Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Classic Cardigan

This post should come with a warning: Do not operate heavy machinery while viewing this post. Do not attempt complex calculations while viewing this post.

I've been mentally referring to this cardigan as the World's Most Boring Knit for some time now. Miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of stocking stitch knit in fingering (sock) weight yarn on US 5 needles. Good for TV watching, bad for attention holding.

But, alas, I present to you my new favorite knit. It's cozy, it's plain, it will go with pretty much everything... Which are pretty much my only criteria for any clothing I own. High fashion folks, High Fashion.


yarn Mill ends mystery yarn. It is very similar to Patons Kroy Socks and I think that's probably what it is but it was sold by the pound in unmarked bags which sounds far more sketchy and intriguing than it was.
pattern Classic Lines Cardigan from Knit Picks
mods Substituted sock weight yarn for double stranded lace weight; added ribbed button bands; tacked down steeked edges to create a facing

Classic Cardigan

As boring as all the knitting was (and by boring I mean: easy, no-thinking knitting) once it was off the needles it got interesting.

The yarn is wool but its sock yarn and non-felting. I ended up machine sewing my steeks out of fear that any crocheted steek wouldn't hold (it probably would have held but I was paranoid). I managed to sew the steeks without distorting the fabric which felt like a victory. I took several deep breaths, got out my sharp pointy scissors and cut the steek before I could chicken out. Now I was left with a ragged mess on the cut edges.

steek after cutting

I picked up and knit 1x1 ribbed button bands (the pattern calls for a band that is knit in stocking stitch and folded back to form a facing. no buttons). I had planned to hand sew in a length of grosgrain ribbon to cover the cut edge. While I was trying to figure out the best way to do that I was frustrated that the cut edge kept rolling under and I couldn't get it to lay flat. Then I realized the rolled edge looked like a finished facing and... voila!

steeks tacked down

I tacked the steek to the cardigan to form a facing and it's perfect. It has a little bit of bulk but the knit fabric is fairly thin so it's not unwieldy. If the yarn was any heavier weight this likely wouldn't have worked. As it is, it provides stability at the button band edges.


After it was all knit and finished I started digging through my button jar. I put button holes fairly close down the front and ended up with 12 in total. I have in my possession approximately 7,000,000 buttons but I couldn't find 12 that fit the following criteria: match each other, match the sweater, right size. So, much to The Boy's amusement (he thinks the very existence of the button jar is ridiculous), I had to buy buttons for my cardigan.


The cardigan actually turned out a bit big in the arms and the neck band. It was liveable but I figured maybe a wash would help sort that out. The yarn also smelled REALLY strongly of wool and a slight chemical smell (even after 4+ months of knitting). I knew the yarn wouldn't felt so, gathering my bravery (and stupidity) I put the cardigan in a mesh laundry bag and (you may want to be sitting down for this) I threw it in the wash. Yes. In the washing MACHINE.

It came through the wash with no issues, the tacked down steeks held beautifully. It had grown in the wash so I (yes, you should stay sitting down for this) threw it in the dryer.

Sometimes bravery/stupidity pays off. The sweater shrunk just a touch in the right spots. The facings and hems puffed up a bit which was odd but a quick blast of steam from the iron put them all back into shape. I can't believe that worked and I can't believe I even tried it. I don't think I'll do that again soon!