Saturday, 5 July 2014

A new cardigan

In the July sales in 2010 - four years already - I bought 10 balls of Rowan Alpaca Cotton  at half price.  I bought it because it was brown, my favourite colour, and the wool was nice and soft.  Two years later I thought I wanted to knit a sweater with it, and I found a good pattern - Mari Muinonen's Maija paita.  I like Mari's patterns, and the winding cables on the front attracted me.  But I didn't want the neck opening, so I tried to knit it round.  I had to give up - there was a diagram in the pattern, but it didn't give the number of stitches at the end of each row, so I got lost.  I unravelled the knitting, and put the yarn away.

The next time I got it out I had decided I wanted a cardigan.  I planned to knit it using the method that I had learnt at Julie Weisenberger's class at the Vogue Knitting Show in Chicago the previous year.  The class was about adjusting a standard cardigan pattern with set in sleeves to be knitted seamlessly (except that the top of the sleeves do need seaming) with shoulders done in English tailoring.  For the standard pattern I used Kim Hargreaves's Fayer from Heartless, luckily designed for Rowan Alpaca Cotton.

The beginning was easy - up to the armholes.  The ribbing and the button band I took from another pattern in the same book, and I am pleased with them.  I am proud of the pockets that I devised myself.  It was putting the sleeves together with the body that caused my problems.  According to the method you work out the numbers of stitches yourself, and I had to redo them several times.  It didn't help that I put the knitting away several times between attempts, so I had forgotten what I did before and my scanty notes did not help.  And I had amended the pattern as well.  The shoulders were tricky, too, and the fussiness of the yarn made it impossible to keep count of stitches.  So in the end I just stuck to what I had, and didn't mind that it was less than perfect.

After all of that I was pleased to find that I had a cardigan that I could actually wear.  It feels nice and warm and comfortable.  The buttons came from a charity shop, and they look too shiny on.

I did not get on with the yarn.  I do know that I prefer smooth yarns, but this felt as if it was coated with some sticky substance.  It was unpleasant to touch.  I wish I had washed it before I started knitting.  Was it reduced because it was seconds?  If so, it should have said so.  I wonder how long I can wear the cardigan before I have to wash it. 

This method, knitting seamless sweaters with set in sleeves, is interesting, and I may try it again.  If I do it will have to be with a smooth yarn, and the key thing is to knit the top part - armholes and shoulders - within a few days so that you don't lose track.

Rowan Alpaca Cotton cardigan
300 gr  5 mm needles 16 sts per 10cm

22 October 2013 to 28 April 2014

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