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.
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.