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Foreverweight .. I mean, Featherweight Cardigan

It took thousands of stitches in lace weight yarn, but it was worth it.  Listen to me, I’m being so dramatic.  A quick look at my Ravelry page shows me it only took about two months of working, off and on.   I’m spoiled to rapid tv knitting that gives me a sweater in two weeks.  Since this one took so long to make, you’ll have to stomach many, many sweater photos.

So, Featherweight, by Hannah Fettig,  is my second sweater for the Summer Sweater Knitalong 2014 and my first entry for The Classic “Must Knit” Knitalong.  I’m a full fledged member of the Featherweight Club now.  6743 of these have been made and logged into Ravelry.  No telling how many more are floating around out there.  It is easily one of the most knitted patterns I’ve ever queued up.   But I’ve always hesitated to knit it because I wanted to lengthen the body and sleeves and knew that would take some time to work up.

I’ve already posted about my color inspiration, a painting inspired by the colors on the side of VHS tapes of the 80’s and 90s.  I had such a big stack of those – collections of random 120 Minutes and Comic Strip episodes, along with every episode of China Beach.  Ah, nostalgia.

So I found just the colors I needed in Jaggerspun Zephyr (curry and jade) and Madtosh Lace (shire).   I balled each skein up, making my arm muscles totally ripped, and toted around 3000 yards of lace weight yarn for two months.

I used a size US 2.5 circular needle for a gauge of 6 sts/ 8 rows per inch, working the sleeves with magic loop.  I made the size 35.25″ but expected it to block out to 36.5″ or so.  I worked 20 rows per color until the bottom, where I worked 20 rows of the blue, then 20 more rows of blue ribbing on both body and sleeves.

(Like my necklace?  It’s from Stephanie of Native Clutter.)

I did the recommended sleeve decreases, then worked the sleeves straight to be full length.  I had originally added more decreases but didn’t like the look of them and reknit them.  They appear more fitted in the upper arm than they actually are.  The lace yarn has a clingy look but feels wonderfully stretchy and comfortable.  I love the length on these sleeves, too.  I blocked my sleeves and body out for width, not length, so I intentionally knit these longer than wrist length.

Oh, man!  I cannot tell you how good it felt to stick this in the tub and then block it.  It was a major sense of accomplishment.  Plus, I can go back to worsted weight stuff, which is the new bulky for me.

(on my instagram)

My only mods were to do stripes and lengthen the cardigan.  The pattern is pretty much perfect.  I know I moaned quite a bit about lace weight sleeves on magic loop, but I’m so glad I did.  Had this been knit in fingering weight, it would have gone faster, not only because the yarn is thicker, but also because it’s easier to knit and read with heavier yarn.  Even so, I did get to a point where I could read The Well of Ascension and watch The Returned while working on this.

Okay, so I’ve made two Hannah Fettig designs.  I’m a real knitter now!!  I think she’s undeniably the master of loose and flowy cardigans.  But there are other designs I love just as well, like Aproned TankFlugel, Bayside, Willard Fair Isle Pullover, and Lightweight Pullover.  So much goodness.

(more on my ravelry, kollabora, flickr, and instagram)

So, yeah, I love it.  The lace is lightweight and stretchy like the perfect leggings.  The length will work great with any skinny legged thing I put on, and the colors are so, so great.  I only pray I don’t immediately snag it on a drawer pull or a cat or something.

Other posts on my Featherweight Cardigan: color combo, sleeve separation, more progress, and procrastinating.

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  1. I know I already commented on Instagram, but I just have to say, again, that I love this and your mods! It turned out SO lovely. Ps. Sergio was just looking over my shoulder at your blog and asked 'is it called so-called handmade life because she looks like that girl?' You're a grown up Angela Chase!

  2. very very beautiful. I like the colours, the stripes, lenght and the photos too, so basically everything. I would love to have something like that, so I will have to check out the pattern and maybe add it to my queue list…

  3. This looks incredible Michelle!! Now you've got me itching to make another with added length and long sleeves. And those colors are really perfect. Definitely worth all that lace knitting!

  4. Aw, I think my comment got eaten. Stupid slow camp internet.

    This turned out so good! I love that you combined two solids with the varigated/tonal yarn. It really makes the varigated yarn pop without taking away from the pretty sweater itself! And I really like the mods you did – the length looks great in this sweater, and I admire you doing all that extra knitting in such fine yarn! Hats off you you. 🙂

    And as always, fantastic photos! I wish I could take pictures as nice as you. <3

  5. Ha! Thank you, Sarah. About a third of the way thru it I realized I am insane, but I'm glad I kept at it. Very worth it.

  6. Aw, thank you so much, Lori! Now I just have to keep my daughter from swiping it before I get a chance to wear it. 🙂

  7. That's funny! I don't see the resemblance, but I don't mind the comparison. I love Claire Danes (though I still haven't seen Homeland!) My brother used to say I reminded him of her, too.

  8. Thanks, Rebecca!! I think this knit, especially in fingering, could be a great tv knit. You could reserve it for times when mindless stockinette is best. It took me a while to get used to knitting lace, but fingering would've been much easier.

  9. Thank you very much! There's a reason it's a Ravelry "classic". It's a simple but very wearable design. I enjoyed looking thru all of the FOs and deciding what mods I'd like to make.

  10. Absolutely! I can't believe I've put it off for so long, then did a super long version. But I do love it. Now I just need some Fall.

  11. Thank you, Jennifer! Your striped featherweight was what inspired me to do a striped version in the first place. If it weren't so long, it would've been a much faster knit. Also, the difference between lace and fingering is so minimal, yet when knitting, they're very different. I did finally get to where I could look away from the work to watch tv or read a little. But it was intense for a while.

  12. Oh, thank you, Heather! I liked the addition of one variegated yarn, too. I saw someone do a sweater like that once and have always liked the way it looks. I'm glad I stuck with it, but I don't think I could do too many delicate weight projects in one year without losing my mind. And, oh my, you can totally take pictures as good, and better, than mine! I have a lower level Canon Rebel that has made a difference in picture quality, but the rest is just lots of fiddling with where I stand and camera angle, etc.

  13. Thanks, Kim! I know, two months isn't really long at all. I was just being a baby because lace weight is hard for me. 🙂

  14. Thank you! I spend lots of time on Pinterest when looking for color combos. It's endless inspiration.

  15. i'm finally catching up on some blog reading and happened upon this beauty! the finished featherweight turned out so well– even if it did take forever 😉 and i love the longer version….i have stayed away from this cardigan because i'm so long-torso-d that i didn't want it to look like a cropped version. but this is wonderful. even though its thousands of stitches, it's still so beautiful!

  16. Thank you, Kristen! I'm fairly long torso-ed myself and my daughter is very much so, yet it works on us both. The light weight balances out the length too. I might be overwhelmed in our mild winters by a super long cardigan in worsted, but lace weight is no big deal.

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