Today is my Monday, and I thought what better way to start the week than to show you all another FO? Yay! Another FO! Happy happy, joy joy!! Oohh...I just totally dated myself there. Ouch. I'm getting old. Anyhoo, this here is my darling Akoya cardigan. I am seriously in love with this cardigan and even more so in love with the designer, Carol Feller of Stolen Stitches (I just heard some of you gasp...yes, this is not a Veera Välimäki design!). I honestly cannot say enough nice things about this pattern. It was such a joy to knit and I truly was sad when I had bound off the last stitch of the entire project. The pattern was so very well written that not once did I get confused or questioned what the designer wanted me to do. I thoroughly appreciated that stitch counts were constantly given throughout, they really made me confident in knowing that I was on the right track. My confidence levels were boosted even more when I actually got the correct stitch count each time too! To say that I highly recommend this pattern is quite the understatement!
I know I say this for pretty much every project I've knit (except for Nuvem), but Akoya really did fly off the needles. If I hadn't taken a week or so off to knit on other things, I think I could have finished this project in less than a month. Oh yeah...it was just that enjoyable of a knit which makes it fly that much faster. I learned from previous cable experiences to mark off each cable section, repeat, and side seam with stitch markers so that I could keep track of what I was doing and where abouts I was in the pattern. The trellis lace at the center front really helped to break up the monotony of the stockinette body, so much so that I was taken by surprise when I had reached the 14" mark.
I was surprised again when I had finished the sleeves in the same quick manner. I honestly thought that once I was done the lace and yummy cable part, I would have to force myself to carry on and get the boring stockinette portion completed. But you know what? I didn't have to force myself to do anything, I actually wanted to hurry up and get the sleeves done. My motivation:
Yup. The gorgeous cables on the chest were begging me to knit the sleeves faster so that I could join the whole shebang together. One of the things that I love about knitting a bottom up cardigan or top is knowing that once I join the sleeves to the body or once I get past the armpits, it won't be much longer until the project is finished and will be off the needles. And this project was no different. If I thought knitting the body and the sleeves were fast, the yoke had knit up even faster!
I totally blame the cables. They were just so much fun to knit. And addicting too. I just couldn't stop knitting, I just had to see how the cables were going to build up! And once they were done I felt oh so clever. Man, I love cables. I really, really do. I think I need to knit more projects featuring cables. I just get such a high from having to use a cable needle and get all giddy when I get to the part when I have to cross a cable. Is that weird? Tell me I'm not the only one!
Once those front cables were done it was decrease city from there on in, which meant the rest of the knitting would go by quickly. So of course I couldn't put the cardigan down until I had bound off all but the last stitch of the neck line. I know some people hate it, but I actually love picking up stitches. This experience is made even better when the designer tells you how many stitches need to be picked up and it actually works. I did have some trouble with the button hole band, but that was all purely my fault and not at all because of the pattern. I should have known better than to try to pick up stitches at 2am in the morning when I was completely exhausted and could barely keep my eyes open. I should have also stayed away the next morning when I made a few more attempts. But I'm annoyingly stubborn and 4 tries later I finally got it right. Lucky for me the left button band was easy peasy and was knit right the first time!
Now, don't go thinking that all the fun is only on the front of the cardigan. Those lovely cables that you see above the bottom ribbing is also featured on the back. So simple and yet so elegant...
I had made only 1 modification to the entire pattern, and that was to go down a needle size for the trellis lace and cable on the sleeves. Before casting on this project I had perused the projects on Ravelry to see if anyone had any problems with the pattern and if anyone made any major mods. The only one that really stuck out was the advice to use smaller needles on the lace and cable portion to prevent that area from bulging out too much...especially in an area where you don't want any excess bulges...but I had totally forgotten about this advice until after I had finished the body (of course!). But I remembered on the sleeves. I think switching to a smaller needle worked beautifully. The lace section doesn't puff out and I think the little bit of negative ease really helped to stretch the lace out enough to show off the design.
When I first thought about casting on this pattern I had initially wanted something bright but after some thought I opted to go with a neutral colour. The design is so elegant I thought that using anything overly colourful would take the attention away from the cables and lace. I kinda doubted myself for a while there after knitting the ribbing on the hem, thinking that maybe I was playing it too safe and was taking the boring route, but now that this project is done I'm glad that I decided to stick with the grey.
The yarn, in case any of you were wondering, is SweetGeorgia Yarns' Tough Love Sock (are you surprised?) in the colourway Slate. I had bought this yarn a few years ago when my SweetGeorgia obsession began. I'll admit, when I got it home I had regretted purchasing a sweaters worth because I really didn't think I would want to knit or wear a garment in such a neutral colour. Ha! Who knew that years later I would become obsessed with obtaining every single grey skein of yarn there is on the market?? Even though I absolutely LOVE colour and am drawn to bold and bright, I'm also drawn to the various shades of grey. It just goes with everything. To me, grey is the new black. And Slate is not just any plain ol' grey, it has this beautiful blue undertone to it. In some light it's like a steely blue. I've already paired up and made several outfits using Akoya with what I have in my wardrobe and reckon that once fall rolls around this cardigan is going to get a lot of use. Even though we haven't had much of a summer here in Victoria yet, is it wrong to admit that I can't wait for fall so that I could wear this cardigan?
Pattern: Akoya by Carol Feller
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock
Needles: Signature Needle Arts Circular in 3.25mm (US 3) and 3.5mm (US 4)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Akoya