I shouldn’t have messed with perfection, but I had an idea I just had to try. The result is cute but not nearly as flattering on me as the original FLS with its sweet A-line shape and it’s great belled sleeves.
– converted from cardigan to pullover by working in the round, which then created a placket neck – I worked the pattern as written until I got to the part where I wanted to start the lace. Then I overlapped the front and did something like a three-needle bind-off except that I didn’t bind off, I just kept knitting. (I don’t know what the name is for what I did – I’ve never done it before or seen directions for it – so if anyone knows the proper name for the technique, let me know, okay?). What I mean is, instead of knitting into one stitch at a time, I knit into two stitches – one in front, one behind it – which had the effect of binding the front edges in an overlap. Then from there I worked the lace in the round, which made for a SUPER-quick knit. I did this sweater in 5 days.
– In making the sleeves shorter I needed to make sure they didn’t flare out way too much. So I worked some decreases before working the garter border; this created a sort of fluttery look to the sleeve. I worked a smaller garter border for the sleeve than for the waist because I felt like the sleeve needed to be a little more “delicate” at this length.
– I added a crochet border to the placket part. Frankly, I should go back and do this to my original FLS, because my garter edge leaves something to be desired.
When I first started working this, I thought I was going to button the top (I was still working out exactly how I wanted this to look), so I created two buttonholes, which I then had to sort of sew up when I realized I wasn’t going to do buttons. (At first I sewed buttons over them, but it didn’t look right). You can see that it doesn’t look great, but I think in real life it isn’t that obvious.
I spent a long time trying to figure out what sort of skirt would look right with my pullover. I wanted something with sort of a 50s feel but could never find a pattern that matched what I was seeing in my head, and I simply didn’t have the time to experiment with designing my own. In the end I went with this very simple elastic-waist 6-gore skirt, Simplicity 4138. At first I made one in a kind of light lime green but decided I needed a simpler look for the sweater. So this is a white fabric with tiny white flowers on it.
I usually prefer the fit of a zippered skirt but I decided to go as simple as possible this time, especially since the waist wouldn’t be showing. And WOW there is nothing simpler than an elastic-waist skirt. I put this whole thing together in less than an afternoon, from cutting to hem. Only then I had to go back and re-do the hem because in my long sewing hiatus I had forgotten how to do a curved hem. I will be making this pattern again and again. (It has multiple very cute variations as well. I made the simplest – view F).
Here’s the whole ensemble together. You can see that this isn’t the most flattering sweater on me. It clings at the waist – exactly where I don’t need clinging – whereas the original swung at the waist. I wasn’t sure what length to do the sleeves and feel a little meh about what I ended up with. Longer didn’t feel right but I don’t ever feel I can pull off cap sleeves either. And I wanted to make them long enough to show the lace, too.
I went with blue and white because there were a couple of young men I was trying to coordinate with.
Of course I completely failed to get a picture of the three of us together, or one of our whole family. I was too busy celebrating and have a good day to worry about it though. But I thought they were mighty dapper. Saddle shoes+argyle is just always a win.
By the way, before I shared the mods I made to the February Lady Sweater, I got permission from the designer, Pamela Wynne, of Flint Knits. Pam was generous enough to share this design for free with the knitting world, and it is the most-knit sweater on Ravelry (for good reason!). But some people have taken advantage of her generosity for their own profit. Did you know that even when a pattern is free, there are copyright restrictions? Pam has stated hers clearly on the pattern.
Some LYSes (a lot, actually), have taken her hard work without credit and used it to make money. She has written about it eloquently here. Read through the comments, too. I have to say that reading the post and some of the really ridiculous comments (there were just a few – the vast majority supported what Pam had to say) made me sick and angry at people’s attitudes and practices. But mostly I came away from that post with a sense of pride in my fellow knitters, especially in Pam, Ashley, and Maryse, who just completely inspire me with their brilliance, articulation, and wit. Please take a moment to read everything and then spread the word: STEALING IS NOT COOL. And using someone else’s free gift for personal profit without permission is stealing.
And after you’ve spread the word, consider doing something else. If you have ever knit a February Lady Sweater, or are knitting one now, or are planning to knit one, consider making a donation to Pam. I didn’t realize there was a “donate” button on her free patterns page until reading through the comments on her post, and I’ve gotten so much enjoyment of her pattern that I went straightway and made a donation. What is the pattern worth to you? Individual patterns by indie designers usually run $6-10. Pam is not asking for payment or actively trying to get donations. I just think it’s a good thing to do. And it made me feel better in the face of greedy and shady practices to take some positive action, no matter how small. It was my little way to take a stand. I remain grateful for Pam and others like her who gift the knitworld not only with their talent but also with their humor and smarts.
And next time (and I’m sure there will be one), I’m going to knit the February Lady Sweater exactly as written!