Friday, September 30, 2016

Reindeer

This cardigan is a very special project to me.  It was designed by one of my knitting friends, Alina Schneider.  You may know her better as Giftofknitting on Ravelry and Instagram.  This was her first sweater design and has been in my "To Knit" list since she first released it, but all sorts of test knitting, KALs, and stressful life things had me putting it off until I knew I could enjoy knitting and enjoy wearing it.  So, The Summer Sweater Knit-along was the perfect time to finally make it happen.





Knitting a design from someone you know is extra special.  It provides another connection to them, one besides the common bond of our love of handmaking things.  It's a shared experience.  I had her creativity directing my hands and all the things that were happening in my life at the time I knit it, were woven into, too.



For the knitting part- I loved everything about making this sweater.  Well, okay, I didn't love knitting sleeves, but who does?  I can say that I didn't mind knitting them too much, which is saying a lot.  The Arroyo yarn was beautiful to watch  as it shifted colors and the body was fun to knit.  The cable panel in back was interesting, but not crazy hard.


 The bottom band and collar were more fun than the usual stockinette or garter.


As for the wearing- it is so easy to throw on.  It's a lighter weight, drapey sweater that works best for me in a warm climate.  That back panel is the kind of thing people comment on.  It hasn't been cool enough to wear it, but trust me, there will be comments.  I also appreciate the fact that it's on the longer side.  It's the perfect length for over leggings, which will be happening at some point this Fall, right?  Please?


Details:  I used 4 skeins of Arroyo in the Azules colorway and size 5 needles to knit a size medium.  The pattern was easy to follow, but I made several mistakes by being foggy brained.  One was to not alternate skeins every two or three rows when I began, even though I could tell one of the three skeins looked a little less vibrant than the other two.  Sheesh.  Anyway, I found the colors pooling in a weird, checkerboard- type way across the back, the color changes stopping and starting at the cable panel.  Then there was just this long area of only blue in the cable part.  You can see it, below:


It distracted from the beautiful design, but I didn't have the heart to rip it back all the way.  (I was almost to the arms at this point.)  Instead I ripped back half of that, and began with alternating skeins.  I didn't alternate evenly on the rest of the back, though, because I wanted some pooling at the top to match the pooling at the bottom- just not in a checkerboard pattern, as in the photo below:


I don't think the bottom pooling is too noticeable in the finished product.


Then, I realized 3 skeins weren't going to be enough for my extra long version.  Luckily, I found the last known skein in existence (at least at that time) for sale at Jimmy Beans and ordered, hoping it would look okay when I rotated it into the alternating skeins.  It did, thankfully.

When in the process of ripping back, I ripped out the waist decreases and completely forgot about them when I re-knit the body.  So I had an extra stitch to bind off for the armhole on each side.

This next bit is fuzzy because I didn't take good notes:  I knew my row gauge was off and that I'd probably need a deeper armhole.  So I knit the upper back a bit longer and picked up 8 extra stitches  for each sleeve.  I also didn't decrease as many stitches all the way down the sleeve.  I think, at that point, I was fearing the whole thing would be too small.


It's always scary to knit something tighter than it should be in order for it to block out to the right size, as my swatch suggested.  I mean, you can try it on, but it doesn't fit well so it gives you little confidence.  If it does fit, then you know you've messed up because it will block out too big.  So, I held my breath until it was blocking.  There  was a prayer or two, also.  At first, the fiber seemed to have loosened up too much.  I feared it would swallow me  with it's big airy fabric and super long, monkey arms.  But I blocked it to the correct measurements, stretched those arms out, widthwise, and waited.  By the second day it was perfect.  It had loosened up enough to be drapey, but fit exactly right.   There's a reason everyone loves Malabrigo.


Even though I forgot to add my waist decreases, I still think this cardigan looks incredible.  It is buttery smooth and makes me look put together even if I throw it on over my usual rumpled wardrobe.  Thank you, Alina, for letting us create such beautiful things with you.


Strange as it sounds, I'm also taking the fact that the measurements I took for this sweater remained correct for me from the beginning of my knitting through to the end as I sign that my body is calming down and maintaining a steady shape.  Hopefully that indicates a steadying hormonal balance.  It's a small sign, but if it's true, it points to the further restoration of my health, and that's huge for me.   Combined with a major decrease in migraines, clearer skin, and the ability to sleep through the night, things are looking very up.

Other posts on this knit: planning, cast on day, and the pooling debate.

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