Wednesday, April 07, 2010
You might see the trap but you still fall in
This is meant to be my new go-to, wear all the time black cardigan for this winter. The pattern is Mr Greenjeans from knitty.
I like it better with only one button done up, but all three is a warmer option.
Unfortunately I'm disappointed with the wool and wish I had used something nicer. Sometime last year, Lincraft Merino Crepe 8 ply (actually more like a 10ply in weight) was going very cheap, so I bought a whole lot of it with some kind of cardigan in mind. I expected the wool to be a reasonable imitation of Patons Totem and thought it would make a good, hard-wearing fabric. It seemed pretty crunchy as I was knitting it. A soak using hair conditioner helped a bit, but it is still a bit hard, and somewhat prickly. To add insult to injury, it doesn't appear to be terribly hard-wearing either. The first time I washed it, I left a lot of ends hanging (because I wasn't sure if I would have to rip out and redo some of it), and I was amazed to find that just a gentle soak and rinse had made the loose ends start to felt!
I actually finished this a while ago, well before the leaf yoke top, when it was far too warm to wear it. I didn't even manage to keep it on long enough to try for photos. And I was really disappointed at how scratchy and prickly it felt - I really wondered if I would end up wearing it much at all, and if I would always have to wear long sleeves underneath. Now that the weather has turned cooler, it doesn't feel as bad, and I think I will end up using it quite a bit.
Putting aside my feelings about the wool, I am pretty happy with the fit. Others have pointed out that there is something a bit funny about the raglan shaping with this pattern - there seems to be a little bit of extra fabric there, and it hangs oddly if I wear it open. Other than that it is an elegant, simple pattern that was easy to adjust - I made the sleeves and body longer than the original, and started the cabled section higher. I also made the ribbed band a few rows wider than the pattern specifies, partly because the buttons were quite big and partly because the body seemed kind of narrow (though blocking sorted that out).
I did have to pick up and knit the band twice - the first time I had way too many stitches and as you can see in the picture above, it flared out badly. The second time I followed the pattern instructions (crazy, hey?) for the ratio of stitches to pick up, and it worked. I also took the opportunity to change the button spacing - I knew I wouldn't wear it done up at the bottom anyway, and I liked the idea of putting those oversized buttons quite close together to emphasise their scale. They were a lucky op-shop find some time ago.
Thanks dear sister, for taking the photos of the finished article and putting up with my self-conscious chatter the whole time.