FO Alert: Bellatrix Sweater

After many fits and starts on this pattern, I'm extremely glad to say that this sweater is finally complete. I'll start by praising the yarn, which was delightful - Potion Yarns Foxy Sock in the colorway Dracula's My Boyfriend.

The pattern is Lestrange (on the internet), or Lacy Cloak (if you have the Knitting Wizardry book) by Catherine Salter Bayar, and it is frankly one of the most poorly-written patterns I have ever come across.

With instructions like:

Inc 1 st each end of needle on next row, then every 8th row...working new sts into patt

without actually charting the lace for those increases, this pattern leaves the knitter to determine not only how to work an increasing number of stitches from a larger repeat, but also how to incorporate those stiches when the number of stitches within the repeat varies from row to row. Don't even get me started on the sleeve instructions when it comes time to decrease to shape the sleeve cap.

Oh, and to top it all off, after I finally sussed out how to knit the sleeves, seamed the shoulders, blocked the whole mess, and was ready to seam in the sleeves - the sleeves were ENORMOUS compare the armhole. I ended up ripping them out and completely winging my own sleeve pattern in the end.

But oh, the body and edging are so lovely, aren't they? Let's discuss the instructions for this, shall we? Oh yes, once again we are increasing without any charted guidance as to how to work those increases, other than "in pattern" once again, but then there's this nugget: 

pick up...sts along lower edge, ending at row 15 of Collar chart on right front.

What this instruction is telling you is to stop picking up stitches on the bottom edge and leave some of the worked fabric hangin. You know how I figured that out? But looking for images of others who successfully knit this pattern and reverse engineering from those photographs what the heck I was supposed to do.

Because next, I'm supposed to 

inc 1 st each end of needle ever WS row, working new stiches into pattern.

This creates a slanted edge that I then have to sew together with the slanted edge of the collar chart to make the corner. Oh, and no, these edges don't actually line up. Good luck.

From beginning to end this pattern was a giant PITA. I'm not a novice sweater knitter nor am I a novice lace knitter, and it took all my powers of deduction to come up with a garment that I can actually wear.

I worked 237 hours on it and used around 6 skeins of yarn. I'd have to re-weight my leftovers because when I ripped out the sleeves, I ended up working both sleeves from what I originally used for a single sleeve (seriously they were HUGE), and I'm not sure how much I reclaimed in the end. I'm just glad it's done, it's wearable, and I'm trying not to think too hard about how much effort it's going to be to wash and re-block it every time I wear it.


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