Start: 31st January 2009
Finish: 10th October 2009
Needles: 4 mm / 80 cm Addi Lace and 4.5 mm / 60 cm Addi Turbos
Yarn: GGH "Cumba"; 42% new wool, 28% alpaca, 30% acrylic; Colour #001, dye lot #8072271; Used up 7 balls and a bit of the 8th ball in total
Pattern: "Portland" by Lisa Lloyd from the book "A Fine Fleece - Knitting with Handspun Yarns"
Modifications: Lengthened the sleeves and added back-neck shaping to the collar.
I have started Portland back at the end of January, aiming to finish it for my birthday at the beginning of March. As with a lot of my projects for myself, if I get bored with it, it will be put away. And so was the fate of Portland. Although I think I could blame on my exams, which had priority, of course.
Portland was a pleasure to knit. The cables are just plain gorgeous and complement each other very well.
For me, cables aren't that challenging to knit. Once you understand the principles of swapping the stitches around to create cables, the knitting is pretty logical. Besides, if you figured out the flow of each cable motifs and got them memorised, then knitting them will be a breeze.
The only problem I found with knitting different cable motifs on the same panel at the same time is when each cable motif turns at different points. With some, it's easy to keep track of where you are, but with others, I have to devise a system to keep track of each cable motif. Portland's motifs are pretty easy to keep track of and after a while, I didn't need to keep track of the motifs or use a row counter any more.
Portland was a very well written pattern with clear instructions and charts. The modifications I made were done only for the sweater to fit me well.
The first modification that I made was to lengthen the sleeves (a tip on how to lengthen the sleeves was even given in the pattern itself), since the sleeves without modification will end up being a 3/4 sleeve on me (a lot of the patterns in this book can be interchange with a few modifications to fit a man or a woman).
Another modification that I added to the pattern was to add a back shaping to the collar. I did this by binding off the stitches between the two front mitred stitches and continue knitting the neckband between the saddles and the back in double-moss stitch and continue making the mitre decreases until the back neck collar measures one centimetre more than the front collar piece, then I just bound off all stitches loosely. I did this so that the front and the back wouldn't look exactly the same (so that when I put the jumper on, I would know what's front and what's back) and so that my back neck doesn't feel so exposed.
I really love this jumper and the cable panels really is quite dramatic, especially to the eyes of non-knitters (I noticed that non-knitters are usually very impressed by even the simplest of cables). The garment make-up was simple, but very effective. The pattern was fun to knit and was interesting enough to keep the attention on the knitting.
The pattern writing is clear and precise with easy-to-read charts. If you have the first few edition of the book, make sure you check the errata for this book before knitting anything from the book though. There are quite a few erratas in there. (There used to be an online errata page, but I can't find it any more. Sorry.)
Now the only thing left is for the weather to turn just a bit colder than it is now and stay constant at that temperature, so that I can wear this jumper again. ;-)