This time last week, I was not entirely sure that this post would ever happen. The sleeves of this cardigan caused me a mammoth headache, including me messing them up and having to frog the whole back of the cardigan to above where the sleeves began.
To take my mind off the mess I’d made, as well as procrastinating about starting the tricky bits, I went button shopping with my daughter. I saw these and fell in love-the oak leaves fitted perfectly with the autumnal cardigan image I had in my head.
I realised that I had to bite the bullet and just do the hard bit, which was picking up the cast off stitches. I kind of did it right on one sleeve at least! This time I sewed in the ends before starting the sleeves as last time the stitches loosened and left large gaps. After that it all went pretty smoothly. On Monday evening I finally sewed in the last ends and here is the finished product, being modelled by my 3 year old who was a bit of a diva about the whole process.
Things I’m pleased with
I love the colour and the buttons, it turned out as I had pictured in my head.
I’m also really proud of the straight join between the ribbing and the buttons bands. (I am aware that is an odd thing to be pleased with, but finishing neatly is a big thing to me!)
Things I’m not so pleased with
The picking up of the cast off stitches has left a ‘scar’ on one sleeve. I gave up trying to perfect it in the end, which is unlike me, but I didn’t want to mess it up again and risk frogging it all. The other sleeve was fine and it’s at the back of the sleeve so I guess not many people will see it anyway!
The fit is a little too snug for my liking, but because it is made of a wool yarn I should be able to block it a little more to make it larger if needed.
Things I learned
From start to finish this was a learning curve. It began by mastering the provisional cast on, which also led to me learning to use those stitches to start the second piece.
I’d never made a top down cardigan before so I had lots to learn for that, including how to use a circular needle to knit a sleeve in the round using magic loop. (I’d tried magic loop before and failed miserably, as well as finding it frustrating!)
Picking up and knitting stitches along the edges of the knitted fabric was another skill used a lot due to the lace panel, as well as the collar and buttonhole/button bands. I found a neater way to do it and felt much more confident with how to do it by the end.
Once I’d finished, I learned that blocking is a knitter’s magic wand. Some of my knitting had been a bit uneven, especially on the sleeves. However, a good soak and a gentle block have done it the world of good and I am so pleased with it. I can’t wait for my daughter to wear it properly!
For now, though, that little cardigan is laying on a table in the horticulture and handicrafts marquee of our village show, awaiting judgement tomorrow morning. We shall see how that goes, I know it’s not perfect but I’m glad I made it.