So it’s My Fair Cardi!

My next project is a sweater for my sis. We’d talked about what she’s looking for in it, and she’d said she wanted some eyelets in its bottom half, and a solid top half with some pattern. So naturally, I thought about the Feather and Fan pattern, since my fellow knitting/crochet blogger, Kat, had just talked about her Sage Remedy Top, and I thought the pattern there resembled it.

So I looked up the pattern to refresh my memory, and I found that what I’d always thought of as Feather and Fan pattern is actually the Old Shale pattern! Feather and Fan turns out to be a completely different pattern, and Sarah points out the differences in a recent post.

Sarah’s post also mentions projects that use Old Shale pattern, and I came upon My Fair Cardi. It’s a pretty simple design, and I’d thought of exactly that for the bottom half, so I showed it to my sis. She thought the cardigan looked good as is, with Old Shale in both halves. Even the shape of the neck was to her liking. Alright then, problem solved! I could just use this pattern.

The cardigan is a bottom-up raglan construction, and is knit in pieces — sleeves, front, and back — all the way, and the pieces are joined raglan-style in the very end. Um, when I’m knitting a bottom-up raglan cardigan, I like to knit the body as one piece, knit the sleeves, and join all the pieces at the armhole and knit them together. So that’s a slight deviation from the pattern for me — other than the usual deviations to account for changes in measurements to conform to my (or in this case, my sister’s) preferences.

So I knitted a swatch, and readied my excel worksheet to track my pattern deviations, and started on the project. Since Old Shale is mostly stockinette stitches, it’s knitting up fast, compared to my previous chock-full-of-tiny-cables project. Exciting times! ๐Ÿ˜‰

My Fair Cardi progress - sleeve

I’m knitting the sleeve flat, a departure from my previous raglan projects. I think I’m beginning to like the distinct seam it results in when the edges are joined, instead of the faux ‘purl column’ seam that I add when knitting sleeves in the round. (And there’s a picot edge! I like that edge.)

Vintage vest

Vintage vest

Vintage vest

Whenever I see this vest, I think it looks like it’s about 50 years too late in the making ๐Ÿ™‚ but I love it! It’s something that I started quite a while back, and with leftover yarn from not one, not two, but three projects! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I’m just really happy with how it turned out. ๐Ÿ™‚

At first, I’d picked only the pink and brown yarn, and I wanted the patterned part to be all over the vest, but from my swatches, I knew the yarn I had would not be enough for that. So I picked additional leftover yarn, choosing to only use it for the sides. In a moment of recklessness ๐Ÿ˜› I started bottom-up though there was the chance that I would run out of yarn before I finish the project… [fingers crossed]

I made the front and back pieces separately, and it was fun moving between four balls of yarn for every row — two for the two sides, and two for the stranded pattern. The pattern itself is pretty simple, as you can see.

That I decided on a closed vest made neck shaping easier. I’m improving with neck shaping, but I’m still not there — there’re always bulges at certain points along the neck no matter how carefully I calculate. Not for garments with a closed front; the necks in these come up pretty nice, regardless of what design I shape them in. When it comes to necks in open fronts that are meant to be buttoned up, though, no amount of modifications to my calculations seems to work… [Scream of fury! Then quite a few slow, deep, calming breaths.]ย  I’ve to research and think a bit more the next time I decide on an open, to-be-buttoned-up garment, and try to figure out what’s going wrong.

Anyway, after all that silent screaming, I should really finish what I started talking about — the neck shaping was a simple gently curving one, and obviously, was joined by armhole shaping after a few rows. I worked each side with three balls, one for the side and two for the pattern, and made an extra stitch along the neck — I would pick up this stitch later for the ribbing.

The back was a similar affair, with a shaping of the neck in the final few rows.

I joined the two pieces using grafting at the shoulders and mattress stitch at the sides. I experimented with adding sleeves to make it a top, but I didn’t like how it looked. So decided to keep it a vest / sleeveless top, and added ribbing at the neck and armholes.

My sister said that it’ll go well with a white shirt. (Now when I mention this vest to her, I say “the one that goes with a white shirt.”) I must say I like the combination! ๐Ÿ™‚

Vintage vest

I still have scraps of yarn left from this project, and they will go into a tiny project, or maybe something with crocheted squares.

Tiny triangles top

Hurrah! The top with triangles is officially done; I just finished weaving in the ends a few days ago. I’d kept thinking of this as my first multicolor project, but I realized when I saw an old, old tote bag that I’d knit — that was my first multicolor, stranded-knitting project. Of course, I didn’t know much about knitting then, let alone stranded knitting, and my now-‘experienced’ eyes see a few mistakes, but it’s still a beautiful bag, and kudos to younger me for experimenting so successfully. ๐Ÿ™‚

But I digress. That tote bag deserves a post of its own. (Add to things-to-post-about list — check.) Back to the tiny triangles top. Just in case you’re wondering — it’s the triangles that are tiny, not the top. Here’s a picture to prove that it’s human-sized.

Tiny triangles top

Tiny triangles top

Things looked fine while I knit the front and back pieces. I sewed them together using grafting at the shoulders and mattress stitch at the sides. Then, after repeated failed attempts with different bottom edgings,ย I realized that the edging just won’t sit well with this yarn, even if I made it longer. So I’ve just let the current short 1×1 rib be. It folds up but looks okay(ish), and I can always tuck it in.ย The compromises one makes, huh… And nope, the yarn doesn’t play well with blocking either. ๐Ÿ˜€

I still have a lot of the yarn left. I can’t think of any knitting or crochet project I’d want to use it for, since I don’t wear lacy stuff much (nor does my immediate family), and it’s too much work to make a non-lacy project with this thin yarn. So I’m making a different needlework project — a cross stitch one — from it. I still feel bad for the yarn that it’s not gonna turn into a clothing item. Any ideas for a quick-but-not-lacy project?

