According to my notebook, I started knitting Bute in August 2012. I finally finished yesterday. It is a strange project: I certainly did not spend 18 months working on this cardigan and the result bears very little resemblance to what I had in my head when I started out. First the facts:
Pattern: Bute by Lisa Richardson from Rowan Magazine 52.
Needles: 3.25mm and 4mm.
Modifications: I started out by changing the colours. I do not suit the autumnal colours of the original nor do I like the blue/yellow feel of the men's version (it's a bit too Swedish flag, really). I went down a size having tried on a shop sample. Then I chopped off a repeat of the body. I omitted the reverse sticking stitch on the shoulders.
Verdict: I loved knitting this (except when I had to reknit the front due to my own sizing mistake). I loved putting it together. I am just not sure it suits me.
Firstly, I should have gone down to size S(!) despite being on-gauge. The garment is very generously sized and it is much too big on me. Look at how the sleeve billows around my lower arm in the photo. Part of the problem is that I have lost weight since I began knitting the cardigan, but I have not lost that much weight.
I have had to chop off two inches on the shoulders - the original pattern has a mild drop-shoulder effect but the shoulders were halfway down my upper arms. I am so very glad I chopped off a repeat on the body as it would have been more like a coat than a cardigan. I hope no one will ask to look at the shoulder seams after my vaguely botched surgery session with first an overlocker (which seemed like a good idea at the time) and then a crochet hook.
The sleeves are superlong too - not quite to schematic and I wish I had twigged this beforehand so I could have added a thumb hole!
Secondly, I have since learned valuable lessons about knitting garments with shape. I am a pesky hourglass shape which means I need garments to nip in at my waist or I'll drown. The Bute pattern is not to blame for my lack of self-awareness - it is just a shame that I feel a bit frumpy and enormous in the garment.
Thirdly, I do love how warm this is. I have not been cold once since I started wearing this. I may need to knit myself a fair-isle onesie in Rowan Felted Tweed (okay, maybe not) or maybe a pair of fair-isle socks (more likely). Luckily my mate Jem Weston has a pattern for a pair of very fetching fair-isle socks in the same magazines and I might make my remnants stretch for that. Hmmmm..
Lessons learned: if you try on a shop sample size XS and it's almost perfect, disregard the voices in your head and go for size S (even if you haven't been size S since primary school).
I really enjoyed knitting the "peerie" patterns and I can see myself using the stitch patterns in another project - but this time with waist-shaping.
And can I knit everything in Felted Tweed from now on? It is my new favourite yarn (fact: this is my sixth FT project in a row).