Muse Jenna V-Neck Cardigan

I like sewing with sweater knits but, as a knitter, they also make me feel like I’m cheating. So I think of this, affectionately, as my cheater cardigan–made over the course of two days rather than the two (or more) months it would take using yarn and needles.

Muse Jenna Cardi

This is the Muse Patterns Jenna Cardigan. I made the hip-length version with 3/4 sleeves and used the Jenna Expansion pack to get a v-neck, which is my preferred cardigan neckline. I’ve been planning to make this cardigan for a long time, and for some reason, I built this pattern up in my head as being a bit challenging. But, in reality, it’s very easy to put together and really only takes a bit more time than a basic t-shirt.

Muse Jenna V-Neck

I knew I would need the size 40 for the shoulder, but I didn’t want to have to do an FBA to get enough room across the bust so I went with the cheater FBA (appropriate for my cheater cardigan) and blended out to the size 42 at the armscye. I ended up significantly slimming the sleeves and the sleeve cuffs–I took 2″ out of the sleeve cuffs and an inch from either side of the sleeve opening, tapering to nothing at the top of the sleeve seam. But other than initially floppy sleeves, I’m really happy with the fit on this pattern. I think the only adjustments I’d make to the pattern the next time around would be removing some of the sleeve cap ease and lowering the point of the v-neck just a bit.

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The fabric I used is a really soft cotton-Spandex slub sweater knit that I bought last year from Fabric.com. The little bit of Spandex means that it has good recovery, which means that this shouldn’t bag out with wear. It’s pretty lightweight and similar to my two most-worn cardigans, which I wear year round on all but the coldest of Ohio winter days. My other cardigans are black and gray, so I’m glad to have an option that is an actual color. I sew with so many neutral fabrics that this is the first time I’ve ever used something other than black or gray serger thread.

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I used this project as a reason to finally figure out how to sew buttons on using my machine. It worked well (and was not at all difficult to figure out) so I’ve now succeeded in making my most-hated finishing task that much faster and easier. So this project is a win all around!

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Little Wave

It’s taken me a minute (by which I mean several years) to figure out what I really like in a hand knit cardigan. As I recently established, I’m not feeling the open front cardigan. But I’ve also made a handful of more traditional, fitted cardigans like my Audrey in Unst cardigan and my Squared cardigan, and I don’t really enjoy wearing those styles either.

Little Wave Cardigan

 

The cardigans I do reach for are relaxed and cozy heavier-weight cardigans with shawl collars. My most-worn cardigans have been my Girl Friday and my Grandpa cardigan. I wear them regularly as a top layer in winter, and throw them on in lieu of a light jacket in spring and fall.

Little Wave Cardigan

This Little Wave cardigan is very similar in style to those favorite cardigans, and I’m confident that I’ll be wearing this one all the time. I love all the design details on this pattern—the little wave stitch pattern, the pockets, the saddle shoulder, the garter stitch elbow patches. For me, this sweater represents all the best things about being able to make my own clothes. With this piece, I get all of the design details I like about more masculine clothing, but made to fit my body.

Little Wave Cardigan

The Little Wave pattern is actually written as a unisex pattern, with a separate set of instructions for men and women. I think this is a really smart design move. The men’s and women’s versions aren’t radically different, but are simply adjusted for different bodily proportions and design preferences. So the sleeves and body on the men’s version are longer while the women’s version has some waist shaping, a more shallow yoke, and slightly narrower shoulders. Including two versions results in a fairly long pattern (16 pages), but it’s a great pattern overall. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and the construction of the yoke is clever and results in a great fit.

Little Wave Cardigan

My measurements (hip 52”, waist 41”, full bust 47”, high bust 41”) mean that my body typically spans about 3 conventional size ranges. Since this is a heavily patterned piece with a new-to-me yoke construction, it took me a bit to figure out how I wanted to modify the pattern to fit me. In the end, I decided to use the 46” size as my base for the body. I added some extra stitches to the garter panels on the sides so the sweater would be 50” at the hips. Then I worked extra decreases and decreased at a faster rate to get down to the correct stitch count for the waist of the 46” size.

