Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fresh Off The Needles: Hooray Cardigan

Hooray Cardigan
Ok, so this project isn't exactly fresh off the needles.  The knitting and even the blocking was completed in October and has been sitting in a pile amongst other knits that need a few finishing touches on it before it can be considered an FO.  I know everyone has a different idea as to what would be labeled as a finished project and for me, in order for the project to be finished it has to be ready to wear.  As in all ends woven in, blocked, buttons sewn on...if I were to pick it up while running out the door I can quickly throw it on without worrying about needing to snip something off.  That's a finished project.  And well, this project just wasn't there yet.  It still needs buttons and some grosgrain ribbon sewn on.  My friend Andi was (lovingly!) bugging the crap out of me about just finishing the damn project so that I could show it off.  Yeah, I was being completely lazy about it.  She even offered to finish it for me!  I should've jumped at the chance, but again my laziness would make me forget to even bring the the cardigan to knit night.  Then one day last month I ripped apart my bedroom in search of something to wear and found nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I plopped on the bed feeling completely defeated and unfashionable, and wondering if this was the beginning of the end and when I start wearing "Mom Jeans".  Then my eyes fell upon the almost finished cardigan.  Such a's a gorgeous cardigan just sitting there totally unused simply because I couldn't be bothered to hand sew on some buttons...what's wrong with me?

That's when I decided that I didn't care that it didn't have buttons and grabbed a shawl pin.  I was going to wear this cardigan dammit, buttons or no buttons!  And so I did.  I've worn this cardigan a ton since and really haven't had an issue with the missing buttons.  I actually quite like using the shawl pin (and I finally get to use it!) and don't really mind the sagging ribbing at the top of the neck.

Hooray Cardigan - Shoulder

Before I go any further, I guess I should let you know what this cardigan is and some background deets.  In case you're not familiar with the design, it's the Hooray cardigan by Veera Välimäki.  Does that surprise you?  That's it's a Veera designed pattern?  I had started this project last March (I know, it's been a year?  What??) and never properly blogged about it, even though it has made two appearances in its own posts.  The first post was when I discovered a mis-crossed cable and was having a heart attack about it.  This was before I learned and had the guts to drop stitches and fix an error without having to rip back hours worth of knitting.  The second post was about the mess I had made of dropping the cable stitches and trying to re-trace my steps from not keeping track of where in the chart I had dropped down to.  Even though this is a relatively easy pattern (that is, if you're already familiar with cables and aren't trying to alter the design so much it becomes a completely different garment) I had learned a fair bit - how to drop stitches to fix a mistake 50 rows back, how to get an even and clean end on the i-cord bind off, and how to alternate skeins in a seamless knit without the insides looking like a rat's nest. One of the things I love so much about knitting: no matter how long you've been knitting, how advanced you may be, there's always something new to learn.

Hooray Cardigan - Back Shoulder

Once the cables were fixed I was back on track and it was nothing but smooth sailing.  I had picked the project back up at the end of September and at that time I was just a few inches down from the underarm (the cardigan is knit top down).  It took just a couple of weeks to finish up the body, sleeves, and the massive amounts of ribbing around the hem.  As happy as I was to bind off that last stitch, I was still a bit sad that the project was over.  This pattern was actually a fun knit and kept you on your toes with all that cable-y goodness.  And just for good measure, to make sure you're not snoozing, the bottom hem shaping at the front made sure you were on the ball.  The collar was definitely the most tedious part of the entire pattern since it was 8" of 2x2 ribbing, but in the end I liked how everything got enclosed without having to sew up a single seam.  You would think the ribbing at the hem would be the biggest hurdle since there's so much of it, but I found that having and seeing the body done makes knitting that ribbing not so painful.  Want to know something weird?  I actually loved knitting the i-cord bind off.  Regular i-cord, not so much a fan of.  But on a bind off?  Nothing but love.  Not only do I love knitting it but I absolutely love the look of it.  I think it makes the entire project look so polished.  Actually, I think it can make anything look polished!  Just be'll want to be loose around that curved hem part.  It'll make blocking this bad boy out a tad easier.

Hooray Cardigan - Hem

I used yummy and oh so squishy Madelinetosh Tosh DK for this project.  At first I wasn't so sure about the colour (it's Oxblood, for those inquiring minds), as I was imagining this cardigan in something slightly brighter and a little more red, but now that it's all knit up I'm totally loving it.  I had to alternate skeins because of the five that I had, one of the skeins was fairly dark and didn't have much red to it.  I divided up that skein and used it on the sleeves but I think it's still noticeable. To me I can still tell that the lower arms are darker than the rest of the cardigan.  It doesn't bother me though, I was smart this time and tried to make it symmetrical by using that dark skein on the lower part of both sleeves.  So it can be considered a design feature, right?

