Despite finishing in January, I somehow haven't shared a post on my Bellows Cardigan yet, but it's probably because I've been too busy wearing it.
This sweater project definitely feels like my biggest knitting accomplishment to date. With piles of cables, a shawl collar and buttonband, and set-in sleeves, I think this pattern could have scared me off. Instead, this Michele Wang pattern made my heart sing, and I now have her Ondawa, Bingham, and Rowe sweaters in my queue.
I knit my Bellows in O-Wool Balance, which is quickly becoming my favorite sweater yarn ever. The blend of wool and cotton offers amazing stitch definition, softness, and warmth without being too heavy. I know I mentioned this in my Lila post, I will undoubtedly use it time and time again.
I cast on in late August while on a family vacation in Northern Michigan. Instead of a gauge swatch, I started with the sleeves and used those measurements as my guide. I ended up making one minor mistake in the sweater - skipping a twist on one of the cables on the right sleeve, but I just consider it my touch of wabi sabi.
I decided to track my row counts on the sleeves and front pieces to ensure they ended up being identical in size, which was especially helpful when it came to sleeve and shoulder shaping. My only issue was in picking up the stitches for the buttonband and collar -- apparently I pick up stitches in the wrong direction! Because of it, I ended up adding a few extra rows, which allows me to flip the collar up a bit more for extra-chilly days.
Knitting the Bellows is another reminder that I really can knit with patience and persistence. This is my most complex project to date, and it took me nearly six months to complete. In that time, I knit on this sweater nearly monogamously and was so content with it. I feel more excited to make things than I have in years because I'm continuing to demonstrate to myself that I can complete even the most complex garments if I allow myself to do it on my own schedule.
And that's the best thing about my Bellows. It's a physical reminder of the meditative joy I experience from the simple act of knitting and makes me feel like there's a small bit of magic in every single stitch.