Monday, January 12, 2015

Knit In Progress: PinkSand Cardigan

Last month, while most people were feverishly knitting up and finishing Christmas presents, I decided to selfishly cast on a BlueSand cardigan. I've been coveting this cardigan and have been itching to knit it ever since it was published a year ago. I don't know why I held off on casting it on for as long as I did, especially since I had bought the pattern the second I spotted it on Ravelry and had all the yarns needed to knit it up on hand. I thought and thought about the cardigan but did nothing. Then during the summer and fall months I started seeing photo after photo of so many beautiful versions of this cardigan being knitted up all over Instagram. Some knitters were even knitting up their second and third BlueSands! And I have yet to knit one. Before I could stop myself I started pouring over all the project pages on Ravelry - taking in all the beautiful cardigans and making notes of what knitters did and didn't do. After a week of this torture I decided that I couldn't wait any longer. I had to cast on.
When I first saw this pattern I immediately knew what colour combination I wanted to do - honestly, is anyone surprised that I went with a hot pink and grey colour scheme? The light grey is Madelinetosh Tosh DK. It's actually the very first Madelinetosh sweater quantity that I have ever bought and dates back to 2011 (three years doesn't seem that long but when it comes to stash yarn it does!). The dark grey and hot pink were custom dyed for me by my friend, Em, before she closed up her yarn dyeing business (it was the fantastic Everything Old label) and reinvented herself as EmmaKnits (or knitfastdiecozy on all social media). I'm excited to be able to knit up some old stash but truthfully, I wasn't sure if I liked how the greys were looking next to the boldness of the hot pink, which really stands out. But after knitting on this project for a while now the combo has grown on me and I think after I add the hot pink stripe on the sleeves and the little detail around the front neckline it will all tie in nicely together and not be so "BAM! Look at all this hot pink goodness going on up around here!" in your face like.
If you follow me on Instagram then this cardigan WIP is old news and you've already seen all the progress I've made...and that massive "what in the world did you do??" mistake, which you can see in the photo below:
That there is what happens when you spend more time yapping away at a knit night and don't pay attention to your knitting, and therefore don't realize that you've made two increases in the same spot. In the same row. I had knit a good four inches into the body before I decided to stop and do a stitch count to make sure I was still on track. I am SO glad that I did! Although, upon discovering that there was something wrong, what I should have done next was put the knitting down and gone to bed. Instead, completely bleary eyed, I decided to try and fix my mistake. Yeah...
After counting my stitches and realizing that I was either one stitch over or one stitch under, it took maybe five minutes to contemplate my options, which were: rip back, fix the mistake, and carry on; OR save time (or so I thought) and just drop down to the unsightly area (at the time I didn't know it was two increases, it had looked like a weird hole/maybe accidental yarn over kind of mess), fix whatever needed to be fixed, and just work that column of stitches back up. Guess which option I picked? Again, I have no idea why I didn't just put my knitting down that night, get a good night's sleep, and then try to fix the mistake when I was rested and somewhat alert (obviously this would be after the consumption of coffee!!). I also don't know why I thought it was a good idea to drop down all those stitches and then leave it at that before going to bed. In the mornin when I picked my knitting back up and saw the mess I had made, I might have said a few choice, unlady-like words. I'm just glad that the column of stitches didn't keep dropping down on its own.
As soon as I figured out that I had made the double increase I was faced with another problem: what to do with all that extra yarn between the stitches? A huge part of me really want to just bite the bullet, say good bye to all that knitting, and frog back to that area and re-knit it all. Normally that's what I would have done. But the devil on my shoulder had somehow managed to convince me that that was all totally unnecessary as I could save time, energy, and heartache by simply tugging and re-distributing the extra slack of yarn evenly along the rows.
Well. This method did save me heartache. Time and energy? That's debatable. I suppose this way was much faster than having to re-knit those four inches, but sitting there and pulling on each.and.every.single.stitch along the 20+ rows? Duuuude. Crazy is as crazy does, I guess. But I'm happy to report that you can't tell at all that I had made a mistake or where that mistake was located. You can't tell that there used to be a major difference in tension in one area on the body. Oh yeah, I'm one happy camper.
I was super lucky and managed to get a huge chunk of knitting accomplished during the holidays. If it weren't for the last minute road trip to the Okanagan for Christmas (and being the passenger the entire time), I probably would still be knitting away on the body length. I totally took advantage of the visit with the inlaws and had knit at every chance I could get. Which was almost every waking second. It was bliss. The Munchkin barely acknowledge mine or the Mister's presence since he had a new audience to "perform" for, which my mother-in-law absolutely loved, and in between the "look at me Grandma!" and "watch this" the Munchkin relished in all the holiday cartoons and animations that were on TV (we don't have cable at home so I didn't mind the screen time overload). And in that entire time I was able to sit on a comfy La-Z-Boy and knit away to my heart's content.
It was heaven.
What would normally take me a month to knit, I managed to knit up in less than two weeks. Aside from having so much time dedicated to knitting, the BlueSand cardigan pattern is a very enjoyable knit that I honestly couldn't and can't put down. In fact, it's so enjoyable that of the four projects that I had brought along with me I had knit solely on BlueSand. When I got back home and unpacked all my knitting I had wondered why I had even bothered to bring along any other project! This is truly rare.
From the very first stitch this pattern had me completely committed. The designer offers two different yoke constructions for this cardigan: the easy raglan version that's a hybrid between a saddle shoulder and a raglan sleeve; and the complicated combination yoke version that combines several methods that all happen at the same time that not only is there a quick overview page for it, but a detailed chart that shows each row and what kind of increase should be worked that row for each size, AND thoroughly written row by row instructions. Yes, all for the yoke. It might sound and look intimidating but it was actually quite painless and nothing but smooth sailing. The detailed chart is sheer genius. Seriously. I love that by having that chart there's no guessing or misinterpreting what should be going on. It's all right there in front of you. Even though I just said that the yoke was easy to knit up, this pattern is definitely not for the weak, timid, or for those who are used to being babied and having their hand held throughout the entire knit. This is not a hard knit, far from it, but it does require your attention and the ability to read and keep track of your knitting. If you can multi-task within your knitting, then it can be somewhat of a mindless knit after a certain point.
But it's all worth it. Seriously. All the new-to-me techniques, the little makes me giddy with knitterly glee just thinking about it! Before I started knitting BlueSand I've never knit a contiguous shoulder/sleeve (I absolutely love it), I've never used German short-rows (, I've never knit set-in pockets (love!), and I've never done an i-cord cast on (so classy). There's just so much knitterly goodness jam packed into this one pattern! I haven't even finished this cardigan yet and already I'm planning my colour scheme and yarns for a second! I hhave a feeling that I will get plenty of wear out of this cardigan - it requires no buttons or other closures so I won't have to spend forever and a day trying to find the perfect buttons for it and then wait an eternity to get off my lazy butt to sew them on, it's long enough to cover my butt so it'll be great to wear with leggings, and with Spring just around the corner this cardigan will be a great transitional piece and most likely a wardrobe staple.
I'm so excited!!


  1. Oh my gosh, your review of this pattern has me totally sold! Like you, I've coveted this sweater since it first came out, but I think all that stockinette had me a bit intimidated… I worried I would get bored with it. But all the details you've mentioned make me want to dive right in! I'm total not going to be able to sleep tonight because I'll be pondering colour schemes.

    1. Oohhh...if you do knit this pattern I can't wait to see what colour schemes you'll cook up!! :)


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