Sunday, July 18, 2010

My new, handknit, Cabled Cardigan

In honor of my actually finishing the sweater I've been knitting for over three months, I took these crazy photos.

Absolutely, wearing a wool sweater in mid-July is crazy, even at 7,300 feet. In spite of the warm weather, though, I've been having a lot of fun wearing this sweater, as long as I can take it off after the picture-taking sessions end.

The sweater has come with me to a couple of different knitting groups and to the yarn shop where I bought most of the yarn and the buttons. I'm enjoying showing it off after all the work I put into it.

The knitting was a bit extreme, at least for me with my limited experience in complex cabling. The cable patterns are fairly simple. I eventually memorized all but one of them. The difficult part was that the repeats for each were different. I had to keep three stitch counters going to keep my place. The only one that I couldn't memorize was the one I like the best, the stockinette cables on the side.
I love the pockets, too. My hands were in them in almost every shot. Even though I shortened them a bit, and even though they are a little narrower than they should be, they are still a good fit. That's a relief, since the pockets are what attracted me to this pattern in the first place.


I came across it while leafing through an old issue of Vogue Knitting. (Winter 05/06) Even though it was March in Colorado, it was still so cold that the idea of knitting this sweater was very appealing. I didn't have the right weight yarn. I didn't have enough of the yarn I wanted to use. Ignoring the obvious, I began to knit.

The knitting took even longer than I thought it would. Knitting according to pattern would make it a 36" long sweater. Since 36" would have made it more of a sweater coat on me, I shortened it to 28". That should have made it a shorter project, but I had to cast on a good deal more stitches to compensate for a smaller gauge. Then, thanks to a fellow Raveler who started this pattern at about the same time I did, I learned that the cables in the back should be mirrored. I had knit several inches of the back before this revelation reached me. I postponed the painful ripping out and reknitting until the last, then put the entire project on hold for three weeks while we went to Eureka Springs in May. By then, it was getting too big for a travel project.

I finished the sweater in June and took about a week to sew it all together.

The pattern, called simply #09 Cabled Cardigan, is by Norah Gaughan, showing her versatility. The sweaters she's designed in the past few years are marvels of ingenius shapes. There's not much shaping in this design, just beautiful cabling. The yarn is Arucania Nature Wool. It's a kettle-dyed slightly rustic wool, without dyelots or any way of matching skeins. I sorted my hanks a bit, trying to avoid obvious lines when I changed them, but I didn't try to match the pieces. The sleeves match neither the back nor the fronts; they don't even match each other. I used the most darkly mottled hanks in the back, where the color changes would be a little less noticeable.

The only modifications I made were to compensate for a vastly different gauge. There's enough stitches in this sweater for the 58" size, but it is only 42" wide.

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6 comments:

Mardel said...

Gorgeous sweater! And I'm glad you mentioned the length alteration. From your photos, it looks like 28" on you comes out to about the same length as 34 to 36 on me. Worth remembering if I try something like this.

Wool Winder said...

It's fantastic! You'll be reaching for this sweater a lot when it gets cold. The perfect knock-about sweater, in my opinion. Love that it has pockets.

vlb5757 said...

I love the sweater. Even though I am short I still love the longer sweaters. I do love the pockets if for nothing else but a tissue. You did a great job.

Renee said...

Oh gosh! It is absolutely beautiful! And you mention that the pattern is written in Plus Size, too? Hmmmm...very tempting! I have been into shawls lately, but this fall I anticipate a sweater frenzy coming on! I always appreciate you blogging the details of your finished sweaters, by the way. Thanks!

Marjorie said...

That turned out great. I think when it comes to subtly shaded yarn, there is really no matching. I fretted over it when I used Tess yarn, but now that the sweater is knit and I've worn it, I don't sense much of a different. I have some other stash yarn like that, and I'm just going to knit skeins at random with the confidence that the final sweater will be just fine.

You did a particularly fine job on the pockets. They are attractive as a design feature, and on so many sweaters of that sort, the pockets bulge or do other uncooperative things to add unwanted bulk.

Patricia said...

Super nice. One doesn't often see yellow as a color choice. I ;ove the variegation on the back. Nora is a whiz! So are you.