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The next challenge was decreasing from the 46” size so that I could follow the yoke instructions for the 41.25” size. I did this through a combination of methods—starting the neckline shaping early to work in a few extra sets of decreases, adding a couple of extra decrease rounds early on in the yoke shaping, and binding off a few extra stitches under the arm. The only other change I made was to shorten the sleeves by about 2”. As many people have noted on Ravelry, the sleeves on this are really long, even when you factor in the cuffed sleeves. In the end, I’m happy with how all of my modifications worked out. The sweater still has a casual, relaxed feel but is fitted enough to keep it from looking sloppy.

Little Wave Cardigan

The yarn is Valley Yarns Northampton in Ocean Heather. Northampton is my go-to worsted right now–it’s equitable in quality to my other favorite, Cascade 220, but with better yardage at a better price. I’ve got a bunch of Northampton in Charcoal that I’m going to use for my first sweater of 2016. As you might have guessed, I’ve got another cozy, relaxed, shawl-collar cardigan style planned: Mari Chiba’s Solitude Jacket. I just have a few lingering 2015 projects to finish up so I can start a new year of knitting off fresh.

Featherweight: The Sweater of Nope

Let us discuss disappointment.

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Because that’s what this cardigan is: a disappointment. It doesn’t necessarily look disappointing in the photos, but I won’t wear it. I shoved it in a closet after I took these photos and it will stay there until it gets shoved in the next donation box.

Featherweight Cardigan

This is Hannah Fettig’s Featherweight pattern, but it’s the version of the pattern made using CustomFit. I made the original version of Featherweight several years ago but didn’t like the end result—it was too short in the body, it slipped off my shoulders, and I didn’t really like the fabric that resulted from knitting a lace-weight yarn at a really open gauge. I thought that a version of the cardigan with set-in sleeves and knit at a tighter gauge might work out better for me. Plus, I figured it was a good opportunity to try out CustomFit.

Featherweight Cardigan

You can see some of the problems with the sweater in these photos. The neckband ripples and doesn’t want to lay correctly. The sleeves grew too long during blocking. And there is a strange bubble at the front of both sleeves at the armscye. I’m frankly not sure what’s causing the bubble, although I’m pretty confident that it has nothing to do with seaming (especially since it occurs at the same point on both sleeves). It could be that the shape of the sleeve cap in the pattern doesn’t work for me. Or it could also be related to the yarn growing during blocking (I used a wool/silk blend). I’m thinking this last one is the most likely explanation.

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Those issues probably wouldn’t be enough to stop me from wearing this if I really liked it, but I’ve decided I’m just not that big a fan of the open cardigan. I always wear my cardigans open, but I don’t like these cardigans where the fronts aren’t designed to meet. Plus, I feel like the shoulders on this cardigan have been made so narrow (to accommodate the ribbed neckband) that there isn’t enough to anchor the cardigan to the body, even with a seamed shoulder. And this is really the biggest reason that I won’t be wearing this cardigan—because this is what it looked like after I put it on and walked down the stairs and out the door of my apartment:

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NOPE.

As far as using CustomFit for the first time goes, I’m pretty pleased with the results. Particularly since I’m leaning towards yarn growth as the culprit for the sleeve bubble, I think the things I dislike about this cardigan come down to the design and the style and not to the fit of the actual pattern produced by CustomFit.

Featherweight Cardigan

I entered all of measurements that I typically use when planning and making my own sweater adjustments, and the fit at the back is really nice. I don’t mind making adjustments to existing patterns—in fact, it’s become one of my favorite things about sweater knitting. Plus, I’m pretty happy with the results I get and appreciate the flexibility that comes with being able to alter any pattern, regardless of construction style, by myself. But if I were going to attempt another project like my Jet Pullover, I’d definitely use CustomFit to generate a pattern.

So to sum up: CustomFit seems all right, but I do not like Featherweight and probably should have been more judicious in my pattern choice. Luckily, the next sweater I have to share turned out much better, so look forward to less disappointing projects.

Moving and Knitting

We’re finally moved into our new place, unpacked, and mostly settled. Everything went about as smooth as it could and, of course, it was still incredibly stressful. I’m so glad it’s over. There were about 10 days between when our stuff got picked up by the movers and when it got dropped off, and since Aidan was working, most of those days were me spending some quality time with Netflix and my knitting.

