I am happy to announce that at last I have finished a sweater that took me several attempts to start. I began the Basket Stitch Sampler back in August 2010, a second version of a sweater I’d first knit back in 2003. But whereas my first Basket Stitch Sampler only took me 1½ months to knit—still the fastest long-sleeved sweater I’ve ever done—this one took 2½ years. I offer no excuse except that after all that reknitting, I hadn’t made enough progress to hold my interest. I still wanted the finished project, but getting there became more of a duty than a pleasure and the sweater ended up spending much of the past 2½ years as a UFO. Still, if you keep knitting a little here, a little there, at some point you tip the balance and you have a project that’s almost done.
What distinguishes this sweater is that each section features a different basket weave stitch, five total. I used Cotton Fleece from Brown Sheep (color = Tea Rose), which shows the stitches off really well. It’s 80% cotton and 20% merino wool, but I wouldn’t know there was wool in it if I hadn’t read the label. I modified the design a bit. The designer intended that the back be four inches longer than the front. I have enough trouble with sweaters trying to fall backwards on me without adding extra weight to the back, plus I didn’t think that would be an attractive look on me, so I skipped that part. I also worked a round of slip stitches around the neckline where it joins the body. The last two sweaters I’ve made with garter stitch necks have stretched with wearing to the point that the sweater begins to fit oddly, so I figured I’d just stop that problem before it started with this one.
All the stitches are pleasant to look at, but I will happily never work Double Fleck Stitch (left sleeve) again. For some reason, the pattern is written so that you’re working those paired purl stitches as knit stitches on the wrong side, which makes keeping them aligned a pain and a half. I figured out after about an inch that this was going to annoy the heck out of me, but I got stubborn and refused to rip out what I’d already done in order to reverse the pattern. Which meant that I got to knit another 16″ (41 cm) of that pattern, fuming the whole way, when it probably would’ve gone faster in the end if I’d just ripped out and started over.
For all my complaining, I expect to love the sweater itself. It fits great, and I remember loving wearing its predecessor—I knit it again for a good reason!