Thursday, June 19, 2014

a bit more about a cardi.

This pattern began as a Knitting Fever pattern that I found on Ravelry. I omitted the Lily of the Valley lace pattern so that I could be a bit more flexible with the length of the body and sleeves and let the variagation of the yarn colorway be the main decorative element.  If there is anything I can do to go wrong as fast as possible with knitting, it is incorporating too many decorative elements.  I used to run wild with colors, textures/techniques, novely yarns, fanciful patterns, and more.  Quite often, I just ran amok with too much in one garment.

I focused instead on the idea of adding a decorative grosgrain ribbon placket to a simple sweater.  I planned to put the ribbon on the outside of both plackets, but I lost my nerve after machine stitching the first side of the placket.  The top stitching wasn't as perfectly straight as I would have liked & the knitting stitches squirreled around in the feed dogs to be a bit wonky on the other side - but I was afraid to pick out the machine stitching because the yarn -made up of many thin threads of fiber woven together- was fragile.

My husband encouraged me to make knitting on the top of the buttonhole placket and I am glad I did, even if I made the buttons and buttonholes wrong way around by switching plans right in the middle.
It doesn't really look that weird when it's on, but it feels supremely odd to button.  I guess that gentlemen feel perfectly normal buttoning their shirts this way, so I don't really mind that as much as I mind the quality of the buttonholes.

I practiced machine stitching on wool because I was so down-to-the-wire eeking out every scrap of this soy silk yarn to get the longest sleeves possible that I didn't save any for a sample. The wool worked pretty well, but the ribbon I bought frayed a bit, so I was concerned about that.  I didn't bargain for the bamboo yarn fragmenting into lots of micro-threads also, so the buttonholes were a double mess when I sliced them. I started hand-sewing like mad to triage the edges and it was quite sloppy as a result.  If I hadn't panicked, I could have actually made them a little fancier and they could have been a nice feature - oh well... live and learn!

It isn't so bad from the front and the sweater is otherwise quite comfortable.  I learned a lot and I look forward to experimenting with ribbon plackets.  I found Tasha's tutorial on Elegant Musings to be quite useful, getting started... but I think I will actually knit the buttonholes and make the buttonholes separately on the ribbon alone, hand stitch the ribbon on both sides and then stitch the knitted and sewn buttonholes together with some careful and decorative handsewing.

All-in-all, I would recommend this free online pattern & this yarn to anyone for a simple summer cardigan.  It is substantial enough that it would keep you warm on a late July evening or give you enough warmth to fend off a touch of coolness in a mid-June day.

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