Not quite on time – I did end up giving Dad a wrapped up sweater with the needles still in – but I did finish before I left my parents to come back down to foggy Cambridgeshire.
I was late because the sleeves took much longer to sew in than I anticipated, and because I nearly had a crisis with the neckline (especially the cast-off), but even more than that, because I suddenly had to spend a lot of time working. Working-working, for pay, which is always worthwhile, but does rather cut into the knitting time. I suppose I *could*, technically, have finished knitting it before wrapping it, but the whole point of travelling up to my parents’ house is to spend time with my family, and so there seemed little point in hiding myself away to knit. Besides, Dad got a significant amount of amusement out of being given an unfinished sweater at Christmas.
I only got one photo of it completed, and here it is:
This is, I have to say, I good photo of it. The overall fit is OK, if not great; it hangs away from Dad’s body at the back (because of his stooped posture and because the fabric is quite stiff). If I could re-do, I would make the neckline narrower and possibly shallower, and would re-knit all the ribbing on much smaller needles.
The overall fit is OK, though it wouldn’t have hurt if the body was narrower and the sleeves correspondingly longer, but I’m glad that the cuffs hit Dad’s wrists in a good place. The seam where the sleeves join the body is really very stiff. I don’t think this has anything do do with the machine stitching of the steek, as some have suggested, but is because of the sleeve facing. The sleeves are knit with a reverse stockinette facing that is stitched down over the cut edge and machine stitching on the body. This double thickness over the seam area is, understandably, rather thicker than a single layer of fabric, and correspondingly stiffer.
I cast off the neck bands using the sewn cast off, following the excellent tutorial here. First off, I have to say that this took *ages* and would be a total pain to rip out, so it might be worth practising on a swatch first, to make sure you have your tension right. (I didn’t). After an inch or so, it became clear that the bound off edge was unpleasantly wavy, so I tightened up each stage of the bind off (even step 2!) pretty much as much as I could, and it worked out OK.
Most importantly, the recipient appears to love it, though hasn’t been able to wear it for very long yet, as it is apparently a very warm garment. Merry Christmas, Dad!