Saturday, September 15, 2007

Minimalist Cardigan.

I somehow rediscovered my inner "insomniac-push-through-to-the-end-must-finish-at-all-costs" knitter somewhere in that last sleeve.

And look, Ma! No rolling!

Okay, a little rolling.

Pattern: Minimalist Cardigan, from Interweave Knits Fall 2007
Size: 34" Bust
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL, Garnet, 8.75 balls
Needles: KnitPicks Options, US7, one US8 needle for 3-needle bind-off of shoulders
Date Started: August 19
Date Completed: September 15


Like everyone else on the internets, I chose to use a different yarn than that called for in the pattern. Classic AL has a similar fiber composition to Lily Chin Park Avenue, the same yardage, and a similar gauge (slightly different stitch gauge, which gave me a 32" finished bust measurement). It is also dirt cheap. I'm pretty happy with the yarn, and I think a heavily textured garment like this one is an excellent use for it. It's springy, thanks to the merino, but drapey, due to the alpaca. The fabric's drape wasn't apparent until after washing -- my cardigan relaxed quite a bit even though it only grew slightly in length. There are a few longish guard-hairs that pop out of the (silky soft) fabric, and I think this will pill a bit over time, but I can live with that. It did bleed a lot when I first put it in the wash, but it didn't bleed much more when I rinsed (and re-washed) it.

I made a lot of little changes to cast-on numbers and the like in knitting this sweater. My assumption is that the designer used a different seam allowance than I do. I adjusted my stitch counts (and which row of the moss stitch pattern repeat I started with) in order to have the ribbing and moss stitch patterns line up properly along the seam, given a one-stitch seam allowance (knitting the body in one piece up to the armholes would have also solved this issue for me). The one problem with this plan was with the sleeves. In order for the moss stitch pattern to run continuously along the sleeve seam, I needed an even number of stitches. It worked brilliantly until I got to the sleeve cap -- given the pattern, one side of the cap was made up of k2tog (or ssk, depending on the sleeve) decreases, which would not seam-up against the body attractively. So, I've got a two stitch seam allowance on one side of my sleeve cap. I planned my sleeves so that both would have that k2tog/ssk edge along the back shoulder, and I don't think the extra seam bulk is noticeable there (whew).

I used a slipped-stitch edging along the stockinette edge of the fronts. Yeah, nobody will notice it, but it helps me sleep better at night (yes, I'm just a little neurotic).

I used short row shaping for the armholes, sleeve caps, and shoulders, and a 3-needle bind-off for the shoulders.

I added a touch of length to the body of the sweater (1/2-3/4"), out of habit (I almost always have to add length to my sweaters). I would have been fine knitting the length as written, given that my sweater grew ever-so-slightly in length in the wash (about 1/2"). I've decided that the IK model must be very, very tall (or she's wearing some exceedingly (and indecently!) low-rise jeans), as my cardi is maybe 1/2" longer than the one she's wearing, yet it looks almost cropped on her. Wacky.

I'm very happy with the cardigan, and I'll be wearing it a lot. I'll probably follow Bronwyn's lead and buy a clasp to close it, however. Open sweaters and jackets don't always work on me, and I can tell that with activity, the fronts of the cardigan will flop over to the sides.

One last thing. As my big bottle of Eucalan is just about empty, I bought a few samples of Soak the last time I visited my LYS, and tried it with the cardigan. I definitely prefer this to Eucalan. I don't think it makes a huge difference in the feel of the sweater (it does, but not in comparison to Eucalan, if you know what I mean), but I do prefer the scent (I tried Flora, and found it nice and light). I also have samples in Citrus and Aquae, and if any of you have tried the limited edition scents, I'd love to hear what you think!


Virtuous said...

Nice work as always! If only I was that smart in all your pre-seaming tricks! Hopefully one day....

Stitchy Witch said...

Ooh, I love it! Great job, it's so flattering!

Holly Jo said...

Very smart knitting! You're right - slip stitch along the edge is just the right touch. :)

Will be sure to check out SOAK as the Eucalan makes my cat CRAZY.

itsjustmeghan said...

LOVE the sweater! and i give you mad props for knitting that much seed stitch! i didn't really read the pattern until you started knitting it, and once i saw that, i kinda pushed it to the wayside. you have some mad crazy knitting skills!! love the way it turned out! looks great!
ps. nice nostrils!

Knittypants said...

Beautiful work, love the color. That's funny about the length on the model, very strange.

Amanda said...

I agree with Mat. With all the modifications that you make to everything you knit, you should really start designing your own patterns. You understand the construction of garments so well and know exactly how you want them to fit (and more importantly, what to do to make them fit that way).

Design! I would try to knit a pattern of yours. Though, it would probably take me a looong time to finish it.

Adrienne said...

Beautiful, beautiful work!

Team Knit ! said...

It's absolutely stunning! I guess all that seed stitch paid off! ;) You should think seriously about designing- your mod indicate that you are definitely ready for that next step.


Elizabeth said...

I love it! It should be a perfect layering piece for fall.

goodkarma said...

I like your Minimalist Cardi so much better than I thought I would... the one in the magazine really didn't call to me. Yours looks like something I would reach for every day in the fall and winter. Enjoy it!

Rubys & Purls said...

Great job on this one, as always! Just beautiful! The slip stitch along edge is a great tip. I think you should start designing too! You sweaters would be so great, I'd knit them.
Now I am going to have to add this on to my queue! LOL

Jen said...

Once again, absolutely gorgeous! You're work is inspiring!

Jory said...

Beautiful, now I want to knit that as well!

Octopus Knits said...

I love it! Beautiful job!

I've swatched for this, so hopefully I'll be working on it soon.

Brenda said...

Well done! It turned out beautifully!

Amanda said...

Thanks so much, everyone!

I think I'm blushing!

Ashley said...

Wow..once again I do I search for a pattern I love, and once again seeing your reaffirms my love of the pattern! Great job. I love how you knit in colors that I would choose, too!

jenna said...

Beautiful work! I don't know if it's just the added length or what, but I like yours so much better than the one on the model! It's always nice to see some of these patterns in "real life."

Vanessa said...

your cardi turned out fabulous! love it :)