Everyday Cardigan II

A followup to this post where I discussed the various versions of this I made. This one is in Sapphire Jade cashmere-silk two ply, and was ordered as red, but is clearly quite orange. Never mind, I like it. It is super-fragile yarn and I’ve done it no favours knitting it at a very loose gauge. But while it holds up, I love it. The original pattern is from Taiga Hilliard Designs

Manny took some pictures today. This is Geneva in early October. Beautiful!

Everyday cardi in Jade Sapphire  (14)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (10)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (9)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (8)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (7)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (6)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (5)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (4)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (2)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (1)
Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (13)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (12)

Everyday cardi inJade Sapphire  (11)

Everyday cardie – aka how I spent my summer

There is more on this in another post here.

Everyday cardi in Louet linen-wool
Everyday cardi in Louet linen-wool

I came back from Australia this year with a lot of rather garish (by my standards, at least) print dresses. It prompted me into doing something I’d been thinking about for ages. Using bits and pieces of left over yarn to make small, light shoulder-coverers. It just goes to show what sort of summer it’s been here that I’ve had the time to knit seven of them.

My everyday cardigan collection.
My everyday cardigan collection.

From left to right:

Bouton D’or Caraibes Turquoise
Sandnes Garn Mini Duett 55% cotton 45% wool
Rowan Glace Red
Louet MerLin Sports Weight Goldilocks
Handmaiden Cashmere silk Purple
Jade Sapphire cashmere silk bought as red, clearly orange
Rowan Calmer green

Pattern: All Year Cardigan by Taiga Hilliard.
Yarn See above.
Modifications The pattern is my template, but that is, indeed, the point of the designer, so modifications are not only in order, but positively expected. I haven’t done anything very adventurous with those I’ve so far finished, but since they were prompted by busy prints, I thought simple was best. I’ve finish off the edges in garter stitch, 3/2 rib, 1/1 rib, stocking stitch. All of them have a gauge of about 19 st/4 inches; in the case of most of the yarns this means they make a nice drapey fabric. The major exception is Rowan Calmer, which was knitted exactly to gauge and is a much tighter fabric.
Thoughts I thoroughly recommend the pattern, if you are looking for a template rather than a precise specific look, such as Wispy. I’m not suggesting this lacks as a pattern, only that it permits you to take it wherever you like. I’ve worn all of these a lot, which I guess means the idea works. I can pack several of them in a suitcase and they weigh all of a few hundred grams between them. Needless to say, these can be knitted as long as short as you like, and being constructed top down means little fretting about amounts of yarn. The least yarn I had was about 360m of the Handmaiden.

Everyday cardigan in Jade Sappphire cashmere/silk.
Everyday cardigan in Jade Sappphire cashmere/silk.

More on the yarns.

(1) I hate knitting with pure cotton, being yet to find one that’s nice to the touch. The Bouton D’or was discontinued and it’s easy to understand why. Glace is no fun to knit but at least the end result is okay to wear.
(2) I picked up the Sandnes Garn Mini Duett in Stockholm a couple of months ago. It was a pleasure to knit with – I guess it is pretty much the same as Rowan’s Wool Cotton. I’m hoping it wears well, but it feels too nice and soft to have such expectations.
(3) I love MerLin, it is such a shame Louet discontinued it. The combination of wool and linen works really well. This is the only one of the seven versions of this that has my unconditional enthusiasm.
(4) The Handmaiden cashmere silk is going to look awful soon, but a delight to knit. I hate the striped effect, I might add. Exactly why I steer clear of hand dyed less than solid effects.
(5) The Jade Sapphire is solid in colour, also a joy to knit and wear. It looks like it might be a little more robust than the Handmaiden, but it hasn’t been taken out as much, so it’s a bit early to tell.

Everyday cardie in Rowan Glace
Everyday cardie in Rowan Glace

Zahedra by Robin Melanson

Remember the days when one hung out for the next issue of Interweave Knits? Rushed it down to your local coffeeshop to pour over it with friends, analyse it all to death, intend to knit just everything in it? Those days have well and truly gone.

I will never go electronic in preference to hard print and continue to buy knitting books whenever one comes out that takes my fancy – though I do think every publisher should take the Ysolda route and provide the .pdf version free with hard copy books. The thing about magazines, however, is not that the format is outmoded since for me it isn’t, but that magazines are no longer the best source of good patterns. The online opportunities are fabulous for designers now, firstly to completely go it alone, or secondly to use the sites like Ravelry, Patternfish or Twist Collective, which is the source of Zahedra. For now, at least, Twist Collective has the highest standards of the various online pattern conglomerations. I look forward to the quarterly installments of their online publication the way I used to do with the magazines.

Zahedra on a grey winter's day in Geneva.
Zahedra on a grey winter’s day in Geneva.

