I sprinted to the finish line and it’s done! It’s not perfect but I’m very happy with it. The pattern was great, the yarn was great, the final sweater is soft and fuzzy and pleasingly warm.
I did a few button band swatches and figured out that the more picked up stitches per row the better. I drew the line at picking up every row, so much work, and went for every five out of six.
While I was swatching I quickly realized that my dreams of doing a sewn bind off for all 300+ stitches would be crazy-talk, as the yarn wear out well before I got half way. So I decided to bind off in pattern even though I have never really been happy with the way that looks for me. I hate pulling one stitch over the other on the purl side as the working yarn always gets in my way so I tried putting the working yarn to the back just while I pull one stitch over the other and discovered that I really like the way this edge looks from both sides:
I figure this must be in a book somewhere, what is this called? It looks a whole lot like long take cast on.
I didn’t trust myself to do button placement so I put a buttonhole in every other purl rib all the way up on side and put the buttons on later. I’m sacrificing some looks for the sake of experimentation here, but I’m happy. I do wish I had continued the buttonholes all the way up to the center top of the hood though, as I’d love to button the sweater up half my face for times when it’s really cold. I’m planning on moving all eight buttons up one buttonhole from where they are now as the button right at the bottom is too low. I also wish I could move all the buttonholes up one purl rib, but oh well. Still, with eight buttons evenly space there is some gapping due to the loose gauge.
I might (might) redo the button band. I did it all in one long piece and had to use my size 6, 7 and 8 needles (like using three dpns to work one long piece) for the button band. I’d like to redo it the way the pattern calls for — before you seam the hood do the button band in two halves, then seam the hood and the center top part of the button band with it. I think the band would be better done on size 6s, and if I do that I might pick up every row. As you can see in the photo above it pulls up a bit despite my best planning efforts. This is less noticeable when it’s worn.
Um, what else? The thumb holes work great for sitting at the keyboard and typing. I made the hood a little longer to fit my head. I might make this pattern again as I’m really wanting a version in tweedy green, and lucky me Kraemer Yarns makes cotton/acrylic Tatamy Tweed in a few shades of green.