Tag Archives: cardigan

Lush

I finished my Lush Cardigan (which I was knitting as part of Purlescence‘s knitalong), and even though it’s really not the weather for nice woolly cardis I did put it on for a few minutes yesterday so that T could take some photos (I was jolly glad to take it off again afterwards, though!).

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The yarn is Sweet Georgia merino superwash DK, in “Jade” (though it looks more like teal to me). It’s not a really soft merino, which I think is a good thing as in my experience really soft yarns tend to pill very quickly; it’s not scratchy but it feels quite durable and I’m hoping it will wear well, because I love the cardigan and want to wear it lots!

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I knitted the 39″ bust size, which is 3″ smaller than my full bust measurement but matches my high bust, as I thought that would give me the best fit in the shoulders. I added 2″ of short row bust darts to give a better fit over the bust and worked more increases below the waist to end up with the stitch count for the 46″ size to allow for the fact that my hips are wider than my bust and although I will probably only wear ever do up the top buttons I wanted it to look as though I might conceivably be able to button it all the way up if I chose.

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I’m not sure that was the best idea, because the paired increases have created a little bulge at the sides, though I don’t know if that’s because I did more or just because the pattern didn’t specify the increases to use and I went for M1R and M1L but might well have got them the wrong way round. It doesn’t really show, though, and generally I’m really pleased with the fit.

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After agonising over what kind of buttons to use I finally ordered several sets from Textile Garden and chose a set which proved to be a perfect colour match for the yarn (I had thought that contrasting buttons might be a better choice and ordered a couple of yellow sets to try out).

Lush buttons

Of course, it’ll probably be at least three months before I actually get to wear it, but it’ll be something to look forward to when summer starts turning to autumn!

Shaping up

I’ve been working from home today, so no outfit photos. I was thinking about getting the sewing machine out after I finished working and using what would normally be my commuting time to get on with my Market Top, but somehow after a day’s work that didn’t seem quite so appealling, so I think it can wait until the weekend. I haven’t been completely idle, though; instead, I did this:

Measuring up

I’m determined to learn to make cardigans that actually fit me, and while I love the look of the Soay pattern I know that without some bust shaping it probably won’t look very good on me. So I printed off the pattern (which has the great bonus of a really detailed set of measurements) and the measuring guide from Little Red in the City, grabbed my tape measure, tied bits of yarn round me at strategic points and started measuring.

The results were really quite interesting. I have always thought of myself as having a fairly straight-up-and-down body, with narrowish hips and not much in the way of a waist, and a large bust, so that overall I’m fairly top-heavy and look a bit like a stick figure with boobs. It turns out that this is not actually the case. Yes, I have a large bust (it would have been difficult to be wrong about that!) and the narrowest part of my torso is my underbust (which I also knew), but it turns out that I do have a waist (about two inches higher than I thought it was) which may not be particularly slim but is still 11 inches smaller than the fullest point of my hips, and just under 10 inches smaller than my high hip measurement. Oh, and my hip measurement is actually five inches larger than my full bust measurement. So, not all that top-heavy after all, then!

Anyway, after allowing for a bit of negative ease at the bust and a bit of positive ease at the waist it turns out that the 40.5″ bust size of Soay will be a reasonable fit, though I might need to move the waist up a little and I’ll definitely want to add bust darts to stop the front pulling up, which really wouldn’t be good with a cropped, fitted shape like this. I’m going to use some bright pink organic cotton DK I got on sale in John Lewis last time I was in Norwich, and I really hope it works out as I think if it does it will be a gorgeous little cardi.

I’ll be interested to see how the Market Top turns out; again, my measurements more or less corresponded to a single size on the pattern and when I pinned the front and back together after sewing the bust darts it didn’t look too bad on (though I’ll baste the side seams and try it properly at the weekend), but I suspect I really need to learn to do a full bust adjustment on patterns in future. At least I think I can understand how that works now!

Ease-y does it

I finally cast off the collar of my Featherweight Cardigan last night, and as I’m working from home today I had time to weave in the ends, soak it and lie it flat to block before starting work.

Featherweight blocking

Unfortunately, I think that the result of almost five months of knitting (admittedly a bit on-and-off) and two skeins of gorgeous Posh Yarn Diana merino/silk laceweight is going to be a cardigan I don’t wear very much, because it’s just too big.

This is entirely my own fault, and is down to a combination of poor body image and simple failure to think. The pattern (or the version I started knitting from – it has been updated and more sizes added) is sized S, M, L, XL and XXL, with finished bust measurements of 36 (40, 43, 47, 50)”. My full bust measurement is 42″, in between the M and L sizes, and I decided to knit the L with a finished bust measurement of 43″ (having measured the cardigan while laying it out to block, it’s come out at almost exactly that).

