Minimalist Cardigan-Maximal Time

Originally, I planned to have the Minimalist Cardigan done in mid-October after starting in early August. But a lot of things got in the way, so it took me until last Wednesday to finally finish the finishing. I was home alone while M and his sister were up skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the peace and quiet were perfect for sweater finishing. It took 4 podcasts to get me through the finishing: 2 Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, 1 Cast-on, and 1 Car Talk. These photos are after two full days of wearing it.
Minimalist Cardigan
I had no idea how to seam invisibly moss stitch, and I had lost 15 pounds since starting this sweater. Therefore, I opted for backstitching to take it in a bit, especially in the shoulders where I knew it would be a little wide–a problem stemming from being pear-shaped. The backstitching appears to have worked fine. There are a couple of things I either don’t like about how this turned out, or I don’t understand why it turned out the way it did.

First, I made the knit even portion of the sleeves 1.5 inches shorter than the pattern called for, and I still ended up with 7/8- and not 3/4-sleeves. Since my row gauge wasn’t off, and I don’t have horribly short arms, I don’t know why this happened. But you can see that these aren’t 3/4-sleeves at all, even if I do have my t-shirt sleeve hanging out on one side. Therefore, without thinking about it, I keep pushing the sleeves up when I wear it, and now the sleeves are getting baggy (or is that because all the sleeve increases were done in one row–the last row of ribbing). I wish I had knit the ribbing on smaller needles even though the pattern didn’t call for doing that. I didn’t pin out the ribbing while blocking, but to me it looks like I did.
Minimalist Cardigan in Cascade 220
I’m wearing jeans that fit when I weighed 40 lbs more than I do now, and I didn’t wash my hair this morning, hence the cropped photo. Also, I could only find the 2 second delay on my camera and not the custom-set delay, so I didn’t have much time to pose. Sigh. But I couldn’t wait to get this post done and to get it marked finished on Ravelry. It just didn’t seem really done until all that was completed.
Minimalist Cardi side view
The body length, although not as cropped as in the magazine photo, is fine with me, as I’m really not cool enough to wear cropped tops. I was aware that the body length wouldn’t be cropped, as I had measured other cardigans of mine, but I did knit the length given in the pattern. I’m 5′ 6″ tall, so I don’t know how tall the magazine model was for the sweater to look as short as it did, but she must be pretty darn tall.

All in all, this was my third sweater and a definite improvement in both knitting quality, finishing and fit than my first two sweaters. So, even though it’s not perfect, I’m pretty pleased. I really enjoyed the moss stitch, and I like how it looks, especially juxtaposed with the stockinette. The bright navy color and the quality of the Cascade 220 are also big pluses in my book. I learned a lot with this sweater, including that cap-sleeves aren’t a big deal to seam properly, and I hope this new knowledge keeps my sweater making skills on the ascent.

Two of a Kind = One Pair

Thank you to everyone who wished me well during my migraine episode! I really appreciated every single, kind comment. I have been headache free since Friday morning. This means that Sunday I was able to accomplish this:


Lately, everywhere I look on the knitting blogs it’s single sock, single sock, single sock. I dabble in multiple pairs on the needles at once, but I had to finish this pair. This was the last WIP knit with my old tensioning (yarn across palm, over the top and all the way around my hand back across palm to wrap around my left index finger clockwise, looking down the tip). New tensioning is from back of left hand to palm between ring and pinkie, around pinkie and over back of pinkie and ring, under middle, over index–so coming ccw over index finger. People have asked, so there it is.

Anyway, these socks are the first variation of my planned series of variations of Nancy Bush’s Rib and Cable Sock from IK Fall 05. This is not the rib and cable sock in Favorite Socks. Here I did a 6-stitch braided cable.

