Knitting in the Winter: Fly and Watermark

The older I get, the more I appreciate the comforts of a cardigan.  In fact, the one item of clothing I wear almost everyday is a slop-around-the-house cardigan — and it is also the only knitted item in my wardrobe that I did NOT make.  It belonged to Mom, and is one of three in different colors that she rotated  as her house sweater.  It is several sizes too big, it isn’t wool, but I love its utilitarian shapelessness.  I look like Mom wearing it.

And then there are the cardigans I knit for my self . . .

Fly

Pattern:  No actual pattern — I call it Fly because I knitted it on the fly 🙂  The bottom band is a reversible cable from Lynn Barr’s Reversible Knitting: 50 Brand-New, Groundbreaking Stitch Patterns.  

Yarn:  The black yarn is a Lambspun of Colorado DK-weight merino/silk/cashmere blend in the color “black platinum.”  After frogging the original sweater coat, I used the yarn for the Dickson dress, and now for Fly.  I still have leftover yarn.  The yarn had color variations clearly visible on right sleeve cuff and across the upper back.  I don’t mind.

The red yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed DK, in the color “rage.”  The yarn was left over from Red Knight.

Thoughts:  My long-term goal is to use up my yarn stash before I die.  The Graduate Student doesn’t knit, and I don’t know that she will ever pick it up.  So . . .  I just wanted to use up odd balls of yarn, and I didn’t want to knit hats or scarves.  This little cardigan did not require planning; it was truly one of those “cast on and stop when finished” sort of a project.  I don’t do gauge swatches, and this project was no exception.  I knitted the reversible cable first, then picked up the body stitches from the cable, leaving room on the cable ends for the front bands that I would pick up later and seam to the body.  The armscye and neck shaping were guesstimated — I wanted somewhat fitted sleeves, and a neckline somewhere between crew and scoop.  In the end I decided not to have buttons, so the ribbed bands are on the narrow side.

The project was uncomplicated, the black and red combination turned out well, and most important, the cardigan fits!

Watermark

Pattern:  Watermark by Jared Flood, from Brooklyn Tweed BT Winter 19.  It was love at first sight!

Yarn:  Elsawool woolen-spun worsted-weight cormo yarn in “40% medium grey.”  This yarn was recycled from the Moire Dress I knitted 10 years ago.  The dress did not fit well through the shoulders and upper arms (I wasn’t as good at knitting on the fly back then), so I only wore it a couple of times before finally frogging it last summer.

Modifications:  I don’t like patch pockets, so I made “knitted-in” pockets instead.  I also thought I was going to run of yarn, so the pocket linings are in two different yarns (hooray for using up more scrap yarn).  I knitted the sleeves on top-down using short row shaping, and also used short rows for the shoulders to create a smooth slope for sewing the shoulders seams.  The left cuff is in a different yarn — not because I ran out of yarn, but just because I felt like it.

Thoughts:   This was an uncomplicated knit without unnecessary fiddly bits.  The pattern is truly striking with a touch of masculinity, and the designer didn’t give it a silly/random Gaelic name.  I don’t have the right body type for this cardigan, but I don’t really care.  It wears well.

At Same Time (or, the Story of a Bad Knitting Pattern)

Almost 10 years ago, I knitted the cabled riding jacket from Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham.  She is very talented, though like most designers, she has had quite a few misses to go with some exceptional hits.  I bought the first Loop-d-Loop collection because of the gorgeous riding jacket; it was also one of the few projects in the book that made sense to me as knitwear.  Unfortunately, the directions for the jacket really sucked.

At the time I made the sweater, I had been knitting for 20 years, so I was not a novice;  I can only imagine the nightmare less experienced knitters must have had wading through the multiple “At Same Time” directives.  The written pattern was so bad that I ended up making the bodice cables “travel” by an  increase on one side of a cable followed by decrease on the other side, all because I didn’t understand Teva Durham’s actual directions.  This turned out just fine because it achieved the look of bias effect without actually biasing the bodice.  (And note to designers: if you have more than one At Same Time pattern direction, maybe it is time to include a chart.)  The difficult part of this particular pattern began AFTER row 72;  up to that point, the knitting was pretty straightforward, and while the chart was helpful, I don’t think it was actually necessary.  But, a chart for row 73 and on was absolutely needed, especially since the written directions turned out to be next to useless.  Anyway, I completed the jacket, but frogged it a few months later.  There were multiple problems with the finished product, including a neckline that fits only models with swan-like necks, and arm lengths and shoulder widths meant for aforementioned 6-foot tall models with orangutan arms and full-back shoulders.

A month ago, I started knitting this jacket again, using the same yarn I had frogged 9 years ago.  News flash: the pattern directions still stink!  But, having knitted this once and remembering how painful it was, hindsight has now become foresight 🙂  I am knitting the bodice on the bias, and hoping the “fanning” at the fronts will miraculously disappear once the jacket is put together and blocked.  I am futzing with the decreases at the armholes and sides so that the front and back cables actually match at the shoulder line (and no, I don’t understand why Teva Durham did not make them match to begin with), I am foregoing the bias cuffs on the arms because life, like my arms, is too short, and I am dropping the neckline so that I don’t look like I am being strangled.  Stay tuned.

Knitting for the Winter: Red Knight (aka Indigo)

Pattern:  A cross between Indigo, from Japanese Inspired Knits by Marianne Isager, and Spanish Knight, from A Collector’s Item by Jade Starmore.  I liked the shape of the jacket, but didn’t want to die of boredom while knitting miles of stockinette stitch, and I had always liked the stitch pattern of Spanish Knight.

Yarn:  Rowan Felted Tweed, in color “Rage.”

Modifications:  Rowan Felted Tweed was of course completely different (smaller) gauge from the specified yarns, but I used the directions for the smallest size and ended up with a jacket that is proportioned just right for my petite frame.  I also made the sleeves full length.

Thoughts:  I love the quiet Spanish Knight cable pattern in the tweed yarn.  Not that I’ll ever do this again, but I should have modified the collar so that it drops less in the front.  I enjoyed knitting this jacket, and love Rowan Felted Tweed — despite the yardage required, the jacket is light but still warm to wear.