Monday, 20 February 2017

The Christmas cardigan that wasn't

In 2013 my dad asked me to make him a Norwegian pattern cardigan, knitted of course. I happily complied.
I took many many measurements of a cardigan he liked, to get the sizes right. We agreed on a pattern (here) with some modifications, mostly the patterning on the body and sleeves. I bought a metric crapton of yarn, a really nice merino in black, white, red and gray.
All the guides said that the stranded knitting was best done in the round, to keep the tension even, and then steeked (cut) right up the middle. I read countless blogs and guides on doing this too. I've come to the conclusion there's a reason there's an "eek!" in the middle of that word.
I rearranged the pattern so that I could do the yoke in the Elizabeth Zimmerman way, and make it go nicely across the shoulders and around the back without weird decreases messing up the pattern.
I knitted steadily for... I think it was about 3 months. It was a bit narrow but I figured that a band in the middle would fix that after I steeked it.
Then... I had finally knitted together everything, body and sleeves. The big day came, and I bravely took a hot bath to calm my nerves, then cut... my... knitting.

I then knitted on a rather broad edge, as it was indeed a little narrow. I had a friend sew on the band around, to make it nice and neat. I washed and blocked it carefully to make it nice. I told myself that it would look OK on him after all this careful work.
Of course when you "tell yourself" something about knitting, it's usually a sign that deep down you know otherwise. This turned out to be true in this case too, as in the end the cardigan was just... wrong.
Too long, too narrow, sleeves too tight and with a weird bulging around the shoulders. I think it's still my most disappointing project, and it's taken it till now to get over my inertia and do something about it. Luckily I bought the yarn for another one when I found out it was wrong, so I can remake it with the same yarn.

I'm going to Norway in May though, and I really really want to bring my dad a finished (and NICE!) cardigan.
So. Luckily I took pictures of all my measurements of the cardigan last time, so I had something to work from still. I bought previously a Craftsy class about sizing patterns for knitwear, which is amazing and walks you through what feels like advanced calculus to make sure your knitting actually fits.
I'm not steeking (because i can't handle the thought of ruining that amount of  yarn again) so I'm knitting back and forth, with stranded knitting. Luckily I'm pretty good at keeping an even tension on right and wrong sides of the knitting, and purling stranded knitting isn't bothering me too much. Of course it takes some concentration, but on the balance, I prefer it to the thought of all that cut yarn.
So far I've done one front panel. It's been soaked in water to relax the yarn and is now drying as flatly as possible so I can see what it'll look like when it's all done. I THINK it's looking better, at least the width measurements are good now. I'll check more when it's dry. If it doesn't turn spectacularly wrong, I'll do a very happy dance. If it does, I might lose my head and burn it. And then Peti will probably complain about the smell (burning merino! yum!), but it'd be worth the satisfaction.

All of this is a long winded way to say that I've been sidetracked a bit from Finish-Or-Frog, and my current count is 22 (because I found another project I'd forgotten about). On a plus note, I've finished the two panels for the poncho, and I'm working on an edge pattern, I just don't know if I have enough yarn for the current one I'm trying. Stay tuned!

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