So all this sitting and knitting has finally produced a sweater! When I found out we were expecting, I searched Ravelry to find some maternity-friendly patterns, and this one was high on my list.
Pattern: Vitamin D by Heidi Kirrmaier. It's had rave reviews, and I agree with the general consensus: this pattern is graceful, both in the way it's written and in the final product. It's a waterfall open cardigan with slightly unusual construction: top-down raglan, but sleeves are knit flat and seamed; lots and lots and lots of short rows; eyelets as decorative increases (the rays of sunshine, or little windows to let your skin soak up that vitamin D). The pattern has several tables full of numbers and stitch counts for all the different sizes, so as long as you can read a table, you'll always know exactly where you are in the pattern. I made size 39, M2.
Process: I knit one sleeve back in November, then put the sweater aside for some Christmas knitting. When I picked it up again after Christmas, I knit the second sleeve ... without rereading the directions. I forgot to cast on 4 stitches on either side of the sleeve stitches. I didn't discover this until I'd already seamed both sleeves and was picking up stitches for the body. I debated moving on for about 3 minutes, and decided it would be ridiculous to have a sweater with one sleeve two inches narrower than the other one, so I unseamed it and ripped it out.
I had a big sigh when I finished the arms and started looking at more than 300 stitches on each row, but then I discovered that the main part of the body is constructed with short rows. I love short rows. Even if you're turning just a few stitches before the end of the row, it makes the knitting time seem, well, shorter.
Yarn: What can I say? Madelinetosh is amazing. The colors in this Tosh Merino Light are just right for this sweater. They're perfectly variegated without any pooling or striping. The yarn was a gift from my mom, and it's made one of the nicest sweaters I have. Even though the pattern was written for a sport weight, this fingering weight worked perfectly.
What I learned: I learned a new technique for doing short rows: shadow short rows. They are brilliant, and I can't see any reason to ever go back to the standard wrap and turn.
Final thoughts: I put this sweater on, and I immediately felt several degrees less maternity-frumpy. I'm starting to get bored with my limited wardrobe, and this feels classy, effortless and unique. I love the way it fits around my baby belly, and I think when the baby belly is no more, it will be another kind of beautiful. I'm completely happy with it!