Although I love to knit shawls, I do not love to wear them. The sole exception is my tiny Hyrna, which slips neatly into my purse for A/C protection during the summer months. As for the rest of them, I take them out for show-and-tell when somebody asks. Otherwise, they sit around in a drawer, playing cards, drinking beer, and watching PBS's Knit and Crochet Today on an iPod Harry installed for them.
The Honeysuckle sweater immediately caught my eye, because it combines the best of all possible worlds. I could knit some simple lace with my favorite luxurious Hamanaka mohair/silk and have an actual, wearable knitting object.
This inspired pattern appears in Issue Six of the elegant British magazine, The Knitter, and was created by Sarah Hatton, Rowan's in-house designer.
Of course, I changed the pattern a bit. For starters, the original configuration is a circular shawl knitted flat and seamed. The sleeves also knitted flat and seamed, and then sewn into the bind-off/cast-on slits created for the armholes.
Well, all that sewing seemed ridiculous, tedious, and annoying. Instead, I knitted the shawl in the round, using a contrasting thread for afterthought armholes. I then picked up the sleeve stitches around the contrasting thread and used Barbara Walker's clever short-row sleeve cap method to knit the sleeves downward.
I also added beads to the sleeves and sweater front, and changed the boring edging to the more dynamic Ocean Wave from Miller's Heirloom Knitting. And, there was a lot of plain knitting in the original pattern; I dropped in a few Shetland cat's paws motifs to break up the monotony.
The only mild setback was the cuff area. I have thin wrists, and even though I doubled the decreases at the end, the cuff was still too baggy for me. Instead of ripping out the mohair (urgh), I threaded some narrow ribbon through the final row and gathered the cuff.
Best of all, Honesuckle informs me that she detests beer, can't play cards, and doesn't enjoy TV, so leaving her out of the drawer and actually wearing her pleases everyone. Well, except for Harry, who is always looking for another sucker for his rigged poker games.