I am down to the last strokes. The body is now knit and I have almost finished the first sleeve of this top-down stranded knit sweater. The pattern is “Agnes” by Kirstin Wiola Ødegård. I have knit lots of stranded knit mitts over the years but this is only the second sweater. Working on a larger piece has gone a long way toward improving my stranded knitting; especially in the tension department. Stranded knitting on a larger scale (sweater vs mittens) definitely lets you know when your tension is off. It makes you sit up and pay attention. The lozenges in this pattern should be roughly oval-shaped, not a squished down diamond-shape. Compare the lozenges at the collar, bottom left, where I started the sweater to the top right where I have found the sweet spot. The lozenges on the sleeves are almost the same shape as those in the lower body. Hooray! It is those little accomplishments that make all the difference.
When I first started stranded knitting I was just happy to be able to knit holding a strand in each hand. Now I look more closely at gauge, the shape of the motifs, the sturdiness of the ribbing or a buttonhole, the seamlessness of the underarm, etc. etc. Each little thing I do, accomplish or adjust builds my skill set. But the key is to set the goal in the first place and not accept whatever happens as I tink along. After I figure out one piece to the puzzle, I turn my attention to the next and little by little, stitch by stitch, I find my way.