TV-wise, I watched Rectify, Inside Amy Schumer, and the new season of Orange is the New Black, all of which I recommend. (I mean, the newest season of OITNB took awhile to find its footing and some of the story lines were kind of heavy handed and Piper continues to be THE WORST but it was still a pretty good watch overall.) Knitting-wise, I finished my Winterlong cowl before I left New York, and I’m planning to write a separate post about it. Since then, I’ve had three different sweater projects on rotation, and I’ve been picking one at random each day to work on. So here’s the big update on my sweater knitting:

Jet Pullover

Jet Pullover

I started this sweater back in September when I decided to improvise a fitted pullover after this yarn (Cascade 220 Fingering in Jet) refused to work for anything else. I got the body knitted up pretty quickly but got completely bogged down by the sleeves. My initial plan was for long sleeves with a very deep ribbed cuff. The ribbing took forever and was seriously tedious knitting, and then by the time I finished that first sleeve, it turned out it was way too long and the cuff was creating a weird below-elbow billow in the fabric. Plus, it became clear that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to knit two full-length sleeves. So this project got shoved in a bag and put in time-out for a few months (which is now evident in all of the wrinkles) until I figured out a new plan. The revised plan is now to make a pullover with 3/4 sleeves that will be very similar in style to my Blank Canvas, except with set-in sleeves. I’ve finished the first sleeve and the second sleeve is moving along quickly. I’m hoping I can get this one finished up before it’s a year old.

Little Wave

LIttle Wave in progress

I started this sweater–Little Wave in Valley Yarns Northampton Dark Teal–back in March and knit about 10″ of the body before putting it away during all of my sock knitting. When I started this project, I was going to omit the pockets and the garter stitch elbow patches but realized I wanted both when I came back to this pattern a couple of weeks ago. So that meant ripping out everything but the ribbing so that I could work the set-up row for the pockets. The upside of re-knitting almost all of the body is that it allowed me to make some adjustments to the shaping at the sides. I just finished knitting up to the armholes this morning, so I’ll be moving onto the sleeves next.

Slanted Sleeven

Slanted Sleeven in progress

This is my newest project, which I started right after I got to Ohio. The pattern is Slanted Sleeven, which is a pretty basic cardigan that uses a “slanted contiguous sleeve” method that basically allows you to knit what looks relatively similar to a seamed, fitted sleeve cap while knitting seamlessly from the top-down. I started this pattern, using some Valley Yarns Charlemont in Dusk leftover from my failed Apres Surf Hoodie, mostly because I was curious about the construction method. Between the unusual construction method and the fact that the pattern is written in a unique way, what seems like a simple or boring cardigan is turning out to be a pleasing knitting challenge. I’ve had to adjust the pattern numbers a bit because I’m using a fingering weight yarn (the pattern is written for sport weight yarns), and I’m clearly not far enough to be able to try it on yet, but I think the sizing is looking good so far. But I probably just jinxed myself with that comment so we’ll see what happens.

knitting corner

We still have stuff to arrange around our new place, but my crafting stuff is pretty much in order at this point. I’ve marked out my little knitting nook in our living room and I’ve got my sewing stuff all organized in the second bedroom upstairs. After having to take about a three week break from sewing because of the move, I’m very much looking forward to spending some time with my machine this week.

sewing space

I’m hoping this means I’ll have a few sewing projects to share soon. Although, most of the projects at the top of my list are shorts or pants, so they could very well all wind up in the trash. Regardless, I’m glad to have access to my machine again!

Baby Gift x3: Snugglers and Maddie Hoodies

I was already in the process of planning a baby gift for a friend when we found out that we’re going to have twin nieces or nephews (or some combination of the two—why is there not a gender-neutral word to express that relationship in English?) coming into our family at the end of the summer. For some reason, the idea of picking a couple of patterns and making them in triplicate seemed like great fun to me. And, indeed, it was a lot of fun to see all three items lined up at the end and feel like I was the master of the pattern, which I think is mostly a reflection of the way the meaning of “fun” shifts when it’s deep winter in central New York and you’re at the height of a job search. Anyway…

Lotta Jansdotter Snuggler

First up, I made some baby swaddlers. The pattern I used is originally from Lotta Jansdotter’s book Simple Sewing for Baby, but it’s also available for free on MAKE. I used quilting cotton for the outside layer and flannel for the lining. These are generally pretty easy to make, except for two little hiccups. First, if you use the free pdf version of the pattern, there aren’t any reference points for assembling the pages and there is a substantial amount of (unmarked) overlap between the pages, making this the least intuitive/most unnecessarily frustrating pdf pattern I’ve encountered. I didn’t come across it until after I had managed to put the pattern together, but there is a picture of the assembled pattern on Zaaberry, which would definitely would have been helpful.

