Just before Christmas I received my print copy of Journey in the mail. It was so hard to ignore it as I had gifts and various sleeves at different stages of completion. As soon as I had all but one completed, I decided to begin my knitting tour through Shannon Cook and Jane Richmond‘s book with Inland.
When I see a new pattern collection, I’m usually drawn to the garments, so it was natural for me to queue up both Inland and Antrorse. I started with Inland, though, because I thought I might could finish it before the end of 2013. I don’t know why this mattered to me, it just did.
I was also sick with some kind of cough and stranded on my couch anyway, so why not knit a quick, bulky cardigan. And it was very quick- ten days from start to finish, and that includes ripping back and re-knitting a portion.
I used size 3 needles but my gauge was still off. I checked the revelry comments for the yarn and found that many people find Wool of the Andes Bulky a bit thin for a bulky yarn. I think that must be true because I just could not get gauge without the fabric seeming insubstantial. So I decided to knit at a tighter gauge and follow directions for a 36″ in the hopes that, once it was blocked, it would actually be 36″, which would give me 2 inches of positive ease. I appreciated the clarity the book gives to choosing your garment size based on your actual measurements. I have noticed lots of knitters using these measurements to modify or combine size instructions for their best possible fit.
I only ran into one problem in the actual knitting because I didn’t order the right amount of yarn. I had ordered 2 skeins in the wallaby color way, thinking I would do more of the sweater in a contrast color. Now that I had changed my mind, I really needed one of those skeins to be in porcini. Halfway through the second sleeve I knew I had to have more, which meant placing an order and waiting.
What saved me were the comments left on Ravelry by other knitters who had used the same yarn. Several said it grows with blocking, even to a point of making a sweater too big. At that moment I heard an angelic choir singing, my face aglow in the light of my computer screen. My last project of 2013 would be saved!
I undid the cuff of the completed sleeve and shortened it a bit. I also unknit the bottom of the cardigan past the last two button holes and reknit it, changing the placement of those holes. (They were a little too far apart anyway, so it made no noticeable difference to the finished sweater.) My ribbing was now starting almost two inches higher than before. I also only had 9 buttonholes instead of 10. Shaving these inches off gave me enough main color yarn to finish that second sleeve. I then added my contrasting pockets and soaked the whole thing, fingers crossed.
When blocking, I didn’t have to work hard to stretch the length of the body and sleeves. I did use various household objects to hold the sides of the sweater down for plenty of width. One of these days I will get blocking mats, but for now I have my table… a towel… a bag of cat treats… a stray book… a grapefruit…
I am so relieved it became the perfect fitting sweater. Even the length is right where it should be for a long cardigan.
It is exactly, exactly how I envisioned it would be. That doesn’t usually happen when I make something. I find myself settling for the best my abilities can produce. But this worked out perfectly. The yarn colors looked as good together in person as online, the idea of contrasting pockets that I borrowed from RoHart of Ravelry was the perfect little detail to add, the rustic wooden buttons, the length… all perfect. The pockets are even useful, not just cosmetic. And I love that collar!
This leaves me to wonder what would have happened if one of those wallaby skeins had been porcini and I had knit to the prescribed length. Would I be wearing an elephantine cardigan that looked like it belonged to my daddy? It’s something to keep in mind for next time.
I love these buttons! The whole thing looks like a country walk to me.