Why did I choose the L? Well, partly because at a UK size 14-16 I’m an L in so many shops it seemed inconceivable that I could be a medium. And partly because of the little voice at the back of my head which makes me take size 18 clothes into fitting rooms ‘because those will be sure to fit’ (funnily enough, they don’t) and stops me trying on things in a 14 even though half my wardrobe is size 14 clothes, and which told me it was much better to make a cardigan that would be slightly bigger than my actual bust measurement than risk having one which was a bit tight.

Of course, what I forgot is that a lightweight cardigan knitted at a loose gauge in a fine yarn is going to be very stretchy and that the nice fitted look I admired in pictures of other people’s finished projects on Ravelry was almost certainly the result of their cardigans being knitted with negative ease – in other words, slightly smaller than their actual measurements. And that the cardigan is designed to be worn open, so the finished measurements given aren’t actually for the full body circumference – looking at the schematic on the pattern it’s obvious that the fronts don’t meet in the middle, so the back must be wider than the combined width of the fronts. And I also forgot to allow for the fact that my 42″ bust measurement is courtesy of my FF cup size, which means that (a) my back measurement is considerably less than half my full bust measurement (about 19″ out of the 42″) and (b) given that most patterns are designed for a B-cup or thereabouts, my measurements everywhere else aren’t going to match the measurements for my full bust size.

All of which means I should have knitted the M instead of the L, and that as it is I have a cardigan with a back measurement five inches larger than my actual back measurement and sleeves which are much bigger than my upper arms. The pattern doesn’t have any waist shaping; looking at photos it’s clear that the drapy fabric is supposed to follow the wearer’s curves without the need for shaping, but I suspect that because the cardigan is so much too big it’s just going to look boxy on me.

Anyway, it’s blocking now, and you never know, that may work miracles, but if not I think this cardigan may well be looking for a new home.

Look at me, I’m all pink and fuzzy

A couple of years ago I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at the NEC with some friends, where I was seduced by the beautiful colours of a bag of Lang Mille Colori. It sat in my stash for about a year, and then I decided I ought to do something with it and cast on for Imogen. After knitting the back and sleeves I decided that I wasn’t happy with the way it was knitting up, so I frogged it and decided to knit Mya from Noro Catwalk instead.

I cast on for Mya in January last year. It ended up being one of those projects which keeps being put aside in favour of other things; it spent all summer hibernating while I worked on more summery knits and I didn’t really pick it up again until December. By then it had been lurking in a bag for so long I really wasn’t sure I was going to want to wear it even if I did finally finish it, but my husband opined that it was nice so I persevered.

Mya 3

I’m glad I did, because when I finally finished sewing it together last night I realised that I really like it.

Mya 2Mya 1

It’s a very straightforward pattern to knit – possibly too straightforward for anything but TV knitting, though there is quite a lot of shaping. I fell between sizes and made the larger one as my gauge was 15 stitches to the inch instead of the 14 specified in the pattern, which seems to have worked perfectly as it fits like a dream. It’s incredibly warm and snuggly, though I’m a little worried that the yarn will tend to pill – it’s a fluffy, loosely spun single – but I’m very pleased with it.

Finished

I’m on a bit of a finishing kick at the moment. I have finally finished my February Lady Sweater:

FLS - front

FLS - back

I can’t say I enjoyed knitting this very much. I liked the pattern; it was easy to follow and the lace pattern was interesting but easy to memorise, and I do like being able to try things on as I go. However, I really didn’t like the Rowan Summer Tweed; it’s stiff and unyielding and I really felt I had to force my needle into the stitches, especially the decreases – and there are a lot of decreases in lace! I definitely wouldn’t use it again (in fact, I have a couple of skeins I bought to make a Gretel which I’m now destashing, along with a few other yarns I don’t think I’ll ever use).

I’m very pleased with how the cardigan turned out, though. After looking at finished projects on Ravelry I decided that it looked best when people had made it with zero or negative ease over the bust; versions with positive ease on the bust tended to make the wearers look swamped. I ended up with a couple of inches of negative ease over the bust, and blocked it out quite aggressively because I was worried it would be too small, but I think it’s just right. I also didn’t add the extra stitches under the arms because the last top-down raglan I knitted ended up a bit baggy at the underarms; I’m not completely sure it wouldn’t have been better to add the extra stitches and decrease them on the sleeves, but I think it’s fine as it is.

