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! πŸ˜‰

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.)

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Waves – no yarn-chicken game?

Waves WIP - sleeves are doneThe sleeves are done (at least the flat knitting part) and there’s some yarn remaining for a nice little button band. I’ve knit the absolute minimum dimensions that I wanted for the sleeves, and since there’s no chance I was going to compromise with them, it’ll have to be the button band that will need to be accommodating. I think it’ll knit up wide enough, but I’ll still measure the yarn and figure out if I want to modify the style slightly to work with the amount of yarn left.

In any case, I don’t think there’ll be enough left for seaming up and setting in the sleeves, but since that’ll all be on the inside of the garment, I think I’ll find some other similarly colored yarn for it. Or maybe use some thread — I’ve never done that before…

Ooh, I might end up not playing the yarn chicken game for this project, after all… That is, if I ignore the seaming part! πŸ™‚ Fingers crossed…

A slow month

Well, April seems to have been a bit slow as far as knitting goes. I managed to complete, in the eleventh hour, this month’s self-imposed commitments for the jewelry course I’m taking, but I don’t have any commitments for my knitting. It’s summer and super-hot, and not really ideal knitting weather. πŸ™‚

That doesn’t mean there’s been zero progress.

Waves - WIP, sleeves

I haven’t fully completed the body of the wavy cardigan I’m knitting for my mom, but I started on the sleeves. You see, I think I’ll end up playing yarn chicken when this project nears completion, so I want to maximize my chances of winning. πŸ˜€ This is the first time ever that I’m knitting both sleeves at once. I’ll knit them long enough to look good with the body, finish the body, and then it’s button band time. Let’s see how good my calculations are, and how well I can use the yarn.

Fingers crossed. πŸ™‚

Do-over pullover progress

The do-over of the old frogged sweater that I’d talked about earlier is coming along nicely. Like I wanted to, I changed the cable pattern for the new version. I’d used a uniformly twisting basic cable earlier — knit a few rows and then make a 3×3 twist on an RS row. This time I’m using a more slowly twisting cable — in every RS row, twist the same 3 stitches to the right by one stitch until the moved stitches reach the end of the cable column, then rinse and repeat by twisting the 3 leftmost stitches to the right again.

Here’s how one of the sleeves looks —

Do-over pullover

Do-over pullover — slowly twisting cable. The ‘edges’ are purl columns with a decorative seed stitch column amongst them.

Cables in the old one —

Frogged sweater

Frogged sweater — regular cable. (No close-ups because the sweater doesn’t exist anymore!)

I also didn’t turn the pattern around on the other sleeve (I did that in the old one), so the sleeves aren’t mirror images of each other. Over the years, I’ve found that I seem to like cabled sleeves better when both of them have the same pattern.

The hare and the tortoise

Yeah, except… there’s no hare, just the tortoise. πŸ˜› My knitting has been crawling along lately. I’ve either been immersed in other super-mundane things, or I’ve just been plain lazy. In any case, this is the progress I’ve made on the sleeves of the cardigan so far —

Slowest sleeve so far

For a while, I wore the piece as a wrist cuff and pretended I was a superhero, but now that it’s (sloooowly but surely) growing longer, I’ll have to go back to being normal. At least until I begin with the other sleeve. Hmm, now maybe that thought’ll make me get off my lethargic butt and finish this one.

Up, up and away!

Eyelet-patterned raglan cardigan – the sleeves

The Sleeve

The Sleeve

As I’d decided, I stopped knitting the body of the cardigan when it reached a respectable length, and moved on to the sleeves. My sister, in between trying on the in-progress piece again and again, said sometime that the body actually feels long enough to her. Or maybe she said it because she got tired of hearing “Here, try this on, and let me look and decide about various measurements some more…

I’d originally thought the sleeves would be regular stockinette stitches, but somewhere along the knitting process, I’d started to imagine them ending with the same eyelet pattern near the cuffs. Just a few repeats, no more, but patterned cuffs nonetheless. So that’s what I did, and I’m not disappointed. Now, one sleeve’s done (they’re 3/4 sleeves), and it’s time to think of a border that will look good. I tried out a border in my head and discarded it, and my sister didn’t like another border that I tried for real, but I’m sure I’ll think of something eventually.

While I think of finishing touches, I should mention here an important tip that I picked up after my first top-down cardigan turned out too hole-y at the underarms. The bane of top-down sweaters is a hole or two that usually tends to occur when one picks up stitches at the underarms. This is because the stitches in the column right beside the underarm get stretched way too much. You can see for yourself in a mirror when you lift up your arms sideways — it’s that point in your shirt near the underarm that gets pulled in all directions (literally.)

UnderarmThe trick to avoid the holes, or at least reduce them in my case, is to pick up extra stitches near the ends of the underarm pick-up stitches. If required, pick up more stitches near the ends of the sleeve stitches too. And twist these extra stitches while picking them up. (That is, make the left arm of the stitch lie at the front of the needle.) Very important. Not twisting will create more unsightly holes. Depending on how stretched the stitches are, you may need to pick up 2 or more stitches. Then, to reduce the stitch count back to the expected one, decrement as required. For example, k2tog for right-leaning decrease, or ssk for left-leaning one. If holes still remain, they might need to be sewed up in the end.

Now that this handy tip is out of the way… One more sleeve to go, and then the edgings, and the cardigan will be ready! Exciting times ahead… πŸ™‚