Clear my eyes, make me wise

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Pattern: Raspberry Layers by Carol Feller (Rav link)
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky (100% baby alpaca), colorway 42 Red
Needles: U.S. 11 Harmony wood Options 36″ circulars (knit flat)

Everything about this sweater was fated.

For the last six months, ever since I set up my wall cube unit to hold my yarn stash, I’ve periodically brushed up against the softest yarn I own, this bulky alpaca. It felt like spun silk, like cotton candy. It was light as a cloud. It was stacked in the front of the bulky yarn shelf, and so every time I squeezed past it to grab a circular cable off the wall or to work on my Singer Featherweight, a hank or two fell softly to the ground, with the barest, snowlike “thwmp.”

While I was digging out my Blackstone Tweed to start work on the DROPS waistcoat, I knocked it over again. And when I picked it up, I made a promise to myself: That’s next.

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Now to find a pattern. Originally I had earmarked this yarn for a large wrap, but such a thing didn’t seem particularly practical with the winter as mild as it had been. I advanced-pattern-searched through pages and pages of patterns for bulky yarn that take less than 750 yards. The “bulky” part seemed destined to defeat me. As much as I am attracted to the big scale of chunky knits, I am not a petite person, and I dreaded adding bulky to my already generously proportioned torso.

And then I saw a pattern that didn’t look bulky at all. A vest with cap sleeves, lengthened past the hips and gently flaring at the edge. I examined the sizing and the yardage, and realized that I had plenty of yarn. Short-sleeved sweaters had worked out very well for me in my last few outings, and it seemed like the perfect solution for this not-very-cold season. The capper? Although the pattern cost money, it turned out I had already saved it to my Ravelry library at some earlier date when it was free. Clearly, this was meant to be.

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The construction is so clever that I had to tamp down my urge to understand what part I was knitting and just trust the designer to lead me right. It’s knit sideways starting at the center back and right front edge and going to the right armscye, then folded over at the shoulder and seamed up to the underarm. Then undo the provisional cast-on at the back and start there and at the left front, going toward the left armscye before folding the front down to seam up the left side. A few short rows to shape the sleeve caps, a minimal collar to be picked up and knit, and you’re done. The front bands, including the buttonholes, are integrated as you begin each side and proceed toward the side seams.

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But what makes this such a surprisingly flattering piece is the sweep and length. Short rows create graceful flares on both back and front panels. Nothing about the way it hangs or clings says “bulky”; only the size of the stitches gives it away.

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Fate brought us together. I can’t imagine loving it more.

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