Sunday, April 29, 2012

Na Craga Cardigan: Part II

Continuing the story of my Na Craga-inspired cardigan from the last post. Once I had knit the back from the saddles down to the bottom of the armholes, I put the stitches on a stitch holder (a piece of yarn), then picked up and knit the stitches along the front edge of the saddles and began knitting down. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.) In this photo, the stitches picked up and knit from the front of the saddles are on the needle.

Knitting down the front was a little more involved than the back, due to the shaping required for the front neck. A stitch had to be picked up on each side every few rows, until the desired neck shaping was achieved, then the additional stitches required had to be cast (knit) on.

When the front panels were knit down to the bottom of the armholes, I put them on a stitch holder. The fit was still good at this point, but it was about to take a turn toward disastrous, due to inaccurate measurements.

Next, I picked up and knit stitches along the right side, from the base of the armhole in the back to the front. The FLAK pattern advised picking up three stitches in every four, so that's what I did. The FLAK pattern had moss stitch as the filler stitch; I had seed stitch. What I should have done (hindsight is 20/20) is look at the stitch and row gauge for my filler stitch and pick up stitches according to that ratio, which was 4 in 8. That being said, extra stitches on the sleeve is least terrible place to have them, since the extra stitches won't drastically effect the size of the sweater.

This flat section of the sleeve was supposed to be half the difference between the half-chest measurement (24 inches, including ease, on my sweater) and the cross-shoulder measurement (19 inches), or 2.5 inches. (Remember, the cross-shoulder measurement was one of the bad ones---two inches too large.) At the shoulder, this section of the sleeve covers the shoulder from the blade to the upper portion of the arm. Underneath, these flat sections are later picked up, along with the fronts and back, to become part of the body.

Once the flat section had reached the desired length, the sleeves were knit in the round down to the wrist. The number of stitches was decreased every few rows to shape the sleeve. I started off with more stitches in the sleeve than in Ms. Starmore's pattern, so for the first two pattern repetitions (38 rows), I decreased every other row. In hindsight, it was probably too rapid a decrease, or it continued for too long.

The sleeve was pretty boring to knit. Once the sleeve was nearing elbow length, I set it aside and picked up and knit the stitches for the left sleeve. Once the left sleeve was the same length as the right one, I put both sleeves on a long circular needle and knit them together (a la Magic Loop).

When the sleeves were long enough to reach about midway down my forearm, I realized that I had slightly fewer stitches than I'd expected to have when I reached the wrist. (My row gauge was tighter than in my swatch, probably due to cabling without a cable needle on the sleeves). The sleeve was going to be snug, but it fit. I ceased decreasing and knit the sleeves down to the cuff.

The next day I checked the sleeve fit. It was snug, but it fit. Because the back and fronts were still on holders, I only tried on one sleeve, which I had to put on a different needle than the other sleeve in order to try on. If only I'd realized it, I could have seen from the photo that there was a problem with the sweater size. The neck edge was against my turtleneck, despite the lack of a neckband. There was a wad of material between my shoulder (the flat section of the sleeve) and some gathering on the upper arm. I, however, was concentrating on the sleeve fit, and didn't notice the warning signs.

The color of the yarn varies in these photographs, due to variations in ambient lighting conditions. The color of the yarn in the fourth photo is the most accurate.

The next installment of this saga will appear in a week or so.


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