Lotta Jansdotter Snuggler

The other tricky bit is the step where you have to sew the lining to the outer shell. At that point, you have to find a way to sew around both the inner part of the pouch and the swaddle flaps (for lack of a better term), and if you’re not careful as you pivot around that corner, the fabric can easily get twisted up at the seam where the two connect. Rather than trying to sew the seam in one pass, I started at the top of the inner part of the pouch and sewed to the side seam, repeated for the other side, and then sewed from side seam to side seam (leaving an opening to turn the swaddler inside out) around the swaddler flaps. Does that make any sense?

Blood Orange Maddie Hoodie

The hooded cardigans are Carrie Bostick Hodge’s Maddie Hoodie pattern. I knit up the 12 mos size and followed the pattern almost to the letter, except that my row gauge was off just enough to require some minor adjustments to the sleeve increases and to the row counts for the hood. I used Berroco Weekend DK in Blood Orange, Seedling, and Swimming Hole for the main colors and Daisy for the stripes. I really liked this yarn and would definitely use it again for kid stuff.

Maddie Hoodie pocket

This pattern is very easy to follow, but there is a fair bit of finishing work for such a small cardigan—seaming the pockets, seaming the sleeves, extra ends to weave in from the stripes, and a bunch of buttons to sew on. If you aren’t knitting three of these cardigans in a row, I suspect the finishing is less of an ordeal. The little green sweater sat around for two months before I could stomach another round of buttons. Anyway, I like that it’s a basic style with some more distinct details. Like those little pockets! So useless, but so cute. They will be great for storing things like runaway Cheerios and partially smashed blueberries.

Maddie Hoodie in Berroco Weekend DK

My own style tends enough toward “somber” and “boring” that the best part of making things for small people is using color and bright prints. Now that we’re moving closer to our families, I’m going to make a habit of regularly measuring our smaller family members so I can make fun, bright things when the mood strikes. I’m sure it won’t be weird at all when I try to wrangle them with a measuring tape.

Lotta Snugglers and Maddie Hoodies

In Progress: Little Wave

I cast on for a new sweater over the weekend–Gudrun Johnston’s Little Wave. I actually had the yarn for this sweater earmarked for a different pattern for almost a year, but never worked up the motivation to actually get started on it. Then, a few weeks ago, I was feeling overwhelmed trying to pick a new knitting project, and I made Aidan sit down and give me his thoughts on the patterns I had in my Ravelry queue. Since the beginning of our relationship, Aidan’s been responsible for picking out things that have become my favorite clothes, so I trust his judgment. Well, he nixed the cardigan pattern I had planned to make with this yarn because he didn’t like the stand up collar. I agreed that a stand up collar isn’t a look I’m a huge fan of and figured that if it had been a year, and I still hadn’t committed to that sweater project, then it wasn’t worth keeping on the docket. Aidan suggested I make something with a shawl collar instead, which brought me to Little Wave.

The yarn I’m using is Valley Yarns Northampton in Ocean Heather, which I’ve actually salvaged from a previous sweater project that I never wore. I’d used it previously to make Ravine. That sweater has a great cable pattern that was a lot of fun to knit, but in the end I just didn’t like the fit, the neckline, or the style of the sweater. This was one of my earlier attempts in trying to nail down a good sweater fit and while I learned a lot from this project, I think I only ended up wearing it once or twice.

 Anyway, I took an evening to take the sweater apart, unravel the pieces, and wind the yarn into hanks. I let the yarn soak in a tub of water for a good while, and now that all the kinks are gone, it’s ready to be reborn as a new sweater project.

Working out the fitting for this pattern has been the biggest challenge so far. The combination of the textured stitch pattern, the garter stitch panels at the sides of the sweater, and the bottom-up saddle-shoulder construction doesn’t give a lot of room for improvising and makes it a bit harder to move between sizes. Plus, there’s about a 5″ difference between each pattern size, which also makes it a bit trickier to pick the right size to work with. The pattern is actually written with separate instructions for men and women, so that there’s one set of finished chest measurements, but two sets of instructions for shaping the cardigan so that it fits more conventional feminine or masculine styling. (Basically, the women’s version includes some waist shaping, a higher armscye, and the length through the body and sleeves is also a bit shorter.) The trade off for a unisex pattern seems to be fewer overall size options, but so it goes.