I didn't take a photo of it, but a part of me is a little sad that this cardigan is in reverse stockinette.  The "wrong" side of the fabric is simply gorgeous and really shows off the various hues of this colourway so nicely.  It's a shame that it has to be hidden!  Speaking of reverse stockinette, since I prefer to knit rather than to purl, I had knit the sleeves inside out to prevent having to do all that purling.  Ooohhh...yay for thinking ahead and made life a little easier!

Hooray Cardigan - Full Back

I really love this pattern and love how my version turned out.  The only mod that I did was changing the type of buttonhole used - I did a 1-row buttonhole instead of the eyelet version.  I kept all the shaping as is and think that the waist shaping hits my waist perfectly.  Although, if I were to knit this again I would definitely omit the hip shaping.  I wish I had taken a photo of it, but you can see it in the designer's photos on the Ravelry page here (there is one progress photo on my Ravelry page that kind of shows it), but the hip shaping creates these weird little flaps of fabric.  Completely unnecessary and really, I don't need any more attention drawn to my hips.  If I look in the mirror a little too long those flaps start to bug me.  I don't see the point of that particular shaping and think that if you were to take that bit out it wouldn't compromise the design or even the numbers at all.  I'm really tempted to grab a pair of scissors and chop those flaps off but knowing my luck the whole cardigan would unravel all cartoon styles.

Hooray Cardigan - Cables

Knitting and wearing this lovely work of art makes me want to knit another project involving cables.  It's so utterly satisfying to knit cables and makes you feel oh so clever, almost as clever as when you turn the heel on a sock.  Or maybe that's just me?  Anyone else feel this way?  Anyone?

Anyhoo, I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get around to actually sewing on the buttons.  I had some picked out but now that I've worn this cardigan a few times I'm not sure if they're the right ones.  I still want to sew some grosgrain ribbon along the top of ribbing to give it some structure and to help out with that drooping action that's going on.  I had also read that adding some ribbon where the buttons are placed will help keep the shape.  Hmm...I wonder if Andi's offer to do my finishings on this still stands? 

Hooray Cardigan 2
Cardigan Details:
Pattern: Hooray Cardigan by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK
Colour: Oxblood
Needles: Knit Picks Harmony Wood and Nickel Plated Interchangeables in 4.0mm (US 6) for the ribbing and 4.5mm (US 7) for the body


  1. love! it looks great! and i totally agree about the waist shaping, before i blocked mine this weekend it looked like i'd knit two pouches for gigantic love handles... i was worried. and yes, cables make me feel clever too haha.

    1. Thanks Laura! :)

      I'm glad I'm not the only one with those weird little flaps! Let me know if yours calms down after a while.

  2. Aidez by Cirillia Rose. Cable heaven!!! So fun to knit but you must like seaming. I hate. But in the end it was all worth it.

    1. Ooohhh...I LOVE Aidez, but yes...the massive amounts of seaming involved in that is what's preventing me from knitting it. :( I think maybe I should look into a "knitting finishing" course or something. I think a lot of my fears is that I don't know what I'm doing and it sewing looks horrible! And is so bulky!

  3. Wow - stunning! You've done such an amazing job with this. Great colour choice too - looks fab on you. I want to grow up to knit like you. Heehee! Oh and I found those multi-compartment notion cases on for cheap - thanks for highlighting that style of container.

    1. Thanks Nina! :;)

      I'm so glad that you found the cases! And on the cheap! You're going to be so happy with them, and it'll make toting around your notions that much more easier. You'll wonder how you've managed to survive this long without one!

  4. What a beautiful sweater, I love your colour choice! And the sleeves aren't noticeably darker to someone who hasn't been knitting/staring at it for awhile ;)

    1. Hahaha...thanks Melissa! :) I'm hoping that after a while I'll just forget about the sleeves and will no longer be "looking" for the colour differences!

  5. I await your command with needle and thread in hand!

  6. Your cardigan looks fabulous! I have just finished the collar on my own version, and realise that I don't know how to read the pattern for the yolk-- How did you do the set up row? Without the cable setups, the live stitches = the amount I have now, at the end of the collar, but the set up row seems to call for the cable stitches to be set up as well... ??? Where do these extra stitches come from? Am I crazy?


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