Braided Cable Rib and Cable Sock
Pattern: just stated above
Yarn: Tofutsies
Needles: Takumi bamboo 2.25 mm (US 1) dpns
Variations: After CO of 66-st with longtail CO holding the yarn doubled, knit with single yarn the following rib pattern for 15 rounds: *K1, P2, K6, P2*
Then started the braided cable over the K6, which has a four row repeat:
Rows 1&3: Rib Pattern above
Row 2: *K1, P2, K2, C4B, P2*
Row 4: *K1, P2, C4F, K2, P2*
Split for the heel flap so instep would be 3 repeats + 1 Knit stitch of 4th repeat (34 stitches), then worked heel flap in rib, but added a seam stitch in the middle of the middle 6-stitch K6 (now K3, P1, K3 on RS), and changed the P2 at each end to garter stitch (33 stitches). After 32 rows (16 garter ridges along the edge) turned a round or French heel from Vintage Socks. Picked up 16 stitches on each side for gussets and decreased every third round to 62 stitches. At the end of gusset decreases I stopped the braided cable on the instep and switched back to the rib. Plain ordinary grafted toe. Tofutsies is splitty and nasty for grafting. That’s the recipe. A lot of you have left comments in previous posts for these socks saying you had to knit the pattern. Well, there isn’t really a pattern. I hope this little travesty of a knitting recipe helps.

My other socks on the needles, are coming along. The pennant stitch socks are for a Christmas gift, and it is JUNE, so the impetus to finish is lacking. The Oak Ribbed Socks with more and more mods with every round I make, is at the gusset decreases for the first sock. I meant to change to smaller needles but forgot, so now it’s decrease every other round? or every third round? I guess this means it’s time to cast-on for the second variation of the cable rib sock extravaganza taking place here at Molecular Knitting! It’s Black Bunny Fibers merino sock yarn and an “archaic” cable from Barbara Walker’s first treasury with a beaded rib.

Finish Christmas gift socks first? You’ve got to be kidding!

Chevron Scarf: Pattern Notes

I wove the ends in on the Chevron Scarf this evening after not knitting all weekend. I needed a weekend to read fiction, and I can’t read and knit simultaneously. So I read two 300+ page novels and didn’t knit. But now it’s time to knit again, and so I’ll clear the decks and get this FO post done. The Chevron Scarf blocked out better than I had hoped.
Chevron Scarf
Yarns: Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn in Burgundy and Woodland (I have over 75 g left of each 115 g skein!!) Striped socks?
Needles: US size 4 Clover bamboo
Blocked dimensions: 6.5 x 44 inches (I wanted a short scarf)

Chevron Scarf stitch detail
Truer colors in this photo.

Stitch pattern: 1 stitch at each edge in garter, which folded under very nicely, leaving a clean edge, then between these garter edge stitches, 3 repeats of 15 stitches (cast on 47 st):

Row 1 (RS): *K2tog, K5, YO, K1, YO, K5, Sl1, K1, psso*

Row 2: Purl

Repeat these 2 rows for pattern.

I used a cable cast-on and used a size 6 needle for binding off. There are two rows of stockinette after the cast-on before starting the pattern and two rows before binding off, both in the burgundy yarn. Easy peasy and nice and pointy.

The scarf was just glad to finally get to meet the coat of its dreams, my “black coffee” brown, wide-wale corduroy peacoat:
Chevron Scarf and Coffee Peacoat
Finally, doll face, we’re together! The perfect harmony of chevron merino and black coffee corduroy.–Chevron Scarf.
Who are you?–Coffee Peacoat.
I’m your destiny. We are meant to be together for all time.–CS
Well, I hope you don’t think this is an exclusive deal. I happen to know there’s going to be a lot more scarf knitting going on at chez Molecular Knitting. And if you think I’m going to stick only with you when I know there’s a red sportweight alpaca scarf on the horizon, you need your head examined.–CP
You wound me, angel! I don’t match any of her other jackets or coats! I need you to be true.–CS
If I had a dime for every two-bit merino scarf that sang that sad song, I’d have a diamond stick pin in my lapel.–CP

Perhaps it’s best if we leave this sad little scene. I’ll try to find something else that I can also wear with the chevron scarf. I had no idea my peacoat was such heartless coat about town! It must get very bored with just me to wear her.

Well, I’m off to work on the pink cabled-rib sock. Time’s running out on my self-imposed deadline.

Happy knitting, everyone!

ETA:  M ran a daiquiri experiment on Sunday.  You can read about it on Cocktails with M.   It was very tasty!