Triangles in the works

My first multicolor project (which I mentioned while talking about a different sweater) is still going on. Not the multicolor part — no, I finished that. Here’s how it looks…

Triangles top - front

I got the idea for the triangles when I saw a character in a TV series wearing a top that had a lot of triangles in it. And the only way I would get tiny triangles was if I knit using a fingering weight yarn. I did quick tests with some larger-weight yarns and didn’t like how they looked. The fingering weight yarn is silky, and as a result, my stitches don’t sit evenly, but I’m not too worried about that. Instead, I’m actually pretty stoked about the eye-catching stripes of triangles!

Anyway, that picture was of the front. I’m now knitting the back, and it’s not even multicolor, and that’s the part that’s pretty slow-moving. It’s made me swear that my next fingering weight yarn project (if ever there’s one) will be a lacy one. Something quick.

I’m knitting a few rows of this every day most days, and inching closer to completion. Kinda reminds me of the song Waves by Mr. Probz — “Wave after wave, wave after wave… I’m slowly drifting…” For this project — “Row after row, row after row… I’m slowly knitting…

Lacy Hearts cardigan — the back

I’m done with the back of the lacy hearts cardigan, and just like I mentioned in my previous post of the series, I added a small lacy pattern detail at the top of the back. A wise creative decision ๐Ÿ˜‰ since it makes the piece look not-so-plain. Check for yourself —

Lacy Hearts cardigan -- back

Lacy Hearts cardigan — back

I’m going to sew up the three front and back pieces at the top by making knit stitches with the sewing yarn. I’ve bound off all of the topmost stitches in all the pieces, but if I didn’t bind off the stitches that will need to be sewn up, it’ll probably make the sewed edge look a bit nicer. I’m not going to undo the bind-off this time, but this is something I’ll remember for my next knit-in-pieces project.

To join the pieces at the sides, I’ve decided to use the mattress stitch — I’ve never used it before, and all my sewed edges so far have been very visible. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like knitting bottom to top in pieces.

The other reason I’m not too fond of knitting in pieces is the sleeve shaping, which I’ll have to embark on next. It goes great from the cuffs till the armholes. Then comes the tough part of knitting the sleeve to fit the sleeve hole correctly. I did the calculations by myself for just one project, and I was not pleased. That was for a super-lacy project, though, so the holes in the lacy pattern kinda masked the results of incorrect measurements. I can tell you that the calculations seem easy in theory / in my head, but for an amateur knitter trying to create her own pattern, it does get messy at times.

A simpler method, of course, would be picking up stitches around the armhole and knitting from top to bottom, but I want to figure out those sleeve-shaping calculations, so the difficult way is probably what I’ll go with. One has to keep trying and learning from past mistakes, or how will great things come about, right? ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, wish me luck for the sleeve shaping, and as always, I’ll let you know how that (mis?)adventure goes.

Lacy Hearts cardigan — front left

Alright! The front-left piece of the Lacy Hearts cardigan is finally done. And it mirrors the right piece! ๐Ÿ˜› Just look at them, so happy together!

Lacy Hearts sweater -- front pieces

Lacy Hearts sweater — front pieces

My sister feels I finished this piece pretty quickly, although I feel it’s been ages since I started. Only one of us is right, of course… ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m still trying to make the instructions for this sweater easier to understand. I was afraid that I’ll have to jot down umpteen versions of the pattern — one with three hearts (the bottom), one with two hearts for the right piece, one with two hearts for the left piece, and one with a single heart (the top) — all these versions differ slightly from one another. But then, the two-heart version on the left is almost the same as the right one, it just starts from the middle of the right-pattern. Thankfully, I found that I could keep the instructions fairly readable even if I mention just one of the two-heart patterns.

I’m thinking of somehow incorporating the hearts pattern in the back of the sweater too. Not as a vertical stripe, of course — just a little bit towards the top of the piece. I really love how nice that pattern is. (Here’s the closeup again.)

Lacy Hearts cardigan -- pattern closeupI’m happy I’m managing to knit at least a few rows every evening (though the number of rows will reduce now because the back piece is double the width of the front one. ๐Ÿ˜€ ) The feeling of progress is so satisfying, and keeps me excited about the project.

So how do you keep yourself from tiring of your long-running projects?

Lacy Hearts cardigan — front right

The cardigan is coming along nicely. My main concern here was about finishing the lacy design — the design would invariably meet the neck decrease at the top, and would have to end. And it would definitely not look so good then. So after some consultation with my mom (the cardigan is for her, after all!) I decided to taper the design away from the neck whenever they get too close to each other. That way, the design can run all the way to the top.

I’m done with the front right part of it now, and it doesn’t look half as bad as I thought! ๐Ÿ™‚

Lacy Hearts cardigan -- front right

Lacy Hearts cardigan — front right

I have my doubts about the sleeve shaping, but it matches the reference sweater that I use — my mom likes how comfortable this reference sweater is — so I’ll just go along with it.

Here’s a closeup of the pattern —

Lacy Hearts cardigan -- pattern closeup

I’ve been trying to write instructions for this cardigan, but with this new tapering design coming into the picture, they are beginning to get verbose. I’m not giving up hope yet — I’ll just have to figure out how to make them easier to understand. Piece of cake, right? ๐Ÿ™‚