Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Cotton Candy Bobbles Cardigan

Someone recently complained that I always promise pictures of finished objects, but never deliver them - which is true and absolutely not good. I'm not sure I will be able to show all of the knitting I've finished since then but let me start with showing you the finished Cotton Candy Bobbles Cardigan that has been in several Yarn Along posts.
The cardi was my first Raglan piece and it was quite a challenge when it came to joining the sleeves. They were knit in the round and I already had a lot of stitches on my needle before adding those tubes to the whole piece. I nearly broke my wrists trying to knit the sleeve stitches, so I used three (or four?) circular needles to cover the length of the very long rows and magic looped the sleeve parts like I usually do when knitting in the round. This technique created a bit of uneven knitting at the needle junctions but that's better than stretched stitches and broken wrists...
The cardigan is a bit roomy around the armpits and upper arms, which leads to occasional bulking up in that area but that's ok. It's knitted in Cascade 220 wool, colourway "Tutu", a worsted weight and will therefore mostly been worn in Autumn and Winter, so a little bit more room around the arms might not be too bad when I want to wear blouse or a long-sleeved top underneath.
If you've read my Yarn Along posts, you know how much pain the curling of the stockinette parts gave me. A good blocking totally helped in that area but to be sure I added a crochet border (and for decorative reasons, too) which consists of double crochet stitches (or for US residents: single crochet) all around every hem. I thought that the lower edge could use even more reinforcement so I added another row of crochet which is a variation of the Bobble-shell Edging of lovely Lucy from Attic24. It looked so nice that I gave the neck opening the same treatment =)
I wanted to have a longer cardigan than the pattern suggested so I added a bit of length and another pattern repeat - which wasn't enough. I should have added two repeats but there was no way I could have faced another ripping back and I was slowly but surely running out of yarn! Eeek!! The front panels now had a couple of rows of plain garter stitch on top and just looked wrong. Luckily I had recently found little transparent butterfly buttons and decided to sew them on those garter stitch sections. Now tiny lovely butterflies dance around the bobbly vines and I'm pretty much in love with them.

The pattern originally suggested a big button for closing the cardigan but I didn't even have enough yarn left to create a button loop. Furthermore I would have found a button too much and too busy for an already very frilly cardigan. I then sewed on 4 hooks and eyes (and that was very fiddly and tedious work!) and find that solution very nice. It didn't turn out as neat as I would have liked, there's still a bit of a gap but I was definitely out of yarn by then and quite honestly very tired from all the deciding and trying out and what not... I hope I never have to darn this cardigan because I truly have no yarn left!! I even had to use spit-splicing in order to felt yarn scraps together and used every bit of fluffly pink fiber =) The hooks add a bit of weight to the front panels, maybe I should have used 4 small ones instead of 2 small ones and 2 rather big ones. Coulda, shoulda, woulda - I will leave it as it is now or I'll surely go nuts.

The pattern is the Bobble-Vine Jacket by Edie Eckman and per se very pretty and a good idea. I found the sizing a bit off (I knitted the smallest size and it's not really that small) and the chart was so small and blurry that I had to blow it up a couple of sizes on the copier. That didn't take care of the blurriness but helped a bit with the size. The sleeves are way too roomy although I cast on less stitches than the pattern said. I had to go up to the stated amount eventually though because I am too much of a rookie in knitting raglan-shaped cardigans and there was no way I could have altered the sleeves and raglan sections and still keep the bobbly pattern and neck shaping in order.

To sum it up: I was at the same time loving and doubting this cardigan during the whole process and when I tried it on before blocking it looked horrible and wonky. After blocking it I was so surprised and pleased and now I love this piece and look forward to wearing it on colder days =) Never, NEVER judge a piece before blocking!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Yarn Along 19

I'm joining Ginny from Small Things again in her weekly Yarn Along and well, it's been a while...
I hope you're all doing well! I can't believe it's May already, really - I just can't! What's up with time lately? I'm not even that busy and still, time just runs by and all I can do is stand there, look at the calendar and ask myself if I just overslept for several solid months.

At the moment I'm mainly focusing (knittingwise) on a new cardigan in a fingering weight yarn. It's "Bendir" from Verena Knitting, 2011 Spring issue and I loved it at first sight. I'm knitting this lovely little cardigan with yarn I'm pretty much in love with. It's a 50% cotton 50% merino blend and soooo soft. The colour is a light lavender, depending on the light it sometimes looks even light grey with a tiny hint of purple - definitely gorgeous! The pattern calls for prism beads all over the cardigan. I figured it would be highly uncomfortable to have rather big beads on the back part, for example when you sit back in a chair and have those beads poke you in the back. At first I wanted to just add beads on the front parts but in the end I decided to let go of the whole bead idea altogether.
It's a whole lot of stockinette at first, then you sew the parts together and pick up stitches all around the hem and knit a lacy border. This will be a lovely piece for summer days and I hope to get it done in time.

As for the reading part: I'm still reading "Drums of Autumn" but it's going rather slowly at the moment. I needed something familiar to read in between and pulled the first Harry Potter book from the shelf. I have this routine of reading all of the HP books over and over again in a loop, reading the whole series through and then start at book one again. It's been several months since I put the last book back on the shelf and I was starting to miss the wizarding world a lot. So here it goes again, right from the start =)

In case any of you wondered, I finished my Cotton Candy Bobbles Cardigan. Still have to take decent pictures though. It's so hard to do it myself so I'll try to get Sebastian to do it sometime this week. I tried to snap good pictures myself in front of every mirror in the house but only got crappy results. Some people really rock this technique but not me...

Please head over to Ginny's for excellent inspiration!