Saturday, September 9, 2017

Yet another cardigan!

Every time I mention to my mother that I'm knitting something, and she asks what it is, and I tell her it's a cardigan, there is a moment of silence. Then she asks: "How many do you have?"

The true answer is that I don't know, but that one more always seems like a great idea.

This particular one promises to be a Very Useful Garment, in the appropriate season. Which would be summer, or at least warm spring or fall. There is a possibility of more days like that in 2017, but let's be realistic. Here's another garment for later.

The technical details are that it's machine knitted, using my Singer 360 and its lace carriage. The yarn is silk (originally Loro Piano) from Colourmart. It's grippy and not shiny, but feels finer and crisper (better quality) than silk noile. The fabric is light but (as I sit here wearing it on a coolish September day) warm and comfortable.

I actually punched a card to get this nice regular eyelet fabric. Every fourth row, the lace carriage forces every 8th stitch onto its neighbouring needle and then knits all of them, leaving holes on those emptied needles. It's the machine-knitting equivalent of YO, K2Tog. But faster!

The part of Summer Move On
I really liked
I think she's got it!
I was inspired by a hand knitting pattern called Summer Move On. It has a similar eyelet fabric and a drapey waterfall front. The transition from the sleeve to front drape and collar is really lovely and that was what attracted me to the pattern, along with the fabric.

When I purchased the pattern and analyzed it, however, I realized I would not like the garment at all. It's basically a modified shrug back, with two big rectangular pieces for fronts.

I'm not a fan of shrug knitting patterns. (For non-knitters, think of a rectangle whose length is as long as you want your sleeves on your outstretched arms and across your back. Sew the long sides to each other until the seamed tube is sleeve length. Put on.) The geometry of a shrug forces the sleeve seams to the front, where they are then visible. Seams in knitting are not all that beautiful. This is why the vast majority of shrug knitting patterns feature the back or side view of the garment, and don't show you the front view.

To see how the shape of the Summer Move On pieces fit together to form the garment, I mocked up the back/sleeves piece using some nasty woven fabric.

Shape of back piece
With sleeves pinned

As you can see, while the T shape produces a nice diagonal line, this makes for some pretty horrible bagginess in back. I went looking for some more inspiration, and found a free pattern with a waterfall front called Bienvenidas. It has a closer fit with raglan sleeves. Its diagonal waterfall front is a bit neater than you would get with a big rectangle.

My made-up pattern uses a shape modeled on Bienvenidas with the collar line of Summer Move On.

Front blocking
I'm very happy with the technical aspects of this cardigan. The knitting went well. I learned how to fix the lace when it didn't knit properly (mostly it did).

I managed to do a clean knitted finish on the "lapel" area, which looks pretty good. If you click on the photo of the front blocking you will be able to see that the stitches from the front edge turn the corner and continue horizontally along the top edge of the lapel, before heading up the side of the neck.

I'm happy with the fit too, although I probably should have knitted about 3cm additional length in the sleeves. They are "bracelet length" which, to be fair, is perfectly fine for a warm weather cardigan. For fun, I made some tucks at the sleeve cuff. Maybe they will stay pushed up, maybe not.

I wonder what I should make next? It may be time for fall sewing, but first there will be yet another non-blogged interlude while the Sewing Lawyer goes on a trip!


  1. You are an amazing cloth smith. :-)

  2. Oh,what lovely knitting! It looks to have a beautiful supple hand.

  3. Well, I'll admit that the knitting details flew completely over my head, but this one, your n'th cardigan, is beautiful.
    And you can't beat silk for non-scratchy warmth.
    Thumbs up all round!

  4. I have a closet rail devoted to sweaters, arranged by color, which my husband calls the Skittles Closet, because "when it's open you can taste the rainbow." Do not count those cardis, just enjoy them.