Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I Love It!

Sometimes most of the enjoyment from a handknit article comes from the actual knitting process. The finished item doesn't quite live up to our expectations so we rarely use it and we experience disappointment. All that knitting, not to mention the money for supplies, wasted.

This isn't one of those times.

This is one of those rare items that turned out BETTER than expected! I LOVE my new "One Stitch Cardigan". Looking at the photo accompanying the FREE pattern I was not sure I would like the fit and the style and was afraid to invest a lot of money finding out. If I had known it would turn out this well I would have spent the money for better quality supplies. Maybe next time I will make it in a nice, soft wool instead of ACKrylic.

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For an 100% acrylic yarn, this one isn't bad. It's Phentex Worsted in "burgundy". I knit the entire sweater (size small) with less than two 16 oz (454 g) balls. I have about half of the second ball left. I knew I'd have leftovers but it was cheaper to buy two giant balls than to buy less yardage in smaller balls.

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The fit is great and it is really comfortable. Maybe someday (when enough time has passed for me to forget the miles and miles and miles of garter stitch) I'll knit this pattern again with better yarn and in a more neutral, goes-with-everything kind of color. It will have to wait a while though. The pain of all that boring garter stitch is still too fresh in my memory!

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My one splurge on this project was the handmade, enameled copper buttons. I picked them up at Fireworks Enamelled Copper in Crawford Bay, B.C. I also bought coordinating earrings. They have the same color pattern but are a different shape.

I made a few alterations to the pattern.

  1. I knit it all in one piece rather than with a separate back and fronts so that I could eliminate the underarm/side seam. I placed stitch markers where the side seams would have been and then I increased one stitch on each side of the markers when directed to "increase one stitch at each end of every RS row".
  2. Because of the way the pattern is designed there would also be a seam on the top of the arm. I tried various seaming methods, including a 3 needle bind off, and was unhappy with the results. In the end I eliminated the seam altogether by leaving the stitches live (rather than casting them off) and then grafting the two edges together. Tedious and time consuming but WAY better looking!
  3. I really like the edging treatment and decided that, for a truly finished look, the edging needed to go around the cuffs, across the pockets, and all along the lower edge in addition to the front and neck edge specified in the pattern.

Other than that I did the pattern as written. Although the garter stitch got boring and seemed to go on forever, if you are looking for a "mindless" project for in front of the TV or for a long road trip, this might be the one for you. I might even make it again myself......a l-o-n-g time from now.


Leisel said...

It does look great on you... and you're right. You can't tell from the pattern website what a nice sweater it will turn out to be.

Hockey Mom said...

It's beautiful and very lovely on you. What are you going to do now to recover from all the garter stitch?

Maggie Ann said...

I love your recommendation of this pattern. It sure looks wonderful on you! I've just gone over and copied off the pattern. What about the pockets? Are they something I should skip? I've never tried pockets. And, then there's my problemm with gauges. A local knitting teacher told me to take apart a sweater that did fit me well, and lay it out and as I knit my current sweater just keep adjusting till they were the same. I guess that would work if the style is the same. What do you think about that advice Marlene? I'm glad I saw this post...maybe this pattern will work for me. Thanks for sharing!!

kristo said...

wow mom that looks great!

Marlene said...

Maggie Ann, in answer to your questions:

No, don't skip the pockets! They are easy enough to do and the instructions are good. You shouldn't have any problems. If you do, email me and I'll try to help.

If you have problems with keeping your gauge consistant there is nothing you can do but practice, practice, practice. (And this cardigan will give you LOTS of practice!) It helps if you run the yarn through your fingers rather than using the fist-clasp method so favored by beginning knitters. I think you should relax into your knitting and let your gauge be what it may. If you fight to knit looser or tighter than what comes naturally then you end up with an inconsistant gauge that can't be trusted.

I would never take apart a sweater that I LIKED! You can take measurements off of it without ripping it apart. Other than that, yes I agree SOMEwhat with what the teacher said. I use sweaters I already own and like as a guide for those I plan on making. The thing you have to remember is that the thickness and drape of the knitted fabric, as well as the intended style, have a lot to do with how large you should aim for. I would knit a close fitting, elasticy summer shell much smaller (even smaller than actual body measurements) than I would a cardigan meant to be worn over other clothing. A bulky yarn will require more "ease" than a fine one too. All these things must be taken into consideration.

If you are really worried about size, once you have several inches knit, transfer all your stitches onto a cord or ribbon, tie it securely, and then actually try the piece on. If it's not right STOP, rip, and reknit more appropriately.

If you get the lower edge of this pattern going and it seems to fit well, the rest will be a breeze. It is the nature of a dolman sleeve to be nearly fit-free in the upper body. Like a raglan, you have no shoulder seam to concern yourself with. The bust fitting is also very general as it has all that extra dolman sleeve roominess.

Go for it Maggie! It will take a while so be sure to include "patience" in your bag of tools.

Marlene said...

Hockey Mom,

I'm knitting "W" from "Knitty" in a fun, multi-toned, boucle yarn. Unbelievably it has a lot stitch. It's redemption comes from the interest provided by constant short rowing and an interesting and unfamiliar construction method.

Michelle said...

Wow, you make such a simple cardigan look fantastic! Love the buttons.

Isabelle said...

You're amazing. I love the way you say that you did it according to the pattern except (a whole lot of changes). Hmm. I write as someone who, on the few occasions when I've knitted things, have to do so with fierce concentration and my tongue sticking out the side of my mouth. Anyway, your jumper (as we'd call it in Britain) looks lovely on you.

Maggie Ann said...

Thanks Marlene, for the knitting advice and encouragement. I'm going to give it a try. I have some red 92% rayon...8% polyester ..(its stretchy) Patons..Katrina. About 6 balls of you think I could use this or would it have to much weight? And would I have enough of this yarn I wondor?

Marlene said...

Maggie Ann, check your total yardage against what is required for the pattern. This pattern uses a little more than you might expect because of the extra depth of the sleeves in the upper arm area.

As far as the weight of the final garment goes, I'm not familiar with Katrina. Knit up a good sized sample (4 or 5 inches at least) and see if you like the resulting fabric. Check things like it's firmness or drape at the required gauge. Can you picture it as a sweater? Not all yarns that you can get gauge with will necessarily make a good substitute. This sweater was designed for a yarn that (although it has a high acrylic content) looks, feels, and drapes like wool. If you stray significantly from the suggested type of yarn your results might be dramatically different.

PJ said...

I love it, too! I also like your full description about it- NICE WORK!

Marlene said...

Isabelle, although my description got a bit lengthy, there really is very little that I changed about the actual garment. My changes mainly had to do with construction techniques (eliminating seams). The only change I made to the actual design of the sweater was to use the edging treatment in a couple of extra places. The style and fit of the cardigan is still exactly as the designer intended.

JoeyJoJo said...

Marlene, you're a star. Pies & cardies too. Great work.Your man deserves you. xxxx

Zippianna said...

That's sweater has a beautiful fit and look. Boy I like that color, too.

Congrats on a great job of knitting.