Right now, my plan is to basically make up the 46” size through the body. However, I’ll be casting on for the number of stitches called for in the 51” size, and dividing the extra stitches between the garter panels at the sides and the cardigan fronts. I’ll get rid of the extra stitches in the garter panels by working additional waist decreases and then get rid of the extra stitches on the cardigan fronts by starting the v-shaping for the neckline sooner than called for in the pattern. This will give me more room at the hips, waist, and bust, while allowing me to work the shoulder and armscye shaping for a smaller size. The shoulders for the 46″ will be too wide for me, so I’m going to try to work some extra decreases in the yoke shaping in hopes that I can decrease down to the appropriate number of stitches for the 41.25″ size. Here’s hoping the plan works out!

Grandpa Cardigan

Finally! Finished pics of the Grandpa cardigan. I started knitting this in August as part of a knit-along with my friend, Abby. I’m pretty worn out on lightweight, fitted cardigans, but I’m really liking heavier-weight cardigans that almost more like jackets. I made the Girl Friday cardigan a few years ago, which is pretty similar in style, and I’ve been wearing it a lot over the last year. So I think the Grandpa cardigan will fit into my closet nicely. I used Cascade 220 in Atlantic. The pattern calls for a DK weight yarn, but I like the way this knit up in a worsted weight. The fabric isn’t too dense and the cables have great definition.

Before I get into detailing all of my fit modifications, I just want to say that this is a really excellent pattern. This sweater can be a bit challenging–there are a lot of different details to manage at once–but I think the pattern in written in such a way that makes tackling everything that you need to do as clear and as manageable as possible. As long as you’re keeping track of the numbers and charts that are relevant to your size, I think it’s pretty easy to stay on top of where you need to be.

I think this pattern also has some really great design details. I like that the cable pattern is specific to each size and that the ribbing on the collar, sleeves, and hem is all finished with a tubular bind-off. I don’t think I’ve used a tubular bind-off before, and even though it’s a bit to work around the length of the collar, the result is really nice. (I found this tutorial from Interweave especially helpful when I was working the bind off.) I’ve also previously tried a pattern with a seamless, set-in sleeve like this pattern uses and ended up with a sleeve that looked really weird and baggy. I’ve seen other people get similar results with this construction method so I was a bit hesitant, but I think the sleeves on this cardigan look really good and have yet to see another project where someone had something funky going on with their sleeves.

My upper torso, full bust, and hip measurements all fall into three different sizes, which I usually manage with bust darts and a lot of waist shaping using methods that wouldn’t work with this particular pattern. To work around this, I started with the 42-44” size for the upper torso, and then added extra stitches for the bust by following the neckline instructions for the largest size. This made the sweater ~46” around the fullest part of my bust. Then I added more room at the hip by working 4 extra sets of increases at the waist shaping.

The armscye seemed a bit shallow to me, so I added 1/2” before starting the armhole shaping. I made the sleeves 2” shorter than the pattern called for and added a couple of extra buttons. After I finished the sweater at the end of the September, I realized it was looking a bit short and hitting me at kind of a weird place. So I ripped out the collar and button band and ripped out the ribbing at the bottom so that I could add another 2” of length in the body. I’m much happier with the longer length—I think it works well with the style of the sweater.

Adding the extra length used up the extra ball of “just in case” yarn I ordered for this project. If I hadn’t used it to lengthen the body, I probably would have gone back and made the button band significantly wider. The shawl collar is a bit shallow and sometimes wants to flip up, but I could also use a little bit of extra width on the body. The cables pull in enough that make this feel pretty snug even though it’s knit to the measurements I typically knit to. The pattern recommends 1-2” of ease, which I ignored because I typically knit sweaters with zero ease or just a bit of negative ease, but I wish I had added more ease through the body to counteract the behavior of the cables. If I were to knit this again, I’d also lower the back neckline by about an inch.

