Some projects take a lot of planning and forethought. And some happen on a whim. My latest sweater was firmly in the latter category.
Over the holidays, my mother-in-law gave me a very generous Barnes and Noble gift card for my birthday, which falls directly between Christmas and the new year. I spent a portion of it on Clara Parkes' latest book and the Winter 2017 issue of Pompom Magazine. Several things in there caught my eye, chief among them the Bindrune Cardigan by Amy Christoffers.
There is a lot to love about the design - the colorwork portion along the bottom of the body and sleeves, the shawl collar, the long length - and within a few days I'd purchased the yarn required (Lettlopi), knit a substantial swatch and cast on one of the sleeves.
I had a lot of problems with this sweater, some anticipated and some not. (If you follow me on IG, you might have seen some of these problems chronicled already).
I had problems both with the sweater design and construction (anticipated) and also gauge and fit (not anticipated).
- The pattern calls for body of the sweater to be knit back and forth, including the colorwork portion at the bottom. I wanted to do that part in the round, so I cast on extra stitches with the intention of cutting a steek once I was past that part.
- The button band is knit along with the body in the original design. Because I did part of it in the round with a steek, I had to pick up stitches for the button band later.
- The pattern calls for knitting the sleeves in the round and sewing them onto the body. I decided to pick up around the armholes and knit down. The benefits were twofold: I both avoided the extra seam and was also able to check the length as I went along.
One unanticipated issue was that I twisted the stitches when I cast on for the body. Since I was going to cut it anyway, the twist was annoying to knit around but not going to be permanent.
Once I cut the steek (my first ever!), unfortunately, I held up what I had knitted so far and realized that it was going to be tight around my hips and very unflattering. Here's where problems with the design itself come in. The sweater is designed to be long (below the hips) with no shaping whatsoever in the body. I had chosen the smallest size because it would give me a couple of inches of ease in the bust, which meant it was going to pull across the butt. Not attractive! I should have anticipated that, but didn't. Had I chosen a larger size overall, it would have fit in the hips but been totally oversized in the bust and shoulders. And I don't care what the trends are lately, but I hate tops that are too loose and oversized because they feel (and look) sloppy on me.
In fact, look at the photos from the magazine. If you look closely, you can tell the sweater really is too big for the model, and in none of the pictures are the buttons closed, because I think that would emphasize how it's designed to be loose in the bust and not so much in the hips.
Anyway, what I decided to do was start over, knit the second size for the bottom portion of the sweater, then decrease to the smallest size for the top half, giving the cardigan more of an A-line shape.
I also had gauge issues on the sleeves and had to go up a needle size.
It worked. Even with all the problems and re-knitting, I went from start to finish in about three weeks and was wearing my new sweater by the end of January.
I love it. Love it love it love it.
I wasn't sure how much I'd like the drop-shoulder construction, but there are short rows to slope the shoulders so there is no extra fabric bunching up around the arms.
If I didn't have so many other things I want to knit, I would be tempted to knit a second sweater plain with the same construction for another basic cardigan. I like the fit that much.