Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Minimalist Cardigan

A rare event: a knitting FO! And it only took me 2 months. The burst of speed is due to the fact that this is the project I took along for my train trip to the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Pullayup. There's nothing like 44 hours of train time to kick your knitting productivity up a notch.

I took the sweater for a test drive today and it worked well. Comfortable and warm. The 3/4 sleeves are long enough to keep my arms cozy but short enough not to get wet while I'm doing dishes.

This is Ruthie Nussbaum's Minimalist Cardigan from the August 2007 issue of Interweave Knits - with a few changes. The pattern has you do the body of the cardigan in moss stitch and the collar in stockinette. Ruthie Nussbaum used a merino/alpaca blend that is probably very smooth and drapey.

The photo that sold me on this sweater, snatched from Ravelry
I made this cardigan once before, from a variegated 100% wool yarn that I was in love with. The moss stitch body turned out to be great for a variegated yarn, because the texture of the stitch kept the colors from pooling. Sadly, the springy-ness of the wool meant that the stockinette collar rolled up like a garden hose. I did everything I could think of to relax that collar, with no success. Otherwise, I really liked the shape and fit of the cardigan.

This yarn is also 100% wool from stash, so I switched things out and did the body of the cardigan in stockinette and the collar in moss stitch. Success! The collar lays flat and hugs the back of my neck just right.

Back view - under my hair the collar is doing just what a collar should do
The pattern is designed so that you knit the sweater in pieces and seam them up at the end. Out of laziness I knit the body in one piece from the bottom up and divided for the sleeves. I didn't want to have to mess with making sure all my pieces were the same length when knitting while traveling.

I also added a little shaping by reducing 4 stitches every inch or so three times above the waist and adding those stitches back in at the hips.

Once everything was finished and blocked, I remembered the downside of knitting sweaters in pieces. Someone has to seam them together at the end. Theoretically, I know how to do this, but for the past 10 years I've only knitted top down, one piece sweaters. My seaming skills have degraded. A lot.

I asked The Man if he would think I was a big baby if I asked my friend Jessica, the Knitting Sensei, to seam up the sweater for me. He said No, he would not. So I did.

Now I owe Jessica my first born child.

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