I call this my sweater with the O. Henry ending because I made it to turn out one way, it came out another way, and I ended up loving it best anyway! Oh, knitting! (Yep, here I am with another bathroom selfie in the same hotel room as before. I was really on a roll that weekend!)
This is Brooke from the Simple Shapes Panama book by Sarah Hatton, knit in Rowan Panama. Panama was new to me even though it's been out a year. This yarn does all the work; you really don't need to rely on creating texture with complicated stitches, even stockinette has a lot of interest. The yarn is a thick and thin type that creates an oatmeal-like texture that is unusual for fingering weight yarn. It totally works, and if you're are a tiny needle fan and love fingering weight, this is a terrific yarn to try. Also, if you are concerned about uneven tension in your stockinette, this yarn eliminates that problem. Panama is a blend of viscose, linen and cotton and comes in beautiful clear pastels and brights. It is hand wash and dry flat, but I have washed it a few times and do put it in the dryer for 5 minutes for a fluff up after it has mostly dried in the shade. The fabric is beautiful to wear, it just floats across the skin and is very cool and breathable.
As for knitting, it's easy, but is not for touch knitting. I took it to the movies and when I came out I realized I had dropped a lot of stitches while knitting 2 hours in the dark. Because of the thick and thin aspect you need to look at it occasionally, even if you're knitting stockinette, so you've been warned. While it's half linen and cotton, which can raise a red flag, it's very easy on the hands, no tired hands at all. I used wood needles with some stick, the viscose made it want to slip on my fast needles, but with the right needle it is a very easy glide.
I altered the pattern to make it much smaller than the smallest size as I wanted it to be more fitted. When it was finished I tried it on and it was larger than I wanted. No problem, I took it to the sewing machine and sewed up both sides by stitching it in about an inch at each side, starting at the arm cuff, then up the arm and right down the side to the hem. Perhaps that sounds bizarre, but I've done that before and it works. It fit! I wore it that night and it relaxed which is common with yarn that contains viscose. The next time I wore it I belted it and bloused it and ended up loving it blousey and changed my mind about it needing to be fitted after all. When I wash it, it goes back to being fitted, and I wear it fitted for a time or two. After a time it relaxes and I wear it blousey for a time or two, then it seems like it needs a wash and I go though it again. While this works for this sweater, knowing that I would recommend this yarn for a pattern that requires drape.
9/8: Edited to add a bit more info about how I machine sew a sweater seam: First step is to pin it and try it on. Next step is to machine baste and try on again. If it's right, sew it again with a zig-zag stitch, I usually do this twice. Then I cut right next to the zig zag to get rid of the extra sweater fabric to remove bulk. I then pick a bit at the seam to clean up the loose yarn bits and lastly zig zag the rough edge to clean it up a bit and keep it from shedding more. This technique has never failed me. Good luck!
Simple Shapes Panama by Sarah Hatton