After working on a Mermaid no 4 during last weekend, I am already on the first striped bit on the back. I consider myself an 'advanced' knitter. I had discovered this blog when I was looking for a shop to buy my kit and your posts already helped me understand the instructions.
Here are my first impressions on the kit and some recommendations for those planning to embark on the same project.
- The Mermaid jacket is easy enough to knit; what is difficult and confusing about it are the instructions you get with the kit. I have not seen Amy's spreadsheet yet, but it seems to me that it contains the kind of detail one would expect to get directly with such an expensive kit
- One would also expect that the balls of yarn would be colour-coded. As many other kit -4 owners, I have to pay a lot of attention to pick the right shade of turquoise every time I change from stripes to gussets.
- Last comment on the kit: an indication of all the important measurements is another essential element that is missing from the instructions. Maybe I am spoiled by the mostly German knitting magazines I usually buy, but they always include graphics of the different parts with measurements, plus frequent indications of how many stitches one should have obtained after a certain number of increases or decreases... and when to break the yarn.
- I am knitting my Mermaid with the classic two needles (about 40 cm long). It is a matter of taste –I am quicker with two needles. A circular needle is not strictly necessary, as there are never too many stitches in one single 'classic' needle, even for the large size I am making.
- In my opinion the slipping stitches at the shoulder are not mere decoration: they will keep the shoulder-sleeves area in shape, which is an essential element of the tailored look of the jacket. If we were sewing this model out of a soft material, we would use some kind of reinforcement at these seams. By the way, keeping the tailored look and shape of the jacket would be the reason for choosing a 'coarser' type of wool instead of the lovely soft merino or alpaca yarns.
- Finally, an advice I would probably not follow myself because I am too impatient: make one or two swatches to test the slipping stitches with the stripe pattern and the turns for the short rows used in the gussets. I did not get a perfectly regular lower edge until I was already past the second gusset and by then I did not have the courage to undo what I had already knit.
That's it! I hope the post wasn't too long.