Monday, October 6, 2014

K'done: Nanook Cardigan

It is ridiculously tricky to take a picture of oneself wearing a sweater in order to show off said sweater using a smartphone camera.

Also, my vanity demands that I clarify that that odd lump near my waistline is my belt under my top - not some weird tummy tumour.

Pattern: Nanook, by Heidi Kirrmaier
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, in Cocoa Kiss
Needles: 5 mm / US 8

Fall makes me crazy for sweaters. The air gets a chill, and suddenly I want to knit eighteen new sweaters for myself so that I can be perpetually wrapped in cozy wool. Too bad for me, fall is back-to-school season, which puts me back in the classroom, with all the responsibilities that come along with that, meaning I don't really have the time to knit all the sweaters that scream for my attention, and the ones that I do manage to squeeze in take their shapes somewhat slowly. Usually the sweater bug starts to nibble at my brain in August, and sometimes that leads to me whipping out a sweater in the month before my schedule gets clogged with work responsibilities, and I get to rejoice in having a brand new knit by me sweater when sweater weather truly hits.

This year, pounding out a sweater in August turned out to not be possible, but by some stroke of luck I had a couple of sweaters that I'd started earlier in the year that had lingered into summer. This was one of them. I started it way back in January, and worked on it here and there until the heat of summer, the Tour de Sock, and the realization that the yarn would not last forever hit, and then in a fit of yarn chicken I set it aside. I picked it up and finished it in early August, then washed and blocked it and set it aside for a time when I could wear it without melting.

That time is now.

I love it. I hope this trend for swingy open cardigans with oversized fronts sticks around for a while, because now I've got three of them, and I am dreading the day where I can't wear them anymore without looking horribly gauche. I may opt to close up the cardigan using cufflinks one of these days, but that day hasn't come yet.

The knitting was great for this one. The Bear Track lace was fun to work, and the chart was memorizable. Once you're done with the lace, you transition to stockinette for the back of the yoke, and garter for the fronts. I must confess, I was a tiny bit worried about garter stitch on a sweater, but it's just right for the big floppy fronts of this one. So squooshy. I modded the decrease rate on the fronts - instead of decreasing every 6 rows, I decreased every 12, to keep the fronts big. I briefly contemplated not doing any decreases at all, but figured the designer put them in for a reason (to prevent the fronts from getting too heavy), so I figured a rate that was half of the pattern as written would be a reasonable compromise. If I were to close the sweater up, the bottom corners of the fronts would just barely meet.

Tech specs: I used a (now-standard for me) Chinese Waitress CO and double chain BO throughout. My gauge was off - I knit this at 20 sts to 4" instead of 18 - so I knit the M1 size (36" bust), hoping the smaller gauge would bring it down closer to 33", which is what I'd need for zero ease. I haven't actually measured the finished garment, but it fits me, so I'm calling it a successful gauge tinker. (I have since learned that a 5.5 mm needle would actually have gotten me target gauge, but oh well.)

A note on the yarn: Dream in Color has recently changed their Classy base yarn, and what I used was the old Classy. Truthfully, it's a bit scratchier than I would have liked, which I suppose is what prompted them to find a new softer base. The scritchiness played into my decision to use this yarn for this cardigan - with another top on underneath, it's not typically against the skin, so I don't notice the scratch factor. I have worn this sweater with just a t-shirt underneath, and the skin on my arms seems to tolerate it well enough, but I do feel a bit of a prickle here and there. I don't have any of the new Classy to see how it compares, touch-wise. Maybe I should get some.

How's that for justification?