I have my designers head on, machine knitting designers head no less!
I have no idea where the inspiration for this cardigan came from…I knew I wanted to knit some texture into a design but would it work?
I decided to use a tuck stitch card that was part of the set that came with my knitting machine, I tried a few different yarns and various tension to create a very long strip of knitting . I then washed and dried the sample before measuring the stitch and row counts with my green ruler. I also chose the fabrics that I liked the feel of. I was surprised at just how few stitches you need for tuck but also, just how many more rows are needed to get the length. It is a useful thing to learn. I then thought I wanted to use some smooth stocking stitch within the design so I made another long piece of knitting in different fabrics to check out the tensions of the fabrics that pleased me the most
Of course, the knitted pieces that pleased me the most were the delicious merino and angora, Lamora, from Uppinghams. Not a cheap yarn by any means but oh so very luxurious. As I am also a hand knitter, I have come to appreciate and love the feel of natural yarns and how they change once blocked. They don’t mind being pressed on the whole…so I have moved away from the cheapy cones of acrylic that used to please me in the 80s and 90s. Even though this yarn seems expensive compared to many other yarns out there, the garments produced from it will please you so much more than one knitted in a cheaper yarn. The drape, the look, the touch…it is all worth it! Neither of these garments used a full cone of yarn either, it seems to go a long way 🙂
I just adore the feel of this yarn, especially after the oil has been washed out of it. I use eucalyptus fragrance Eucalan to wash my knitwear, it doesn’t need rinsing so the wet garment is handled less and I love the gentle smell of the eucalyptus essential oil in the wash. I use an old fashioned spin dryer to get out the excess water and then…do this at your own risk…I give it a 10 minute tumble dry on low. The garment is still damp but the fluff starts to pop out and the shape sort of springs into place. I then smooth out the garment and lay it flat on a towel to finish drying. Once dry, I then press the seams gently, more of a puff and pat technique, no hard plonking down of the iron on the knitting at all!
I knitted the fronts and back sideways, I have no idea why, I just did! However, this has given me a lovely and quicker way to seam the sides…..one of those lightbulb moments!!
I love how the shoulders of the raglan curve, and the fully fashioned shaping, I love that too…I use my multi pronged transfer tool to do that. So glad I kept all this stuff from the first time round of my machine knitting exploits
On this version I chose to do a simple rolled hem around the bottom of the garment. It needed something, and having been wearing the cardi, I really like how the hem behaves
I am going to do away with the ribbed bands to make this a garment that can be done on a single bed, standard gauge, punchcard knitting machine. No ribber required, although the knitter can of course choose whether they’d like a rib here and there…
The rolled edge neckband works well in bringing all the stitches together to sit so beautifully on the body
A day or so later, I thought about how easy it might be to change the style of the fronts to a more classic shape
So, using the same yarn base but in a different colour, I set about this version
I must get some buttons!
The first thing that struck me was that this cardigan had come out smaller, even though I used the same main tensions! Let this be a warning to you all out there, different colourways do knit up to different tensions even though they are the same yarn base! The dyeing process must change the yarn structure somehow…far too technical for my brain to cope with, I’ll just take it as is haha
So gorgeously soft and fluffy, like butter is the only way to describe the handle of this yarn, I also thought that a simple facing would look good on the hem of this garment, I am now thinking that I’d like to see the hem in a different colour, like a secret pop of colour that is hidden for the most part…I guess that means I have to knit another garment!! Oh dear, what a chore….
I used the rolled hem on the neckband though
The front bands came out a bit floppy for my liking so that is something I will adjust when I make the next one but I really love the hems! This is going to be such a useful addition to your wardrobe and it will be perfect for so many outfits, I am thinking a pretty summer dress or maybe some relaxed linen trousers….or jeans…
All the different features of the design will be included in the one pattern, hence the mix and match element, you choose!
This pattern is still at the writing up stage, the design will cover a range of sizes varying from 30″ up to 50″ so that’s lots of tech editing. I will announce on facebook, twitter and my blog when the pattern is ready. Next step will be to get the design off to some testers
In the meantime, I have been asked to take part in a blog hop to promote Beth Studley’s lovely new patchwork book, so watch out for my post on Wednesday..I have been sewing and taking lots of photos..it’s a fab little book
Have a lovely weekend…