Acer: the final chapter in an epic tale of a girl and her cardigan

Acer cardigan as knitted by Karen Templer / Fringe Association

Raise your hand if you thought I’d never finish knitting this Acer. (It’s ok — even my hand is half-raised.) Now keep it up if you formed the impression I wasn’t enjoying it. Anyone? It’s perfectly understandable, what with my having spent most of eleven months neglecting it, but really, nothing could be further from the truth.

I first chose this pattern in part because I wanted to make myself seam something, and this has a body that’s knitted in one piece with separate sleeves seamed on at the end. It didn’t seem like a daunting project at all — I’d knitted more complicated lace patterns than this, although not worked flat; had picked up stitches for enough collars that nailing this one was no problem at all. (Would you pause for a second on that last pic and look at how perfectly symmetrical this neck is?) I was well-versed in figuring out the right ratio when picking up stitches along a selvedge, as for the button bands, and had read and imagined various buttonholes, without having actually knitted one. But somehow, despite all that, doing it all in concert for this particular outcome was like taking a really enjoyable master class. I loved every step of it: the portability of those standalone sleeves, working the very simple and pleasurable (easily memorized) charted stitches, becoming an ace at laddering back to fix mistakes, blocking the body and seeing the lace spread out, steaming the button bands and collar as each one got added. Even seaming on those sleeves! It seemingly didn’t teach me much that was new, but because it’s not a hand-holdy pattern — it assumes you know what you’re doing —  it put my skills to the test in a progressive manner. And passing that test — especially solving the fun little puzzle of the exact right neck decreases, row by row, based on where I happened to be in the chart — increased my confidence as a knitter tenfold.

But screw all that — have you seen the sweater I got out of it?! At one point, I was posting a progress shot in Instagram and I got a little self-conscious about everyone applauding my efforts. One very kind person complimented me on my determination to finish, and I said it was sad that I’d made it seem like some epic thing simply by not working on it for months on end. But once the sleeves were on, I held it up to show my friend Leigh and her eyes got huge, and she gulped, and she said to me: “It’s EPIC.” And I realized she’s right. It IS epic! And I’m super proud of it.

Acer cardigan as knitted by Karen Templer / Fringe Association

This is my fifth or sixth (finished) sweater, but it’s the first one that feels like a Real Sweater, somehow. I am completely smitten with it, even though I wish I’d done the button bands differently. I’m super judgy about button bands, not gonna lie, and this isn’t my favorite kind. I like the look of them, but think horizontal ribbing like this is often too flimsy, and to me nothing ruins a sweater like a gaping button band, all pulled into scallops. I’m not sure why I wound up doing it this way, after swearing all along I was going to do a 1×1 vertical band. But I did, and because I was concerned about the stability of it (even though most or all of the Acers I have bookmarked look perfectly fine!) I used seven buttons instead of six, which doesn’t quite quell my neurosis. So I might back the bands with ribbon at some point. Regardless, I’m wearing this forever, and can hardly wait for the first time someone asks me if I made it.


Pattern: Acer by Amy Christoffers
Yarn: Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed, in Nest
Buttons: from Fringe Supply Co.

For gory details, minor modifications and additional pics check it out at Ravelry. And thank you to every single person who cheered me on, and to Amy for creating such a fantastic pattern.

Acer cardigan as knitted by Karen Templer / Fringe Association

58 thoughts on “Acer: the final chapter in an epic tale of a girl and her cardigan

  1. Hey, you did it and it looks gorgeous on you!
    I plan on casting on my own Acer, but first I must finish this blanket I am working on before the weather heats up.

  2. Bravo! Its gorgeous! Nothing motivates me to get knitting like a finished sweater (especially a lovely one like this!)

  3. Congratulations, Karen! Impeccable stitch work, and the BT yarn couldn’t be more perfect for this cardigan. I’ve been following Fringe Association since shortly after you cast on Acer, when I was still a little baby knitter (learned last January). Now I’m an all-grown-up, full-time-obsessed knitter, and I read your blog daily. :)

  4. Oh My Knitting Goddessses, Karen! Its stunning! Thank you for the closeups so that we can really see those beautiful stitches and how the pattern lays out, how the yarn looks over all. For some reason I just have to keep looking at the button bands and collar, their construction – how … satisfying!

  5. What a beautiful cardi! Hooray on your completion and perseverance!!! The pay off – it IS yours forever =D

  6. Wow! I am so impressed. I cannot wait for the day that I can do that too. And then I, too, will be waiting for someone to say, “Did you make that?”

  7. What a great way to start my Friday. It’s beautiful!!! Excellent choice of yarn for the project, too.

    Y’know, I had the impression too that you weren’t enjoying it, but I think that’s because you always talked about it in terms of ‘I’m behind on my Acer again’. I’m glad to hear you were loving it, and I was nodding my head along with your description of it feeling like a master class. There are some projects that you come away from feeling like a superhero, I think. :)

  8. These comments all sum it up so well. It is beautiful, quite an inspiration, and you deserve every compliment!

  9. That is just a gorgeous fit! And the cables and colour has me drooling! Definitely proud of your amazing skills and determination to finish that cardigan!

  10. Stunning. Makes me want to go back to my little green cardi, languishing after a couple of years of other, more fun projects. Maybe for the Ravelry Olympics . . .

  11. Nice work Karen! Looks beautiful. I had faith you’d get it done!! ;-)

    I know what you mean about button bands…I recently added ribbon to a hated band myself and it has done wonders for the stability and way I feel about it in general. Might be the way forward! Either way, huge success.

  12. Your recent post showing an almost completed Acer inspired me to buy the pattern and queue this up. I had ordered some beautiful dark red yarn to make myself another pull over…but not now. After seeing this completed sweater, I’m going to wind me some skeins and get started. Just lovely.

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  18. Karen would Lark (quince and co) be used for the Acer or the Uniform pattern? Really like the camel color. Or can you recommend a different yarn. Thanks!

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