Making this pattern was the most fun I’ve had knitting in quite awhile. I highly recommend it, and I’m looking forward to trying more Joji Locatelli patterns in the future. There’s really a glut of knitting patterns available right now, but I Joji is one of the designers that always stands out to me (Ysolda Teague and all of the regular contributors to Brooklyn Tweed tend to be my other favorites). Not everything she designs is something I would wear, but I really appreciate the originality of her work and the fact that she’s coming up with more challenging designs that make use of a variety of construction methods and techniques. Maybe I’ll have to try Even Flow next?

Basic Socks and a Wee Liesl

After I finished my Grandpa cardigan (which I still haven’t photographed yet, but which has been blocked and now has buttons and has been on my back every couple of days since then), I was feeling the need for some quick and mindless knitting. I started by finishing up two small projects that I’d had laying around for awhile. The first finished project was another pair of socks for Aidan. There isn’t much to say about these since they are pretty much the same as every other pair of socks I make for him—top down in 2×2 rib worked over 72 sts on US size 1 needles. This yarn is Regia 4 Ply Terra in the Anthracite colorway. I think this is something like the 12th or 13th pair of socks I’ve made for Aidan over the last seven years, and only one pair has bit the dust so far.

Anthracite Socks

The second finished project was a little cardigan that I started making at some point last spring when I was in the middle of a knitting funk. I had just finished up my Blank Canvas sweater, and I didn’t have a project that I felt inspired to work on but my hands felt restless. When I saw the pattern pop up on Ravelry, I thought: that purple yarn that I never know what to do with would be perfect for this. And so , even though I didn’t have a recipient in mind and didn’t even know anyone with an infant- to toddler-sized girl, I cast on. I managed to get about 3/4 of the way through the body of the sweater before I finally thought, “What the hell am I going to do with this sweater?”, shoved it in the back of my knitting bin, forgot about it, and settled back into my knitting funk.

Wee Liesl Cardigan

The pattern is Ysolda Teague’s Wee Liesl and the yarn is Serenity Sock in violet. The pink buttons were the only appropriate button choice I had on hand, so I decided to just embrace the super-princess look. I knit the 18-24 months size to use up the maximum amount of yarn. This was a fun and frivolous knitting project and the result is pretty cute. If I were a toddler, I would probably style this cardigan with rainbow striped leggings and heart-shaped sunglasses. In the time between me setting this cardigan aside and then finally finishing it, a friend actually had a little girl, and so this cardigan will now be going to my new little friend Yusra (who was also the recipient of the Pomander cardigan). She probably won’t fit into it for another year, but I’m sure she will look very cute in it when she does.

After finishing up the socks and cardigan, I was on a roll and managed to knit up a cowl and two hats in the span of a week. Now I’m in the middle of a fingering-weight pullover that I’m knitting. For a mostly sweater knit almost entirely in stockinette at about 8 stitches per inch, it’s going surprisingly fast. I’m still trying to plug along with sewing, but honestly, I have a lot on my plate right now and knitting is my comfort craft. So if I post a lot more about knitting than I do about sewing, it’s just because my hands and my brain are going with what they know best!

Pomander Cardigan

Right now, I have several knitting projects in the works at once, which is unusual for me since I generally prefer to focus on one thing at a time. It also means that I’ve been doing a lot of knitting but haven’t managed to finish much. My most recent finish is this little baby sweater I made for a friend in my doctoral program last month.

Pomander Cardigan

This is the Pomander Cardigan pattern, which I knit up in Valley Yarns Huntington in the Sea Gull colorway (you can find all the knitterly details on Ravelry). This is a light-weight circular-yoke cardigan with a cabled yoke and an i-cord finish at the neckline, and the pattern comes in sizes 3 mos – 18 mos.  You work the body of the sweater from the bottom up, using a provisional cast-on for the sleeves at the start of the yoke shaping. Then, once the body is complete, you undo the provisional cast-on and knit the sleeves from the top-down. I’ve never made a sweater with this construction method before, so it was an interesting knit.

Pomander Cardigan yoke closeup

Overall, I really like this pattern—I’m not a huge fan of the wide button band, but I love the way the cable detail works at the neckline. I made the 9 mos size and am crossing my fingers that it will be just the right size to see a late-summer baby through most of Central New York’s lengthy sweater season.  I didn’t make any significant changes aside from working one-row buttonholes instead of the yarn-over buttonholes called for in the pattern. I seriously dislike yarn-over buttonholes. Yes, they are easy to make. But I think they can also look kind of sloppy and can be difficult to locate when you’re actually trying to button a sweater up—especially in a fingering-weight baby sweater.

