I was very, very good and swatched with 3 different needle sizes. I even blocked the swatches. To my surprise, I saw NO change in gauge after blocking. I guess the wool keeps the alpaca in line (alpaca is known to grow quite a lot and I expected this yarn to change gauge, too). This sweater is knit in one piece, but the construction is a bit tricky. So far, so good. Here is the back lace piece almost done (this panel is only 8” long and it runs across the upper back of the sweater): Note that the bottom edge is sporting a provisional cast-on – those stitches will be picked up later to knit downward on the sweater.
Next, a small section was cast on (again, provisionally) and attached to the top left of the back. It is in the process of becoming the neck band and the top of the left front. It doesn’t look too sweater-y at this point, does it?
So far I think I’m doing fine with the pattern. It’s graded “advanced beginner” but I think it’s a fairly advanced intermediate, if not downright advanced. The lace pattern is a simple little 8 row repeat, but at times you have to read the wrong side rows beginning in the middle of the chart (depending on what size you’re making). If you are new to reading charts in the first place, this would totally blow your mind. And the provisional cast-on wasn’t something I had encountered yet as an advanced beginner. Then again, I was mired in socks…
I’m proceeding slowly and carefully, reading and re-reading every step in hopes of staying on track.
Anyway, so far, so good. As usual, I’m amazed at how quickly the fabric can grow when you use something thicker than sock yarn. I hope to wear this yet this winter. There shouldn’t be much, if any, finishing to slow me down at the end. Not even buttons!