Saturday, October 31, 2009

Flaming Featherweight

Pattern: Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fetig
Yarn: Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb - exactly 2 balls.
Needles: US3
Completed in just under one month to wear in celebration at a wedding :)

Comments and Modifications - because you know there had to be some! The biggest modification was probably the substitution of yarn - lacey lamb is a true laceweight yarn - probably not quite cobweb, but definitely much finer than the Malabrigo Lace yarn that was called for in the pattern. Due to the difference in the yarn thickness, I wound up coming down several needle sizes during the swatching process - I basically knit a gauge swatch, switching needle sizes as I went along, until I found a fabric I was happy with...and then I did math to figure out sizing.

This cardigan is an entirely seamless top down raglan - as such, the construction is quite simple and straightforward, though it does involve miles and miles of flat stockinette knitting :) Once I got to the point where the sleeves would join the body, I placed the spare stitches on cords to hold them, and wound up casting on a few extra stitches at the underarm (total of 6 for each side) to make up for the difference in gauge. Knitting through to the hemline, I added some moderate waist shaping before finishing with a seed stitch boarder. Keeping in mind that I wanted my front panels and collar to match the hemline, I took note of total number of rows knit to achieve the desired front panel/collar depth. Because I knew I planned on knitting to the end of the yarn. Instead of saving the front panel/collar for last, I bound off the hem and immediately began picking up stitches and knitting up the collar in seed stitch (this also made for one less end to weave in...always a bonus ;) ) As soon as the collar and front panels were done, I knit both sleeves, simultaneously from either end of the ball - I finished with less than a yard of yarn to spare once the cuffs were bound off (also done in seed stitch).

Before blocking, the hem was somewhere around hip level on me - I did not anticipate quite the amount of stretch the fabric had once it had gotten wet, though it all worked out in the end because the sleeves were in an in-between zone somewhere between mid forearm and wrist - I aggressively blocked the sleeves longer and they are now a perfect length. If I had it to do over again, I'd consider knitting to smaller dimensions and reducing the number of raglan increases. With the fabric growing considerably during the blocking, this cardi has a bit of excess through the underarm/bust area that would definitely be improved by not completing quite as many increases - though it fit perfectly in this region before it hit the water.

You may notice that my cardigan also is a bit longer in the front - this was not intentional, and was also a result of blocking - and the difference in behavior of stockinette vs perpendicularly knitted seed stitch in laceweight. I'm actually rather pleased with how it came out. This cardigan can be dressed up or dressed down to suit, and I hope to get lots of wear out of it :)

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