Overdue update

This is slightly old news, but I figured I’d mention what I’ve been up to lately. My crackpottiest recent project was a sweater. After the Nordic mittens I decided that I wanted a more mindless knitting project, and a sweater to wear at home during the winter sounded like a good plan. I’d made the Ribby Cardi from chicknits once before, and wasn’t happy with how the size turned out, but I knew the pattern had potential. I had used the recommended yarn, but even though the rest of the world seemed to like it at 19 st/4″, I thought it was a little loose. (Now, had I been more discerning about evaluating my original gauge swatch, I would’ve figured that out before knitting the sweater). Lesson learned: it’s not enough to get gauge – I also have to like the resulting fabric, or I’m not going to be satisfied with the sweater. With that in mind, I chose a thicker yarn – Cascade Eco Wool, which I really loved working with. I knitted it tighter than the recommended gauge, and am happy with the resulting fabric.

So, I knitted the sweater -which was quite a smooth process – and after blocking the pieces, found that they had shrunk in length. I think the “warm” water in my washing machine was significantly warmer than what I’d used in the sink when blocking my swatch. Lesson learned: don’t block wool that loves to felt in the washing machine unless I’m ok with shrinkage. (Note: I didn’t actually “wash” it – I just used the “soak” cycle).

And that’s when the project got crackpotty. I knew that I’d need to lengthen the sweater, and because it was ribbed, I couldn’t just pick up stitches at the bottom of each piece and knit downwards – the knitting downwards is 1/2 stitch off from the knitting upwards, and the ribbing wouldn’t match. What I ended up doing was knitting extension pieces for the back and fronts of the body, then grafting them on to the original pieces a couple rows up from the original cast-on row. Then I removed the cast-on row and got a virtually invisible length extension. (I can give the gory details if anyone is interested). For the sleeves, I did pick up and knit downwards, changing from the K2P2 rib of the sleeves to a K1P1 rib so the lack of matching wouldn’t show. I knit enough to make turned back cuffs.

and here’s a photo of the finished sweater:


Ribby Cardi from Chicknits. I knitted the same size as the first time, but did the all-over ribbed version, which made the sweater more fitted, as I desired. I did change the collar a bit, using a variation I found on the Ribby Cardi Knitalong blog so the collar is a double layer of fabric. I also made the zipper facing one row wider than in the pattern, and added an inner facing so the raw edges of the zipper tape are enclosed.

Cascade Eco Wool, dark brown. Note: this is knitted at a gauge smaller than the yarn’s recommended gauge, and I had to go down to size 3 needles to hit 19 st/4″. I love the yarn and resulting fabric. There is some pilling, but the pills are loose and easy to remove. I’m hoping that the pilling will stop once the first pilliness is done.

Despite the headaches in finishing, I love the sweater. Plus, knitting and grafting on the extensions was very educational. The one downside of knitting yarn at a tighter-than-recommended gauge is that this sweater is extremely warm. On the plus side, I might be able to turn my thermostat down a bit while wearing it.

One Response to “Overdue update”

  1. Marty says:

    Looks like you had a professional take the photo!

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