Monday, November 26, 2007
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!