Thursday, November 6, 2014
Knit In Progress: Harvest Cardigan
For a while now I've been talking about how I wanted to get back into sweater knitting, especially since the past few months I've been knitting nothing but socks and shawls. To get the ball rolling I had combed through patterns on Ravelry, re-organized my queue, tossed the stash for inspiration, and wrote up a list of knits that I want to knit now (which is totally not an easy feat!). No surprise, there's a fair amount of patterns that I'm just dying to knit up but I realized that almost all of those patterns require fingering weight yarns. If I want to get really motivated and back into the swing of sweater knitting I know that I need an instant gratification project - meaning: worsted weight or heavier and a simple pattern that would knit up somewhat quick and easy. I took another dive into the stash and I came upon a sweater quantity that caught my eye.
Four years ago I purchased a few skeins of Madelinetosh's Steam Age colourway in the Vintage base, thinking that I will eventually knit it up into a cozy cowl or something of that sort. Shortly after the skeins arrived in the post I decided that I loved the colourway too much to wear it in a mere accessory form. So I searched the internet and scored a few more skeins to make up a sweater quantity. I have no idea what I was thinking since I've never knit a garment using variegated colourways before and didn't think I ever would (I can't handle not being able to control the pooling or flashing within the knitted fabric other than on socks), so I really surprised myself when I made this move.
It took fours years though to finally find a pattern that I think will let the colourway shine without being fussy. Enter: the Harvest cardigan by Tin Can Knits!
Seriously, Harvest is a super simple and basic cardigan that's knit seamlessly from the top down, has no waist shaping, no buttons or buttonholes, and requires no finishing. It's straight up stockinette with garter stitch along the collar, fronts, and hems for contrast detail. You really can't get any more basic than that.
The only fussy thing about this whole project is the alternating of skeins. I'll confess that I normally don't alternate my yarn (a naughty knitterly no-no that has bitten me in the butt before) but this time it's an absolute must. In case you didn't catch it the first time, I had bought half of the yarn for this sweater quantity from one shop, and the other half from another online retailer. Yep. That's right. We're talking two different dye lots here. And we're not talking subtle differences either. You probably can't tell too much from these photos, but in person it's quite obvious:
Do you see it? The top two cakes are from one dye lot (well, from the same order) and the bottom two is from another. The top two are overall lighter in colour and a bit more mellow, whereas the bottom two are darker and more vibrant. The bits of turquoise and pink just pop from the sea of grey. The bottom right cake is especially a tad darker and more pigmented than the rest of the lot. I'll admit that I was disappointed that the two lots didn't come close to being a perfect match. Oh well, c'est la vie. Alternating skeins it is then. No biggie.
Usually I dislike alternating skeins on a seamless knit because there's nowhere to really hide the line that alternating skeins creates when you carry the yarn along. With Harvest though, you have that sweet spot where the stockinette changes into garter stitch to somewhat hide that line. Yeah, you can still tell it's there if you look for it but to most it looks like a clean little seam.
I'm really liking how it's all working out and absolutely love the fabric I'm getting. My only regret is that I didn't alternate skeins at the very start and so the back of the collar is a little on the muted side and doesn't have any pops of blue or pink. Most people would say it doesn't matter though, since it's the back and most likely would be hidden under my hair. Hopefully I will forget about that little oversight by the time I cast off the last stitch. Truthfully I was feeling a little lazy about having to rip back and starting all over AND I would have felt slightly defeated since I had already ripped back once - when I realized about two inches into the raglan increases that I messed up on the increases in a few spots. I had thought about just dropping a few stitches down in those spots to fix those increases but decided that I didn't like how noticeable the introduction of a new skein looked in the back, so I ripped the whole thing back to when I had to pick up the stitches along the collar.
I thought about adding waist shaping in order to avoid any possibility of looking like a sack of potatoes but quickly nixed the idea after I had tried the WIP on and discovered that the fit was true to size and that I didn't have a lot of positive ease going on around the waist. Aside from slipping the first stitch at the beginning of every row for a cleaner, more polished looking edge, I'm knitting the pattern as written. I don't know what it is about a slipped stitch edge along garter that I love so much, but I can tell you that I have a favourite stitch. It's this bold, vibrant, solo pink stitch that's hanging out along one of the front edges. Just chillin'.
I love it.
I'm hoping that I have enough yarn to knit this hip length so that I can have a little bit of butt coverage for when I wear leggings. I just started knitting with the third and fourth skeins and I'm already at the natural waist. I know that my last 2 skeins (fifth and sixth skeins respectively) will be more than enough to knit up the sleeves, but the hems are in garter stitch and we all know just how much of a yardage eater garter can be. I know Madelinetosh is notorious for growing in length, not only is Vintage a superwash wool but the weight of the fabric alone will guarantee some growth. I haven't decided if I'm going to knit the sleeves bracelet length (to counteract the aforementioned fabric growth) or just knit them long anyways for a cozier fit.
I also haven't decided on whether or not if I should stick with a shawl pin to close the cardigan or if I should invest in a Jūl Designs leather closure. And if so, should I sew a length of grosgrain ribbon along the insides of both fronts to hold the shape of the garter bands against the weight of the leather closure?
Hmm...maybe I should start knitting a sleeve first and then worry about closures when I'm closer to actually binding off. That might help. And while I'm at it, maybe I should stop thinking about what I'm going to cast on next (and don't wind the yarn for it just yet!) and just focus on getting this WIP off the needles first.
Now there's an idea!