I finished this a while back and promised pictures, so here goes:
Pattern: Somewhat Cowl from Knit and Tonic
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk, Brick
Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 4
This may be the best fitting sweater I have knit to date. I list below Stupid Things I Did ("STID") so that others interested in this pattern may avoid my mistakes.
STID #1: When swatching, I found the yarn too slippery for my usual Options needles, so I pulled out the Needlemaster kit and found the aluminum needles just about right. Of course, when I started actually knitting the thing, I quickly grew tired of the Needlemaster joins and stiff cables and went skimpering back to my Options, and the slippery needles gave me a looser gauge.
STID #2: Like a good little knitter, and knowing that alpaca and silk can both grow when wet, I washed my swatch and took my stitch gauge from the washed swatch. Sure enough, it had grown. What I didn't do, not because I didn't think of it, but because I was too lazy to do it, was measure the difference in the row gauge and adjust my knitting for it. Therefore, when I completed the sweater and washed it, it was slightly larger around than I anticipated (see STID #1), but much longer. My carefully placed cowl now shows a little too much cleavage, and the whole thing is too long.
More STID include:
-Stitch markers? I don't need no stinkin' stitch markers! Wait, why aren't my increases lining up? [rip]
-Pattern says, "cast on x, pm, cast on x," and Carla casts on x and keeps going, only to wonder a few inches later why it seems a little small. [rip rip]
Notes on the yarn:
Knit and Tonic likes to say that bulky is as bulky does, but her figure is much different from mine. Drapey is not good for everyone. On some figures, such as mine, a yarn with some structure can make a world of difference as far as skimming over some lumps and bumps. I'd love to show you a picture of this sweater on, but I'd have to buy some sort of slimming camisole and learn Photoshop before I'd really consider it.
Further, the yarn just doesn't have enough body to keep that cowl standing up. The couple of times I've worn it, I've spent the entire day futzing with the collar trying to get it into that just right spot where it makes a cowl rather than a big U-neck while still maintaining a bit of modesty. I'd consider making this again in a worsted wool, with long sleeves.
And, lastly, be forewarned: this yarn bleeds! When I washed the swatch I made the mistake of drying it on one of my good white hand towels, and it left an orange outline. I had to rinse the sweater several times before the water was only tinged with orange rather than tinted, and then dried it on darker old towels. Because of this, I've since sent it to the dry cleaners. The wrinkles across the middle are from where they folded it over a hanger.
UPDATE: After writing this up and taking the photo, I decided to try on the sweater to see how it had fared from the dry cleaning -- and it FITS! The neckline is just about right, the short rows are back where they belong, and it hits at the hip again. Woo-hoo!!!
Anyone know where I can get one of those slimming camisoles?