Monday, September 28, 2015

Off The Needles: Harvest Cardigan


I've been really slacking off on blogging about my FOs, which I'm sure you've all noticed. You also know I've been casting on a bunch of things left and right, and you know that I've been knitting away on all these projects, but rarely have you ever seen a post about something that has actually been finishedTrust me when I say that I have been finishing stuff. Sort of. It's been taking me forever (still) to either weave in ends or to get around to photographing them. A few weeks ago the weather got pretty chilly and as I was shoving my arm through the sleeve of a new and unworn (!!) hand knit cardigan, I froze. I realized that I haven't blogged about this finished cardigan (omg, I just checked and it was finished a year ago!!) and therefore didn't have any photographic proof of its FO status. Pictures or it didn't happen, right?

So I got the tripod all set up, I hunted down my camera's remote, I gave my hand knit a quick once over to ensure there were no creases or unsightly wrinkles, and then I spent at least an hour trying to get a few decent shots of the cardigan. Let me tell you, taking photos of yourself is no easy feat. Especially when you're a perfectionist and you're trying to ensure that all the little things don't get overlooked. Little details like a flipped up hem, stray hairs, visible bra straps, bunched up fabric, t-shirts sticking out unevenly from under the hem of the sweater, super visible camera remotes (they're hard to hide, I know!), and crooked necklines, to name a few, really bug me. Yes, I'm very particular. When I see these things my eyes just can't move on and I get fixated on those spots. Heck, the unevenness of the neckline in the photo above sort of bugs me (notice how one side of my black v-neck is more visible than the other?), but I'm trying not to beat myself up too much over it. I know I'm probably the only one to notice and I totally get that. Not everyone is overly nit picky like I am. I wish I wasn't that nit picky myself!

Anyhoo, let me show you my newest hand knit that has been getting a lot of wear since this photo shoot, my Harvest Cardigan:


This cardigan was seriously the easiest garment I've knit in a long time. It was so easy that I didn't even bother to print out the pattern or keep notes. I messed up on the increases along the collar but that was due to my own personal preferences and had nothing to do with the pattern itself. The only so-called "hard" part of this entire knit was the alternating of skeins. As I had mentioned in this post (which is probably the one and only time I blogged about this cardigan) I was using two different dye lots that were quite noticeably distinct from one another and it forced me to not only have to alternate skeins but to plan ahead and save some of the brighter, more vibrant yarn so that I could incorporate them in the sleeves and the hem. 


I decided to alternate my skeins on the right side of the fabric on the left front after the garter band section so that the yarn-line you get from alternating skeins could be somewhat camouflaged along the garter edge. I think it looks quite tidy and not at all noticeable. As for the sleeves, I did the alternating at the beginning of the row so that the line would be along the inside of the arm and would hopefully look like a seam if turned inside out.


When I first cast on this project I had every intention of making this a low-hip length cardigan. Or at least low enough on the butt so that I could pair this with leggings and not feel so...exposed...back there. I ended up knitting way past my planned length simply because I had more yarn than I thought I would at that point, and I couldn't bare the thought of letting the yarn go to waste. I wouldn't have had enough leftover to knit even a hat and didn't like the idea of the leftovers just sitting in my leftovers bin. I love this colourway too much to do that to it! So I kept on knitting. The finished length is a few inches below my butt, which wouldn't be too bad if it weren't for the fact that this cardigan is heavy. And the yarn is superwash. You know what that all means. This bad boy is eventually going to g-r-o-w. 


The new plan: throw the cardigan into the dryer after every wash and hope that it'll shrink back up each time. Or hopefully an adequate amount so that it'll still look decent enough to wear in public. A part of me is glad that I had continued on knitting because the length really added to the coziness of the cardigan, but the other part of me wishes that I hadn't. Only because if I had planned on making the cardigan as long as I did I would have added in some waist shaping in the back. I've always felt like my body shape was more of a rectangle (and this could all be in my head) and think that adding the shaping in the back would have put my self-conscious brain at ease. I included the photo of my backside (shown above, and trust me, this was not an easy photo to take!) to show you what I mean. So often I've read posts and articles where the author talks about certain details but fails to actually show a photo of it. Also, you never get the back view of garments. What's up with that?   