The buttons are from Textile Garden and are really pretty:

I also finished the pair of Coriolis socks I was making for T:

Tim's Coriolis

This has all left me a bit short of WIPs. There’s a wintery cardigan which I’ll probably pick up again when the weather gets a bit cooler (it doesn’t have much left to do, as I’m on to the sleeves already); a crochet scarf which is probably going nowhere because it’s more ‘woolly outdoor scarf’ rather than ‘lacy scarf which can be worn indoors'; and a Multnomah shawl which I’ve been knitting away on all week and which is now nearly finished itself. I was at a bit of a loss as to what to knit next, and then someone linked to a knitalong for the Acanthus shawlette (Ravelry link) which seemed like a good way to get over my fear of laceweight (something I really need to do given the increasing amount of laceweight in my stash), and Kirsten Kapur put up her new pattern Roma which seemed like the perfect project to take with me when I go to Italy in a couple of weeks’ time. So I guess what I’m knitting next is mostly going to be shawls…

Going loopy

After three and a bit months, I have finally made it onto the second sleeve of my February Lady:

Travelling Loop

If I knit solidly through Sherlock tonight I might even get it finished today; at any rate it looks as though I should have a summery cotton/silk blend cardi before we completely run out of summery weather for me to wear it in (although I think I could wear this all through autumn over a long-sleeved t-shirt).

The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted that instead of the usual two loops of cable poking between the sleeve stitches in the picture, there’s only one. Magic Loop is my preferred technique for socks and gloves, but I’ve never liked it that much for sleeves, mostly because if I’m working sleeves in the round it’s usually because I’m doing a one-piece garment and flipping the whole thing round every time I get to the end of a needle is a pain. I was browsing Ravelry yesterday and came across a post that mentioned the ‘Travelling Loop’ technique, so I googled and found this tutorial, and thought I’d give it a go for the second sleeve.

The name is a bit of a misnomer; the loop doesn’t actually travel, although from the perspective of the knitter it moves around the needle, starting to the right of the tips and ending up back at the left of them. It allows you to use a shorter cable than you would need for magic loop (in fact, it’s perfect if you have a circular needle that’s only slightly too long for the circumference of your knitting), and I definitely find it slightly easier for sleeves because instead of knitting half the stiches, turning 180 degrees, and knitting the other half you knit round the needle turning gradually and then when you get to the end of the round and the loop comes free you can just turn back to where you started and begin again.

I don’t think Travelling Loop is going to replace Magic Loop in my affections, but I will definitely bear it in mind for sleeves in future. Meanwhile, I just have to get on and finish the cardigan, and then work out how to block it. How would you block a one-piece cardigan?

Finished objects

Now Christmas is over and all the presents have been unwrapped, I can actually blog about what I’ve been knitting recently. I gave quite a lot of knitted presents this year, and was working on them almost exclusively for the last couple of months, hence the lack of content here.

I made two sets of Turn a Square hats and slightly modified Noro fingerless mitts:

For my father, in Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed and Noro Kureyon.

And for my friend C, in Cascade 220 and Noro Silk Garden.

I made my mother a Tiger Eyes Lace Scarf (Ravelry link) using the Knitting Goddess‘s 4-ply sock yarn in ‘Walnut Grove’ (the October 2009 sock club colourway):

For my nephew I made Jacqui Turner’s Spring Chicken in dark brown Rowan Felted Tweed with orange highlights to look like my parents’ chickens:

I thought I wasn’t going to be able to make anything for my husband, as I couldn’t knit presents for him at home without him seeing them, but Dashing is a quick enough knit I managed to make a pair despite only being able to work on them at knitting group and on the bus to and from work:

They looked huge while I was knitting them, but turned out to be a good fit – I always forget how much bigger T’s hands are than mine!

I finished the second one in the pub after my work Christmas lunch, which my colleagues were very impressed by! The yarn is Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed again – I was pleased to be able to find some that was a fairly good match for the Lamb’s Pride Worsted I made T a hat and scarf out of years ago.

And, last but not least, I made my brother a Dalek using Penwiper’s Extermiknit! pattern.

The Dalek was fun to knit, although the bobbles were a bit fiddly and the yarn (Paton’s Wool Blend Aran) was quite scratchy and not particularly nice to knit with.

After all that I’m looking forward to spending January knitting things for myself (and socks for T, which I’m working on at the moment). I spent Christmas week making the Knitting Goddess Shawl, which I’ll post pictures of once it’s blocked. I also ended up frogging the Imogen cardigan because it just wasn’t working out the way I wanted. The colours were gorgeous, but I was becoming increasingly unsure about the pattern and when my picked-up stitches for the front ended up looking incredibly sloppy I decided to call it a day. I don’t think a plain chunky cardigan like that is really something I’d wear – the cardigans I love and wear a lot are Liesl and Hey Teach which are both lacy, and I think that something more along those lines would be better, although I’m not sure what would work with the stripes. No doubt something will come along, and it’s better to have frogged the cardi halfway through than carried on knitting something I didn’t think I was going to wear.