It’s been a good while since I wrote up knitting for my blog, but since nobody has finished one of these yet, maybe my thoughts will come in handy.

Zahedra on a grey winter's day in Geneva.
Zahedra on a grey winter’s day in Geneva.

Pattern Zehedra A great, well written pattern. When I observed the back is worked across 4 charts and some non-chart stitches as well, I wondered already if this was for the too hard basket, but what a snivelling coward I am. Within a few rows the pattern is so easy that you don’t need the charts at all and the various stitch markers to help wend you way through the charts can be discarded too. It is perfectly simple to fit in the side shaping with the repetitions of the larger chart. Really, it couldn’t be more straightforward.

Yarn Karabella Aurora Chunky has come in for some flack on Ravelry: at 50m a ball, you do not want ANY joins and evidently that is far from what people are finding. I used 23.5 balls for this jacket and 5 of them balls had joins: a couple half way through or so, a couple close to the end. Not the end of the world, I found the very short pieces useful, but still. This is an expensive yarn and I think we can be fussy about it. It would be so much better if it came in 100g balls. The yarn itself is fantastic, like its sibling Aurora eight. I have several jumpers made of this, a couple of which have been worn many many times over five or so winters and they look about new. If this line had the quality of Debbie Bliss’s or Jo Sharp’s colour palettes as well as the variety, it would be the perfect wool. That’s speaking as one who finds most wool impossible to put to the skin, whereas this is never an issue with Aurora. Do you want to know if I felt like that half way through darning in almost 100 ends? YES. I still felt like that.

Modifications I shortened the ribbing of the sleeves as I needed to cut a couple of inches off their length and wanted that in proportion. I used 5.5mm and 6mm needles, a little smaller than recommended for this yarn. Again, because of the concern about stretching – the jacket weighs over 1 kg – I thought maybe tightening up the gauge a little would be a good thing.

Thoughts First of all, If you are using pure wool, as I was, this is a heavy garment. I suggest ignoring the instructions to attach the back and fronts together before embarking upon the button bands: do them first, they take a while and it will be much lighter, easier work.

Zahedra on a grey winter's day in Geneva.
Zahedra on a grey winter’s day in Geneva.

I made the mistake of changing the type of button holes without changing the placement to match: stupidly, starting from the bottom, I made the first hole 5 stitches in – that is fine doing so from the top of the button band, but NOT the bottom!!!

There are so many different traps to fall into if you start messing around with patterns. My gauge is smaller than recommended with a two-fold result: firstly I have nothing like the positive ease the pattern suggests – that is, 4-6 inches. I erred on snug deliberately, not really intending as snug as it is, but being concerned that a stretchy stitch in a heavy yarn would lead to stretching in the fullness of time. I love it like it is, as it makes it an inside cardigan as well as a warm out-doors affair.

Zahedra on a grey winter's day in Geneva.
Zahedra on a grey winter’s day in Geneva.

Today I was in it, wandering around Geneva at about zero – it was snowing – with only a blouse on underneath and I wasn’t as warm as toast, but nor was I cold. Impressive! The other effect of the gauge difference, however, is that maybe the pockets are a little too narrow: I would have liked them an inch or so wider and this would have been simple to achieve if I’d realised the implications of what I was doing.

All in all? I am really awfully happy with this. Robin Melanson is a great designer, not one of the super trendy ones around at the moment, but I want things that last and this retro jacket is just the ticket how can retro ever get outdated? Not only that, I am tired of the trend to one piece knitting. Seams and sewing are intrinsically important parts of knitting, they add structural integrity as well as lines that look good. Not to mention places to weave in ends: I had almost 100 (yikes!!) to darn in and having a seam to direct the ends to makes a huge difference. It’s a nightmare trying to hide them in seamless knitting. And constant knitting in the round with an increasingly cumbersome and heavy item is another thing to be balanced against an hour’s sewing up. It’s the sort of thing Melanson has her own views on and she talks about them in the Twist Collective blog here

Which reminds me, to end with a confession, although Robin recommends backstitch for the sleeves I muddled about with mattress stitch of a sort and I feel like it is okay. I have an aversion to backstitch because my very favourite designer in the world does, but that’s a story for another time.

Thanks to ace camera man, Manny, for coming out in the cold with me.

Nantucket Jacket

You know the one…cover feature of Interweave Winter 2006. Norah Gaughan at her best. Intricate without looking forced. Cables galore without looking chunky. I thought Jan would like to knit and and so she did. There are more pics on Ravelry, of course!