As for the rest of the cardigan, I didn't do anything drastic in terms of modifying the pattern. Just a few little details for a cleaner look. Such as slipping the first stitch purl-wise with the yarn in front (then brought to the back to knit the second stitch) for a nicer, more interesting edge - it looks braided! I also used the Icelandic Bind Off method on the cuffs and hem because I absolutely love that it blends in and matches the fabric of the garter so beautifully AND it's also quite stretchy without the rippling effect that other stretchy bind offs give. I had also fiddled around a little with the last few stitches of the hem on the bind off to give the corner a cleaner and more crisp shape. Seeing that it has been a year since finishing this cardigan, I can't recall the exact details and obviously I didn't leave myself any notes, but most likely I had bound off two stitches together at the end to neaten the edge. I probably didn't leave myself a note about this because neatening the edge is something that I always do when binding off anything that's been knit flat.

Because someone will ask, when I bind off in the round I usually follow one of the TechKnitter's methods (which you can read about here). I would say that 90% of the time I follow the 'good method', unless the designer has you starting and ending the bind off on the front of the sweater (why, designers, why?? Grrr!!) like on the collar, where it would be quite visible. That's when I'd buckle up and give the 'excellent method' a go.

Oh! The sleeves! Now that I think about it, I did modify the sleeves a little to fit my meaty T-Rex arms. I picked up extra stitches to prevent gaps but didn't decrease them immediately as I figured my thicker biceps could use the room those extra two stitches provided. I also started the decreases three inches sooner and most likely had cut out a few rounds between each decrease round. This all might bite me in the butt in the end and the sleeves could very well stretch out in all ways like a mofo due to that superwash yarn situation, but for now they've been looking and working out great.


There's only one thing about this cardigan that I have an issue with, which has absolutely nothing to do with the pattern but more my own hang-ups and body failings. I seem to love and want to pull off this open-front type garment. I own a few store bought sweaters in this style and used to (still do?) have a few patterns in my queue that are similar, like Hitofude, Snowbird, Featherweight, and Effortless, and they all have one thing in common: I can't really wear them properly. I really want to, that's the thing. But in reality, they just don't work well with me. I'm not sure what it is, maybe my shoulders are too petite? Maybe I have too much of a slope from my neck to the shoulder bone? Whatever it is, the results are always the same. The cardigan tends to fall off my shoulders. I think I spend a fair amount of time tugging and re-arranging the garment than necessary. For something that's suppose to be simple and effortless to wear, I'm making it complicated and difficult. 


And yet I keep on trying to make it work. Tim Gunn, you have failed me on this one.

My original plan was to purchase a leather closure similar to these beautiful JUL Designs ones but didn't like how stark of a contrast the black was against the grey. For a while I used a shawl pin but I'm just not that elegant enough to wear one. That, and either I keep poking myself or the pin would just fall out. Nonetheless, I've been wearing this cardigan a lot these past few weeks and I suspect it'll remain in heavy rotation in my wardrobe for the rest of the season. I'll continue to look for a form of closure but in the meantime I've been using the strap of my handbag to keep the fronts overlapped a little while out and about. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


:: Cardigan Details ::
Pattern: Harvest by Tin Can Knits

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage
Colour: Steam Age
Needles: Knit Picks Rainbow Wood Interchangeable Circulars in 4.5mm (US 7) and 5.5mm (US 9)
Ravlery Link: MisoCraftyKnits Harvest


♥ 


20 comments:

  1. That looks fab! So cozy too - perfect for the upcoming fall weather :)

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  2. This is gorgeous! Longer sweater/cardigans are the best - so cozy, it's like a blanket you can take with you (without getting funny looks for actually taking blankets with you xD ). So far as the open front/needing a closure, I know this struggle. I have the same hangup with some flannel button up shirts - I prefer to wear them unbuttoned, with a tshirt underneath - and they just don't stay where I want them to stay! I have a cardigan-thing that has a wider front, though, with a taller collar (I'm sure there's a name for that style, but it's not known to me) that can sort of go across your front that sort of just clings to itself. Love that darned thing! Plus, even when it is open, so to speak, with the front being wider than normal, it doesn't look like I'm missing half of my sweater!

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    1. Thanks Jessica! I'm kind of glad to hear that the struggle is real! ;)

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  3. That looks so cozy! I love curling up in a long cardigan so much, but I totally understand the struggle with trying to keep them in place. A lot of times if I'm walking or standing I'll keep my arms crossed to help, but it's not really a long-term solution!

