Sweater, that is. Our hybrid car is no longer new, I’m afraid. But we like it anyway. Hopefully we’ll like the hybrid sweater when it’s no longer new, too.

This sweater certainly took enough time to make that I’d like to see it around for a long time to come. I finished the body on Friday, obsessed about the fact that the sleeves might really be too long (after I obsessed while knitting them that they would be too short, of course), decided to keep them the length they were before. It’s generally better not to give in to second thoughts while making up, I think. It’s like that exam where you change the answer at the last minute and lose 20 points. I don’t change my answers at the last minute anymore, nor do I make major design alterations in the throes of doubt that sometimes accompany finishing a project.

On Saturday, I steeked. Actually, the steeking took no time at all. A few hearty snips with the scissors, and the steek was done. It was the part before and after that took forever. I decided not to sew these steeks. I know, it probably sounds nuts on my first attempt to skip the machine sewing step. But I didn’t want the bulky seams. This is a really heavy yarn, and I didn’t want to end up with lumps at the shoulders. So, I steeked without seams.

I didn’t want to do all of the grafting before finishing the raw steek ends, so I just grafted the sleeves on first. I realized when I sat down to do the grafting that I’ve never seen it done with the two pieces at 90 degrees to one another. I looked online for a tutorial, but came up empty. I checked my knitting books. Nothing. I had to admit that I had no idea what I was doing, really. But then, I’ve never been one to let that stop me. So, I just made it up. And I think it came out pretty well.

I really like grafting. Especially when it’s not in lace weight. It just makes a lot of intuitive sense to me. You just follow the path of the yarn, back and forth and forth and back, and all of a sudden you have a seam. It’s like magic. And this yarn is wonderful to work with. I can’t say enough about Cascade Eco Wool. It’s soft, it’s warm, it’s gorgeous, and it’s cheap…can you ask for more?

Once the grafting was done, I cut the steeks. And then came the fun part. When you want to steek and not leave a seam, you need to weave in all the ends. All the ends. In this case, there were about 250 ends in the sleeves and neck alone (not to mention the colorwork, cast on, and joining ends). That’s a lot of weaving. I finished the essential ones late Saturday night, and had Branden try it on. And it. didn’t. fit.

That’s right; the body was too big in proportion to the sleeves that were too tight. It just didn’t hang right. Adjustments would need to be made. Hair would need to be torn, breasts beaten, wailing would ensue. But it was 11 pm, and I’d already spent almost all day on it, so we decided to leave it for morning, despite the urge to cut it all up into little bits and throw the whole thing out the window for the little birds whose nest is in our shrub. (That makes me sound like a much more active participant in that discussion than I probably was…it was probably more like Branden convincing the crazed wife to put down the scissors and wait until morning…)

As usually happens in such cases, it wasn’t quite as bad as I’d feared the next morning, but it was still true that the sleeves were too tight, which made the body look huge. It’s very unflattering to have a huge, bell-shaped, crooked sweater body and skin-tight, spindly little arms. Doesn’t do much for the masculine form. I don’t think it would do much for any form. Not to mention the extra 4 inches that seemed to spring up in the back when the sleeves sat so high on the biceps. Branden bravely said he thought it was fine. He has a knack for not minding lumps and bumps when marital bliss is on the line. He is a wise man.

Branden might be able to ignore the sweater’s lack of grace, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t have let him out of the house wearing it, and I knew it. But, I was going to give it one last chance. The swatching had to count for something, right? So, yesterday I blocked it. And, miraculously, it has recovered. Thankfully, the colorwork just needed a little tugging into place, and you’d never know that there had been heartbreak over the fit. (Ok, there was more than a little bit of tugging. I wasn’t feeling kind and gentle. But it cooperated anyway.) It’s still a little bit large in the body, but as soon as the sleeves loosened up a bit, the extra awkwardness of the shoulders disappeared. This is a very good thing. I had already outlined my plans for side seams and more steeking surgery, and it wasn’t going to be pretty. That would have been a lot more ends. Fortunately, those plans have now been scrapped, and the sweater is officially done. And here it is:

I didn’t intend for the cable section to stretch at the top like that, but I really like the fact that it does. The v-shape broadens the shoulders a bit. And, I must say, I think the model is rather cute, too. (When he’s not busy making camera faces!)

The sleeves are now proportional to the rest of the body. There is even some ease in the armpits.

I love cables.

The three-needle bind off makes a pretty pattern on the shoulder seam.

I like the subtle colorwork.

It looks pretty comfortable (and, I am assured, is quite warm)

The back no longer bunches up.

And the cat approves.

Overall, I think this one’s a keeper.