Monday, May 6, 2013

K'done: Mr. Bluejeans Cardigan

This sweater has been done for ages, and I've been wearing it - rather a lot, it's showing a few pills in some areas - but it has proven to be impossible for me to take a good picture of myself wearing the sweater using my iPhone's camera. My arms aren't long enough to hold the device far enough away to get the whole sweater in the shot. Also, I end up with a whole lotta arm in the shot. Two possible solutions: one, I could ask someone else to take the picture, or two, I could simply lay the sweater out on the floor and photograph it unworn.

Pattern: Mr. Bluejeans Cardigan, by Amy Swenson
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Tonal, in Thunderhead
Needles: 5 mm / US 8

Oh, don't judge me too harshly - here, have a nicer close-up shot of some of the details:

I got a crazy case of sweater-covet when I first saw the pattern for this one, and pretty well launched right into it and cranked away whenever possible. I've been wearing it since it's been finished and blocked, and I really really like it a whole bunch, and I've gotten some nice compliments on it from co-workers - one of them told me one day that she thought it was the most elegant sweater she'd ever seen, and then added, Particularly from behind. Well, shucks, I'm all for anything that makes me look elegant - to be honest, I'd prefer that it did it equally from all angles, but I'll take what I can get.

It's a pretty easy, straightforward knit - there's no waist shaping, so once you've finished the raglan increases and split off the sleeves, it's a straight shot to the bit with short rows (I did shadow wraps instead of wrap-and-turn), and once you've gotten going on the horizontal band that thing's also a straight shot with no shaping. The pattern, as it appeared in Knitty, isn't perfect though - or at least, not to my mind. The first stumbling block I ran into was in casting on the stitches for the horizontal band - I found that in order to maintain the rib of the horizontal band, I needed to cast on 55 sts, not 54, or else I ended up with only one purl stitch between the border of the body and the horizontal band, where all other purl ditches were made of two stitches. Also, I ended up changing up the ordering of cabled bands and plain ribbed bands so that they matched the sample photo - as written, you end up with a cabled band closest to the hem, but the sample shows a plain band closest to the hem. I also did my last row of the horizontal band with cables, to better match the other end of the horizontal band.

I didn't take any pictures of the finished sweater before blocking it, but the horizontal band made me super nervous - it's basically ribbing, so it was all bunched up and gave the cardigan a rather spare tire-esque silhouette. It also made the sweater much shorter. Imagine that - a slightly cropped cardigan with boatloads of spare fabric scrunched up around the tummy. So flattering. Of course, blocking fixed that all right up. That being said, even though this yarn is superwash and the label specifically says that it can be machine dried, I don't think I'll ever do that - I'll need to lay the sweater out to make sure that the horizontal band blocks out properly.

One other problem with this sweater - the fronts have that nifty angling to them, thanks to the short rows worked along the lower edge of the body before starting the horizontal band, which is great, but results in a lot of fabric swirling about your torso, which in and of itself isn't a problem, but those angled fronts are not exempt from gravity, so they want to hang down. What I mean is, because of the angling, the tips of the two fronts of the cardigan are higher up than the remainder of the hem of the sweater. The sweater isn't fastened, though, so gravity just wants to pull them down - the sweater hangs open, and the fronts end up at roughly the same level as the rest of the hem. This pushes the fabric out at the sides, which I've found - if I'm not careful - can make me look wider and bulkier than I am. (Perhaps not from the back, though?)

A concerned individual could remedy this by fastening the cardigan closed - a belt would probably work really well. I may try that next time I wear it to work.

Also? I used yarn that was all from the same dye lot in making this sweater, but one skein was apparently different from the others - I did some alternating of skeins as I approached the switchover point, but for whatever bizarre reason, you can see where I stopped alternating and just continued on with the single skein. Fortunately, this happened right where a side seam would have been if there had been any seams in this sweater. So, really, you can only see the line if you look closely from the side. Otherwise, things seem just fine.

I think that gets me all caught up on things I've finished in the past little while - really, this sweater was the one thing sort of lurking in the back of my mind as 'unblogged'. There's still a lot of yarn kicking about - I, um, bought a tiny bit more last week.

Better keep knitting.

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