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    1. Haha! I'll admit that sometimes I'll stand or walk with my arms crossed too to keep the fronts from flying off my shoulders. The things we do for fashion! ;P

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  4. Awesome blog post! So worth waiting a year for. I love that you don't just say: "here's a simple sweater" but go in too lots of detail about things that worked and didn't work for you. You did a really great job of managing the dye lots, the colour distribution is perfection. And you know what? I'm totally with you on the open front cardigan thing! I am forever tugging them up around my shoulders. I think it's a combination of superwash wool (slippery and heavy) and raglan shaping that can be the culprit. I knit Nanook, which has a different should construction, and it never slips off.

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    1. Thank you so much Tanis! ♥ As weird as this may sound, but after writing a post I sometimes wonder if I'm "contributing" and giving something of value in my post. Like, sometimes when I search for more info on a pattern or to see how others made out with a design, I like to know more about their true thoughts and what they have learned, didn't like, etc. So I to think I'm helping someone else who may be doing the same thing.

      I never thought about the raglan shaping contributing to my slippery shoulder situation! I'll have to go through my queue now and see how the construction is on the other patterns in this type of garment style. Thanks for the tip! :)

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  5. I love it!! And well done on the photos! That has to be my least favourite part of my projects. I hate taking pictures. This was such a great post! I am certainly going to knit this one up, as you were with me buying the Tern... while you were still knitting yours. haha! What a fantastic FO! xo

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! :) I actually really like taking photos...when I'm not the model. I'm just way too particular when it comes to the Mr helping me (I'm sure a lot of fellow crafters could agree with me on this one...sometimes husbands just don't understand what we're looking for when photographing a knit or sewn project!). Also, most of the time I would rather just knit than have to model my own knits! :p

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  6. Girl, you are skinny. But I understand about wanting to cover one's bum. I love this colourway you worked with.

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    1. Haha, no, it's all about the angles, I swear!! But thank you for boosting my self-esteem :)

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  7. it's so beautiful, and looks amazing on you! good call about the alternating skeins, after reading that i looked at the photos closely, but you can't tell at all, it just looks like one lovely watercolour dream. I have a suggestion for your slipping shoulders problem- perhaps cast on for 1-2 sizes smaller in the shoulders (assuming top down), and then adjusting the increases to get your normal size, while not lengthing the armohole depth too much. I find sweaters falling off shoulders usually mean that the wearer has delicate, small shoulders.

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    1. Aw, thank you Julie!! ♥ Yes, this design was top down. I'll definitely have to take a look at the other cardigans I've queued and maybe try knitting this type of style again using the tip/idea of knitting a few sizes smaller for the shoulders. I'm determined to make this style work for me! Thanks! :)

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  8. What an inspiring sweater! I love the colourway and I love the way it looks on you :)

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    1. Thanks Chantel!! :) I hope you can find a colour/SQ to make your own at Knit City!

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  9. Your sweater is beautiful! It looks so great on you. I've been eyeing this pattern for awhile. After seeing yours, I may need to pick out some yarn. I hope you figure out the closure situation as it would be a bummer for this sweater to sit in the closet unused!

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  10. Beautiful sweater! For the closure issue, what about a sweater chain? They're also known as sweater clips and sweater guards, and serve the express purpose of not letting your open sweater slide off your shoulders. They seem to have come back into fashion recently. You can find lots of fun ones right now on Etsy (search for "sweater guard clips" without the quotes to get useful results), or make your own (see here: http://www.amyistheparty.com/diy/diy-cardi-clip-also-known-as-the-sweater-chain-or-sweater-clip/).

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  11. I also love open cardigans, my favorite being my Chimney Fire (I wear it all the time) and my Aidez. I love your Harvest just the way it is. Longer is nice for fall weather and can be worn in place of a jacket.

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  12. I've also had this problem with cardigans (and a shrug knit in worsted weight cotton) sliding off my shoulders. They are mostly knit top-down or bottom-up in the round, with raglan sleeves or saddle shoulders. I recently completed a cropped cardigan in pieces which doesn't fall off my shoulders. so it could be that styles with seams and set-in sleeve are more likely to stay up - or it might just be because it's a small garment knit with wool.

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