Saturday, September 27, 2014

Cotton Candy Cardigan: Crafting the Perfect Sweater
My favorite type of sweater is what I like to call "a classic cardigan."  I love cardigans that have kind of a classic 1950's shape, with tight ribbing at the hem, a flattering fit, and buttoning up the front with some interesting design around a crew neckline.

I came across this free Red Heart pattern, the Alice Blue Cardigan, and thought it was almost perfect.   Just one major problem:  the pattern's smallest size is a 36" chest which is a little too big for me.  So, now I have a new project - to alter this Alice Blue Cardigan into a great fitting "classic cardigan".

First up:  the yarn.  I fell in love with this Jojoland Splatter Dash merino dk yarn in a beautiful variegated pink-rose-lilac color.  This yarn is a little more pricey than I usually like to pay, but I wanted a pink cardigan and I love the subtle color change of this yarn that makes it a little more sophisticated and interesting than just your basic pink.

The plan:

1.  Change the rib hem to a tighter k2, p2 ribbing.

2.  Knit this cardi in one piece to armpits, then break into front and back pieces.

3.  Change the button band to garter stitch so I can knit it along with the rest of the sweater, instead of picking up stitches when I'm done.  I like to have as little finishing as possible.

4.  Cast on for my wider hips, but then add shaping to bring the chest down to 34".

5.  To narrow the chest, I'm going to have to omit one column of lace detail on each side of this cardigan.  I'm also going to probably raise the lace detail by not starting this design until I'm past my waist shaping.

I'll be posting my mods and photos as I go.  To be honest, I haven't figured out the calculations for the lace yet, so I've got some work ahead of me.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Very Shannon Summer Sweater KAL: Wisterious

Ta-da!  I finished my Wisterious lace top in time for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater KAL, and I love the final results!!

I bought this Juniper Moon Findley Dappled (50% merino, 50% silk) for another project, but the gauge just wasn't working.  After a quick search through Ravelry, I found the wonderful Wisterious by Jennifer Dassau and my yarn (held double) was perfect for it.

Here are my notes:

1.  The sizes are a bit limited on this pattern.  I decided to make this top as a size 38, but only blocked it to about 36" around.  I think the fit is good and it will probably drape more with wear.

2.  You may remember that I wasn't confident that I was on gauge when I started.  The only fix for this was to trust and continue knitting down to where I joined the body under the underarms.  Then I tried on what I had to see if it was going to fit.  If it didn't, I had two choices:  1) cry; or 2) rip it out and start over in a larger size.  Luckily it fit.

3.  I only made a few modifications along the way.  I made the length of the top only 22" by doing only 2" of ribbing.  I was a little afraid that I would run out of yarn (silly - I have a fair amount left over).

4.  To accomodate my larger hips, I cast on an additional 28 stitches around before starting the rib border.  I also only went down one needle size for the bottom border hem.

5.  I was thinking of omitting the buttonholes and just sewing the buttons in place - but don't!  The neck opening is not large enough to fit your head without unbuttoning the neckline a bit, and making the buttonholes is super easy and super fun!

6.  Although the instructions don't mention it, I think you really need a set of dpns to do the armhole ribbing.  My smallest dpns were size #4, so that's what used.  I think they worked fine.  Because my ribbing wasn't as tight as the pattern called for, I omitted two rounds of the border.  Then I just bound off in pattern.

Love the finished top!  Thanks to the other ladies in this KAL for their vote of confidence on my coral/orange buttons.  I think they are the perfect choice :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Summer Sweater KAL: Wisterious Update

I haven't talked much about it, but I am still hard at work on my Wisterious Top for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater Knit-a-Long.  I'm actually pulling in to the home stretch - it doesn't look like much but I just have to do the sleeve edging and block it, and then I'm done!  I didn't think I was going to make the KAL deadline of Sept. 24, but I think I will pull it off :)

I've done only some minor modifications that I'll list when the top is blocked and finished.  I only have one decision left to make:  BUTTONS.  I love vintage buttons (someday I'll have to do a post about my collection of vintage buttons).  And one of the things that drew me to this knit top pattern was the cute button detail around the neckline and shoulders.

original pattern photo by Jennifer Dassau from Ravelry
So - decision time:

I have four good choices right now.  1) some little white buttons (on card) with cute detailing around the center (hard to see in photo), 2) these corally-orange buttons that I kinda really love, 3) these light blue buttons that are shiny on one side and more opaque on the other.  I could use these with either side facing up, or 4) these vintage pearl buttons with a shank that might work better with the buttonholes in my top.

I'm leaning towards at least starting out with the coral-orange buttons.  I can always change them if I don't like them later.  But I'd love to hear what YOU think?