Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cable Cross-Country

Knit for the 2010 Winter Knitting Olympics, this cardigan was cast on during the Opening Ceremonies, and was bound off, blocked and seamed before the beginning of the Closing Ceremonies. While there were no knitting injuries this time round, there were several false starts, and some lost time due to motion sickness. Pieces of the sweater have traveled from the desert southwest clear to Florida (where I tested my tolerance of rollercoasters and motion-simulating rides, in addition to discovering what Portugese Man of War jellyfish look like when washed up on a beach) Even with the cross-country travel and the various do-overs, I found myself parked in front of the TV seaming up the cardigan during the Canada-USA Hockey game - once finished, we set the cardigan aside until an opportune moment for the finishing photo:

Sorry all the photos are so dark - looks like I'll have to try for some new photos during daylight hours to really show this sweater off.

Pattern: Cable Cardigan, from Erika Knight's Men's Knits: 20 New Classics
Yarn: Malabrigo Twist in Olive
Needles: US 10 and US10 1/2
Size: Small, with added length on sleeves.

Comments: Once I got going, this was a pleasure to knit. I opted to knit the pieces as written, with the exception of the sleeves, which I knit in the round while adding length before knitting the sleevecaps...and the collar, which I knit and attached as I went along....oh, and I grafted the collar together, instead of doing the recommended join...oh and made the 2 st cables mirror each other on each side, and opted for making 1-row buttonholes instead of how they were I guess maybe I did tweak it more than just a little ;)

One major error was found in the pattern while knitting - and that was the increase row for all pieces. As written, the increase row does not account for all stitches. It was easy enough to figure out where the stitches needed to be accounted for by referencing the next few rows -but to save folks some time, where the pattern reads [k1, inc in next st] (or [inc in next st, k1]) it should really be k2 in each of those instances in stead of k1. For the back, there are also 2 additional k1's - one before the first set of increases, and the other at the end of the last set of increases. The only other item I warn you about is that the author of this book is british - so double check your needle sizes. A US 10.5 and US11 are not the same size as english 10.5 and 11's probably best to reference the needle size in mm. I wound up using a lot less yarn than I thought I would - I don't know the reason for this, I only know that of the 10 skeins I expected to use, I only used 8.

But it still fits perfectly (again, perhaps hard to see due to the dark photo - I'll try to remedy this soon). Unlike my usual cavalier method of knitting sweaters (which involves the casting on of a sleeve and checking my gauge as I go), I actually swatched for this project...and not just swatched, but swatched, then washed, blocked and measured. Because I actually did this, I relied on math to determine total number of rows to knit to determine body and sleeve length - there were times during the course of the knitting that I was questioning this plan, but it all worked out (and it also saved me the aggravation of constantly digging out a tape measure to check progress).

Finishing was a little bit of a struggle - but mostly because I'm really rusty at seaming up projects - I tend to prefer seamless knitting when possible. The shoulders took a little bit of time because after I bound off the individual pieces, I decided a 3-needle bind off was the way to go to complete the join, so I had to pick back the bindoffs to make the appropriate stitches live again. Setting in the sleeves was actually less painful than seaming up the sides of the body - probably because I didn't keep a knitted selvedge and had moss stitch all the way out - once I started paying better attention to the columns of moss stitch, it made the seaming up go much faster. I'm very glad I devised a way to knit the collar straight onto the sweater body - partly because it reduced the final seaming, but also because it ensured that the collar was perfect length and not too long or too short - as I mentioned above, I opted to graft the 2 halves together once I got to the center of the back - it made for a much more beautiful finish, I think.