Cropped sweaters and funky cables

Just stopped in at Barneys to check out their sale, and I noticed that (like everywhere else this year) they have SO many cropped sweaters, from barely-boob-covering to navel-grazing.  It's a more flattering look than one might think, layered over a longer shirt, and--as a knitter--every time I see one, I can't help thinking how much faster it would knit up than something hip-length. Anyway, that reminds me of the Norah Gaughan pattern I spotted last spring in Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2005.  The page is looking beat-up because I carried it around with me for weeks; yes, knitting this "Open Rib/Cable Pullover" did take me awhile, although not just because of its length.  First of all, the pattern called for Dale of Norway "Svale" with a gauge of 22 sts per inch, but the yarn I wanted to use, Filatura di Crosa "Mirto," a cotton/rayon/linen blend, worked up to 26 sts per inch--the finest yarn I had used for a project so far.  The gauge difference translated to a difference in size of about 1 1/2 inches for every 10 inches of circumference, so I chose a size with that in mind, and got started on one of the sleeves. This was also my first try at using a chart (other than for multiple-color patterns), and once I got into it, I loved it.  I found it much easier to see where the pattern was going than when following written directions.  Here's a close-up of the cable panel, which is gorgeous.  It uses a cool 12 st crossover (6/6) which--believe me--is about as many stitches as you can cross without making yourself cross-eyed.  I did drop one stitch during the cross, early on, and even when I realized on the next row that I was one stitch short, I couldn't find the missing stitch within the crossover!  I thought maybe I just k2tog by accident, so I just inc 1 and kept going, but several inches later, I saw the dropped stitch starting to show.  Rather than frog, I just used a short piece of yarn to anchor the stitch to the wrong side of the crossover, so it couldn't unravel further.  Another cool thing about this cable is that the yos used to create the eyelets fall between a purl and a knit stitch, so you just act as if you forgot to move the yarn under the needle from the front to the back of the work, and there you are--super-quick yo.  Even so, this sweater took me a couple of months to finish, and if you compare the photo below to the magazine photo above, you may see another reason why:  I changed the sleeves from raglan to set-in.  The more I looked at the top photo, the more I realized that I didn't want a slipping-off-the- shoulders sort of sweater, where I would always be pulling it up, or having to wear the loathsome strapless bra, or ruin the line with a camisole.  At first I thought I would just continue the raglan shaping and raise the entire neckline.  With one minor setback (after several rows, I caught an error in the directions which had me making the raglan decreases slanted in the wrong direction) I completed the sweater this way, neck ribbing and all, but this just didn't look very good; the raglan seams are more vertical than most, and the angle where the sleeves joined the body wasn't attractive with the raglan seam extended; plus, the ribbing didn't match up.  So I frogged back to the armhole shaping and worked set-in sleeves instead, Sweater Wizard ( being a big help with the sleeve cap shaping.  This worked much better with the rib motif. On a satisfaction scale of 1 to 10, I would have to rate this a 6 or 7 (worn it a few times), compared to my AV sweater, which gets about a 3 (hop into the frog pond).  Why only a 6 or 7? Problem #1 is visible:  slight bra show-through, which isn't so terrible; I just have to wear the right bra (which I am not in this photo).  Problem #2 (also visible!):  the color is brighter on me than I expected from seeing the yarn in ball form or on the needles.  Problem #3 (also visible): the ribbing expands horizontally along the shoulders, so even though I backstitched the shoulder seams in an attempt to make them nonstretchy, they still tend to sag off my shoulders.  If I had wanted a drop shoulder, I would have knit one.  Problem #4 (not visible from these photos):  the back hikes up slightly, which makes me think I should just suck it up, unravel a few seams, and make the back a little longer.  And the shoulders narrower.  Why don't I?  I just don't feel like it.  Know what I mean?

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