Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Finished Mini Cardi

I may win the prize for "Slowest Knitting of a Minimalist Cardigan," but at least I can now say "IT"S DONE!"

Minimalist Cardigan
Pattern: Minimalist Cardigan by Ruthie Nussbaum
From: Interweave Knits Fall 2007
Yarn: 2-Ply Morehouse Merino/~ 6 skeins in Olive
Needles: KnitPicks Options US size 4
Modifications/Notes: I used sport weight yarn instead of worsted. Rather than rework all the numbers, I did a swatch, took a chance and simply followed the directions for the next size up, taking care to work to the lengths for my true size and not the larger size. I think my only other modification was to short row the shoulder shapings and seam them with a three-needle bind off. First I worried it would be too small, then I worried that it would be too big. In the end, I'm pretty happy with the fit and the overall look.

More photos at my blog.

Thanks to everyone here who posted motivational photos and answered questions and kept me going - even though you may not have known you were doing it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Finished and worn a while....

So, I finished mine actually about three weeks ago. I knit the 44.5 inch sweater. It is too big. Seems to be a theme for a lot of people. I saw that the model was wearing a 35" sweater and assumed I needed to knit something larger too because she is very willowy, and I liked the way it looked on her. Also, the sleeves are long. I am a towering 62 inches tall, so I automatically shorten sleeves. Still with a couple inches off the recommended length I wish they were a little shorter still.

I have worn the sweater quite a bit. I love it. The drape is nice. The overall weight is pleasant for when it is chilly. Highly recommend this sweater if you are looking for a very versatile cardigan and aren't afraid of moss stitch. :)

Friday, November 30, 2007

another FO to add

Mine is done as well! I even wore it today. Unfortunately, no one was around the take pictures when I put it on, so I give you the picture-of-self-in-the-mirror-without-flash version in all its glory.

yarn: Karabella Aurora 8 in turquoise
needles: size 7 straights
size: 35.5, but I should have made 34

There are a couple things I'd like to change, but overall I'm happy with it. Enough to wear it in public, anyway. My only real complaints are that mine also turned out a little long and the cuffs are too loose. This is all pretty much due to the fact that I should have made it one size smaller.

Surprisingly, as it turns out, it looks better with the fronts rolling. I even made them roll more to make it slightly smaller. The yarn worked beautifully and is so soft and cushy. I'm quite pleased!

More of the saga of the sweater on ravelry under twiceknit and soon to be on my blog.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My wrap-up

Valley Yarns Colrain, color "Chestnut" (109 yards per ball), ~7.2 balls
US 4 Knitpicks Options circular needles (32")

I knit the smallest size. My initial swatching showed that I was almost getting gauge with US 4 needles (the pattern recommends US 7). Instead of trying again on US 3's, I decreased the number of stitches I cast on for each piece to make up the difference. However, I neglected to alter the number of stitches involved in armhole and shoulder shaping, resulting in deeper armholes and narrower sleeve caps than desirable. Luckily both are still workable -- they're just not proportioned as nicely as they could have been. I used short-rows for shoulder shaping and did a 3 needle bind-off for each.

I also chose to add additional length (a half inch) to the fronts and backs (it has been my experience that sweaters are often too short on me if I don't add a couple of inches, at least). This turned out to be a bad idea.

After blocking it was too long/too big looking in general:
I hadn't taken into consideration the drapiness of the fabric or the fact that this cardigan is meant to be worn open over a shirt (and is not fitted at all). It hit in the middle of my butt, and looked like a limp red tent on me. Ooof.

Maddeningly, it looked OK (actually rather nice) with the fronts cinched together like this:
(although the back pooched out strangely around my waist in order to accommodate my buttocks)

I looked for a clasp, but was not happy with the clunky looking overly-fancy ones available, so I sewed on hooks and eyes to keep the fronts closed instead. Unfortunately, this focused too much tension on the hooks/eyes so that the fabric around them pulled rather disturbingly (no photo, sorry).

I took these off and made i-cord frogs, which I sewed to the fronts like this:

While they look nice just sitting there, frankly, they destroyed the minimalist nature of the Minimalist Cardigan (not to mention I attached them a little high, which made me look extremely flat chested and weirdly proportioned, and they looked kind of crooked). Soooooo..... off they came.

I decided that I needed to go ahead and crop the cardigan, or I was never going to get any wear out of it. I picked out the seams toward the bottom of the sweater and lopped several inches off the back and both fronts. Then I put the live stitches onto a needle and worked downward - adding about a half inch of the k2,p1 ribbing before binding off (I know this doesn't match the length of ribbing on the sleeves, but I was afraid of adding back too much length after my surgical escapade). When finished, I reblocked the bottom edge only.

Now, I may be completely batty, but I'm much happier with the way the sweater looks on me! Yay!

I may still add some kind of relatively invisible closure (I was thinking of putting a button or two on the inside of one front edge and a loop or loops on the inside of the other), so that I have the option of wearing my Minimalist Cardigan with the fronts cinched in.

Oh, yes. One last note: the ribbing at the cuffs wasn't tight enough to stay put if I shoved the sleeves toward my elbows a bit (which I am prone to do, and I think this looks better, anyway), so I wove some elastic thread inside each cuff -- much better!

Oops! Not quite done.... I just love the look and feel of this yarn -- it's buttery soft, and the tencel gives it such a nice sheen and drape. Highly recommended!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm alive!

So here's my long-overdue update on the progress of my Mini. I am done with the body and 1.5 sleeves (the last sleeve just doesn't want to be over with, I swear it's secretly working against me). I've already gotten a head start on blocking and seaming which has surprisingly been more of a pain than it really should be. Now I know I've definitely past my October 20-something deadline but you know, life happens. Anyway, progress picture! It fit perfectly here and after I blocked it, I found the length to be perfect but the body just a wee bit too wide and that's of course because I went with the 39" size for positive ease when I really should of gone for 36" which is waaaay closer to my actual bust size (37"). The end product is still going to be very wearable, though, and I'm pretty happy with the outcome thus far. And the color is delicious even if it might clash slightly with my red hair.

Would like to knit it...

Hello... My name is Donna and I would like to knit the Minimalist cardigan also. I haven't knitted in awhile so I may need help. I am going to swatch this afternoon. I have Ella Rae Classic on hand that I would like to use.

Your project are great and I thank you for your inspiration.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I feel like such an airhead.

I'm knitting my Mini body in one piece, fronts and back together. I'm up to the armholes, which for me in my sportweight yarn is 98 long rows of little moss stitches. I just discovered that I am not using the needles I swatched with. I'm using a size smaller. I only found out because I needed the size 3 needles for something else and couldn't find them. Guess where they were. Argh! I can't bring myself to rip all that moss stitch so I'm going to continue on with it and block the heck out of it. Should fit, at least until I have to wash it. I guess I'd better loose some weight before then! I still can't believe I did it.