About a year ago, my boss's mother commissioned me to knit her a sweater with a picture of an Eastern-style dragon on it. She gave me one of her books for reference and I took measurements for sizing from an existing sweater of hers that she really likes.
I agonized over this thing, redid it a few times in a few different sizes of yarn. Originally it was going to be a dk-weight yarn with the dragon image all-intarsia, but that proved to be impractical and really....bad looking. And it took months to knit. I still have 2/3rds of that sweater still assembled in my to-be-frogged pile.
I took the summer off of the project and put it away for a bit. However once it started getting cold out I started to feel the itch to finish it once and for all. Slay the dragon as it were.
I redid the whole sweater in a worsted weight yarn, and instead of intarsia for the whole design, I made the dragon insignia using intarsia only for the base body color of the dragon, and then embroidered the rest of the dragon to give it a more lively appearance. Originally he had all four of his legs, but it was way too crowded so I frogged those and left the two most dynamic ones.
His body is outlined in chain stitch embroidery, with most of the embellishments a variation on satin stitch or stem stitch. (Thank you Interweave Knits-- the holiday issue had a primer on embroidered knitting that saved my rump!)
This is the first sweater I have ever needed to use my Dremel in the finishing process. The eyeball is a 9mm safety eye normally used in amigurumi toys. I had to take the stem down so it would lay more flush with the rest of the back.
I picked up and knitted a tiny swatch 4 stitches wide to house the backing of the safety eye so it wouldn't be scratchy. (for some reason I didn't think I should get a picture of that...)
Finally, after another month of failed attempts at photography and one last editorial decision (ripping out and restarting the sleeves from scratch) I have finished it and given it to its intended recipient!
I cropped out identifying features (besides the OOAK sweater of course) but this picture has one very happy dragon owner beaming at the camera.
Apologies for the wonky color-- my camera is really fussy. The last pic is the most color-accurate. (Apologies also for the wall-o-text. I'm a writer, it's what I do.)
I am really happy with this-- this is probably my favorite commission to date and I could not be happier with the result!