Pomander Cardigan back view

All in all, it was a fun little knit and a well-received gift. I know some people balk at the idea of knitting sweaters for babies and toddlers since they grow so quickly, ooze various kinds of bodily fluids, and are generally sort of messy. But in my experience, a simple sweater in an easy-care yarn gets a lot of love, especially given how quick they are to make.

Regia 4 Ply Terra in Silver and Denim

Sock in Regia 4 Ply Terra Anthracite

As for my other in-progress knitting projects, my Grandpa cardigan is still on hold while I do the finishing for my Apres Surf Hoodie (and there is basically a metric crap ton of finishing for this pattern). Thanks to all of that tedious finishing work in front of my and a particularly stressful week, I ended up impulse buying 3 balls of discontinued Regia 4-Ply at 50% from Webs. I’ve already cast on for a simple pair of socks for Aidan in the Anthracite colorway. I’m glad to have some mindless knitting at the ready, and I’m also seriously doubting that I will manage to finish the Apres Surf Hoodie while it’s still seasonally appropriate to wear. So it goes. Knitting adheres to it’s own timetable!

New Cardigan: McCalls 6844

If I wasn’t already sold on garment sewing, I would be after this project. I’m still kind of shocked that I managed to make this myself.

This is a my February project for the Make a Garment a Month challenge. I actually managed to finish sewing this on the evening of the 28th, but it’s clearly taken me awhile to get around to taking pictures. I’m blaming a particularly difficult grading marathon.

The pattern I used is McCalls 6844 (view A), which is a pattern that’s been made about a million times at this point. And I totally get why—it’s a really excellent pattern with some great design details. I appreciate that it’s an open-front cardigan that is not a waterfall style, and I also like this version’s slight, but not overly-obnoxious, high-low hem. It’s really only a matter of time before I make this pattern again. I’m pretty sure my life demands a version in black and, possibly, a more casual striped version.

One of the great things about this pattern for me (given that this is only the second garment I’ve made for myself) is that the fit is forgiving enough that I didn’t really have to make any fit adjustments. I took 3/8” out of the shoulder but otherwise cut a straight size XL. The next time around, I might take a full 1/2” from the shoulder and I’ll shorten the sleeves by about 1/2”. If I were using a less stretchy fabric (this sweater knit had at least 50% stretch), I would probably also add some width to the sleeves.

After reading reviews of the pattern, I decided to use a different construction order than outlined in the pattern instructions, and I think that made it even easier to sew. I started by sewing the collar pieces together per the pattern instructions. Then I sewed the shoulder seams (adding some fusible stay tape to stabilize the seams), and then sewed the sleeves in flat. After that, I hemmed the sleeves and the bottom of the sweater before stitching up the sides of the body and the sleeves. Finally, I attached the collar to the sweater and then topstitched to finish. I used a stretch stitch for the hems. It looks clean and I’m relatively pleased with how it turned out, but I think my next sewing-with-knits challenge is to master the twin needle.

I used a very stretchy dark gray Hacci sweater knit from Girl Charlee. I was a little worried about working with a sweater knit, but it was fine. It was a bit of a pain to cut, partly because it had so much stretch and partly because it was a little sticky and was reluctant to being smoothed out nicely for me to lay the pattern pieces down. But after I got past the cutting, things got a lot easier. It was very easy to sew, pressed really nicely, and resulted in a cardigan that is very comfortable to wear.

(Somehow, while taking these pictures, I managed to strike a perfectly dramatic fashion blogger pose. Although you’ll note the absence of a coordinating handbag so . . . Fail.)

After wearing this out and about, I realized that people have a tendency to dive in and touch your clothes (which is basically touching you, the wearer) when they find out that you’ve made something. I’ve had this happen over and over for years. Once, when I told a friend I had knit the sweater I was wearing, she jumped out of her seat and stuck her hand down the front of my sweater to feel the back of the cabling pattern. I think it’s funny and innocent, probably because I’ve only experienced this reaction from women I know and because there’s always a funny moment when the person realizes they’re doing something really weird. Have you experienced this before? What do you think is the behind the fascination with touching handmade items?