than you would expect given my other measurements.
I knitted my sleeves first for two reasons: 1) sleeves make great gauge swatches and 2) this was the part that was most likely not fit properly.
As I knit the first sleeve, I determined that I had the right gauge and to verify that it would fit properly, I would periodically lace up the sleeve along the outside edge using a heavier yarn about every inch so I could try it on. I did make the sleeve a littler longer than the pattern called for.
For the body, I cast on for the extra large size and then I added 1/2 inch to the length before starting the body shaping (3/12 inches instead of 3 inches) to make my sweater a little longer. As I wanted to knit the large size for the top portion, I figured out that I needed to add more decreases to the body shaping in order that I could still add some increases as part of the body shaping to keep the hourglass shape and still end up with the correct number of stiches required for the large size. I decided to decrease down to 137 stitches (instead of 145 stitches) and I added the extra decreases in between every other scheduled decrease. I changed the increases to every 12th row instead of every eight rows and I did only 4 increase rows since that was all the increases I needed.
I did the medium armhole shaping with one extra decrease row and I slightly modified the shoulder shaping.
In the end, I was very happy with my sweater. With a little bit of math to combine parts of three different sizes, I got a sweater that fit me exactly the way I wanted. I have worn the sweater a few times already and I have gotten several complements on it every time.