Pattern Nantucket Jacket by Norah Gaughan Interweave Knits Winter 2006.
Yarn Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran 13 balls for small size, every scrap used.
Modifications The sleeves are a little longer than the pattern requires.
Thoughts This is supposed to have a crocheted edging, but at the end of the main pattern, Jan, who knitted it for me, had a yard, if that, of yarn left! In fact I think it looks fine without so I’m not bothering to rectify the situation. I love this and I’m told it was fun to knit…

Another look at this cardigan

Tomorrow, actual pictures of a finished jumper! If I can get a decent shot. Meanwhile…

This is a fabulous Garnstudio pattern that Jan knitted for me a while ago.

I hadn’t realised that wearing it unbuttoned would be a good way of wearing this…so a couple of pics:

Garnstudio cardigan
Garnstudio cardigan

And…

A million miles away
A million miles away

I’m still thinking of knitting a black version.

Drops cardigan 88-25 finished

Drops 88-25 cardigan
Drops 88-25 cardigan

I started this in 2007, determined to finished it in 2008, but when I pulled it out and began again, I discovered to my disappointment that as soon as I’d finished the second sleeve I was on, the WS would become the RS. As my WS looked like a dog’s breakfast, this was a tragic development. I put it away again.

Dropss 88-25 cardigan
Dropss 88-25 cardigan

So, ADVICE 1 for this pattern: do remember right from the start that the WS will become the RS eventually. Anything dodgy you want to do, leave the WS well alone.

Drops 88-25 cardigan
Drops 88-25 cardigan

The pattern at various points says to cast off loosely. ADVICE 2: when the pattern says cast off loosely, you should cast off more loosely than you could imagine: either with a much larger sized needle and then loosely, or a couple of needles held together. This doesn’t matter so much for the cuffs of the sleeves, which, like me, you might prefer to be snug, but for the main border it is imperative.

Drops 88-25 cardigan
Drops 88-25 cardigan

I’m guessing that even if you are knitting a large size, this might apply, but it certainly did for the small: the pattern is very wasteful of yarn. Three of the colours use nowhere near a ball of each, and of the other two colours for my size I just started one and didn’t use the other at all. NB I was supposed to use a little of both of these, but I figured I’d leave one of the balls pristine. It didn’t matter in the least to the pattern. What does that mean? Well, maybe I could have made this full length – it still would have looked good. Or I should have done it in conjunction with somebody else so we could have shared some of the yarn. ADVICE 3: think beforehand about the options for the left-over yarn….I hate having so much yarn sitting about unused. Of course, this MIGHT only apply to the small size….

Drops 88-25 cardigan
Drops 88-25 cardigan

I’d never used Drops yarn before and I am really pleased with the ones purchased for this pattern. Click here for a list of retailers for this yarn. I think Australians are best off ordering from the UK now that the US exchange rate is so dismal for us.

Drops 88-25 cardigan
Drops 88-25 cardigan

Pattern Drops cardigan 88-25 The pattern is well-written as are all Drops patterns I’ve encountered. The colour scheme is lovely.
Yarn Drops Alpaca and Vivaldi
Modifications Almost not worth mentioning. The garment is knitted with two strands throughout, one of each type of yarn. In order not to start one of the balls of light seafoam alpaca I introduced the dark mint a few rows early for the border. Honestly, you wouldn’t even know I’d done it. Is that really mean, not wanting to start a whole ball for a couple of rows – mamma of rows as they were, around 300 stitches.
Thoughts I loved knitting this and am sorely tempted to try another in a different colour scheme.

Drops 88-25 cardigan
Drops 88-25 cardigan

This is supposed to be finished off with a couple of crocheted flowers. Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.

Drops 88-25 cardigan
Drops 88-25 cardigan

Sesame finished

This is a free pattern by Melissa Wehrle which you can get here.

Sesame by Melissa Wehrle
Sesame by Melissa Wehrle

Maybe this should be called Sesame Surprise. The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold, Chunky Al, and I purchased it for a Lavold pattern. Evidently I was the first one to knit it and when, a year after I purchased the yarn, I found out I was out by a huge amount because the yarn quantities are seriously misrepresented in the pattern, I had to figure out something else to do with it. One door closes and, ahem….

….Open Sesame. I had been wanting to make it for a long time and here was my chance.

Sesame by Melissa Wehrle
Sesame by Melissa Wehrle

The photos have done no favours to the colours. What looks like a washed out light blue here is actually a beautiful green-blue. In real life this looks much nicer.

Sesame by Melissa Wehrle
Sesame by Melissa Wehrle

Pattern Excellent pattern, enjoyable to knit, easy way to get into a bit of colour knitting.
Yarn Chunky Al by Elsebeth Lavold. I don’t think I’d want it against my skin, but for a chunky cardigan it is perfect. I’d certainly buy it again for similar projects.
Modifications None
Thoughts I’d like to try a long version of this. Can’t see why it wouldn’t be easy enough to make it maybe 12 inches or more longer.