Aran Pocket Shawl: Pattern Notes

On Monday, Lorraine asked me to do a FO post on the Aran Pocket Shawl. This morning I found out she tagged me for a meme. I hear and obey! However, I’m going to do the FO post first, as I need a little time to think of 7 random facts about myself (no need to dwell on that difficulty). So, here is the Aran Pocket Shawl without pockets!

Aran Pocket Shawl in Morning Sun

The blocking went very well. I soaked it for 15-20 minutes in water (I have so many detergent sensitivities that I usually block in water) in a big tub (which can double as a light diffuser!) and then threw it in my fancy-shmancy frontload washer with two large, dark bath towels for a low speed spin. I had trepidations (and the shawl palpitations), but all came out well. I didn’t pin the shawl but just laid it flat on towels on the floor and let it dry. It came out at nearly 7 feet long by about 2 feet wide.

Aran Pocket Shawl

The Berroco Ultra Alpaca worked well, although I would sometimes hit a stretch of yarn several inches long that was thicker than the rest. Only once was it bad enough to break the yarn and bypass it, but I didn’t like it all the same. The color is very rich and there was very little bleeding when I blocked it. I also thought it was a nice yarn to show a knit-purl stitch pattern well. I knit 25 of the 28 repeats called for, and Ultra Alpaca is a worsted weight yarn as is the yarn called for in the pattern. However, the pattern calls for 7 skeins at 220 yd/skein, and I used about 4.5 skeins at 215 yd/skein.

stitch pattern detail

I have the second printing (copyright 2000) of Folk Shawls by Chery Oberle. The pattern is very well written, but this printing has an error. To make both ends of the shawl look the same, you need to do rows 1-15 only of the last pattern repeat before the seed stitch border; the text tells you to do rows 1-16 (it’s an 18 row repeat). I enjoyed the pattern; it was easy to memorize but not tedious. I went a little seed stitch/basketweave crazy toward the end, but it was all worth it.

This is my seventh completed project for 2007. I have the chevron scarf done too but for weaving in the ends (personally, I think it unwove the ends, as I was sure I had already done that), but that will have to wait until after I do the meme. Lorraine is the mother of two teenagers, and several of my friends here are also the mothers of teenagers (I’ve been offered many teenage children to take home–no give backs!). It’s best to keep the moms happy I’ve found.

Landscape Shawl: Pattern Notes

I’ve worn the Landscape Shawl a couple of times now, even though we are having unseasonably warm weather, and I am completely hooked on the whole shawl gestalt. They are so handy and pretty! Last Friday dawned a sunny day, so I cajoled M into taking some pictures outside.

GMM Landscape Shawl

Landscape Shawl

Pattern: Landscape Shawl from Fibertrends (2000)
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Green Mountain Madness (2.3 skeins; 420 yd/skein)
Needles: Inox, US 5, 24-inch circular (pointy tip, scratchy sound)
Dimensions: 40″ deep; wingspan 75″ (very good for my body)
New Techniques: knitting a triangle, picot selvedge, knitted cast-on

Options: The pattern is written for several different yarn weights (lace to worsted). I used a fingering weight, and used a needle one size smaller than suggested. There were two options for the bind off depending upon the shape of the triangle I wanted. I chose to use a size 8 needle so that I could get more wingspan, which worked out very well. The other option was to use the same size needle as for the knitting, and then the result should be a longer, truer triangle shape.

Notes: As some readers have commented in WIP posts, this is a good pattern for a variegated yarn, as there are some stitch pattern variations, but no lace or cabling to get lost in the color changes. I like the drape and lightness of the supersock fabric, but golly jeepers, that made it a big project. If I were to ever knit this pattern again, it would be with a multi-colored DK or worsted weight yarn. I really only see myself making this again if I were to have such a yarn, and not enough of it for a sweater. In fingering yarn, this was 47,600 stitches, in worsted weight only 17,800 (67,900 in lace weight!). All in all, it was a long, easy knit. I’m glad I knit it; it stays on my shoulders without falling. I love the colors and the fabric, but I’m ready for more of a challenge.