2017 FO 17 : Vanilla cardigan

Finished: Ivory cardigan (free pattern)

This here is a case of a sweater that was begun on a whim, aimed tentatively in a certain direction, took some turns over the course of the knitting, and wound up being exactly what I’ve always wanted.

I cast this on one night after finishing my fisherman sweater, having a couple of skeins left over, not wanting to be done with the yarn, and having been craving this cardigan in this yarn since as far back as my black yoke sweater. (Yep, this is my third sweater in this yarn, Arranmore. True love.) It wasn’t what I was “supposed” to be knitting next, and I thought I might get it out of my system just by knitting a few inches, so I didn’t even put a basting stitch in the raglans. But I was hooked in no time, bought enough yarn to knit it for real, and carried on.

My original sketch was significantly different, pocket-wise, but along the way I ran into this photo and was reminded how much I just really wanted this to be simple, old-school and snuggly. That I have wanted that for ages and can never quite get it. And now that I’m wearing it, I’m so glad I heeded that voice. Between nailing the scale of the pockets and taking time to get the cuffs exactly where I wanted them,* it’s pretty damn perfect. (Still without buttonholes at the moment, but it might stay that way!)

As always with my Improv sweaters, all my notes and counts and measurements are below. I highly recommend copying this one in some nice snuggly yarn — it’s a gem.

Pattern: Improv top-down (free pattern)
Yarn: Arranmore in St. Claire (6.5 skeins)
Buttons: Bone narrow-rim from Fringe Supply Co.

You can scroll through all of my posts on this sweater hereInstagram posts here, and like it at Ravelry if you do!

Finished: Ivory cardigan (free pattern)

GAUGE

4.25 sts and 6.25 rows = 1 inch (measured over 4″ = 15/25) knitted on US7; ribbing and band on US5

TARGET MEASUREMENTS

22″ back = 94 sts (46 sts/front) = ~44″ chest (9.5″ ease), inc to 46″ hip
14″ upper arm circumference = 60 sts (10 at underarm)
9.5″ yoke/armhole depth (60 rows)
17″ body length (2.5″ hem ribbing)
26.5″ total length
14″ sleeve length (2.25″ cuff ribbing)
9″ cuff circumference
6″ x 6″ pockets (30 sts, 1.5″ ribbing)

DETAILS

— CO 64 sts, divided with markers as follows ( 1 | 4 | 10 | 4 | 26 | 4 | 10 | 4 | 1 )

– Planned on 10 sts cast on at each underarm, and divided the raglan stitches evenly between sections when separating sleeves from body

— Increased at front neck edge every 4th row 11x

— Worked raglan increases as kfb on either side of the 4 raglan stitches

— Increased sleeves at raglans every-other row till 44 sts, then on 4th, 6th, 8th rows (50 sts), then work even

— Increased back/fronts every-other row until 84 back sts

— Separated for sleeves at row 60, cast on 10 per underarm

— Increased body at side seams 2x, at 2″ and 8″; stockinette for 14.5″ then ribbing on US5 for 2.5″

Knitted sleeves flat; decreased on rows 21, 41, 61; on row 81 dec evenly to 42 sts, the ribbing on US5 for 16 rows

Worked patch pockets separately and grafted on

— Picked up sts for garter-stitch button band, worked on US5: 14 sts along the hem ribbing (could have been 12), 56 up the front, 51 along the slope, 2 out of 3 around the cast-on edge, mirror down the other side

— No buttonholes (more on that here), may do aferthought buttonhole; buttons are symbolic in the meantime

*I have the sleeves very slight/unevenly pushed up in the photos of me wearing it. Despite how that hanger photo looks (taken just after wearing them unevenly like that), the sleeves are exactly the same length!

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Q for You: What is your favorite buttonhole method?

Q for You: What is your favorite buttonhole method?

You know that thing where you decide to knit a buttonband on an airplane and wind up with no buttonholes? Here’s how it happened:

As you can see, I’ve put a picked-up garter-stitch band on this gem I’ve been knitting. As I was sitting on the flight to Rhinebeck, chatting away with Meg, I sort of unthinkingly knitted my favorite buttonhole — of the slot-shaped, bind-off/cast-on variety — losing track, for the moment, of the fact that that only works on a vertical band (such as my Anna Vest). Running up and down, in knitted fabric, a slot buttonhole like that would just pull right open. I realized it as soon as I’d done it, promptly ripped out those rows, and then puzzled for a minute over what to do. I don’t mind a yarnover buttonhole (in all its minute variations) in a case where it’s sort of lost in the fabric. You can barely see them in my black cardigan, for instance, but they disappoint me a little bit in my camel cardigan, where they’re more evident. That YO hole just doesn’t look as tidy as I’d like, and I knew on light-colored fabric like this, and at this gauge, I would not be happy seeing them. So what’s an impatient knitter on an airplane to do? Leave them out, of course. Knit on, and figure it out later.

You know I love to try new stuff, and I had the thought that it would be fun to try machine-sewn buttonholes, which would give me exactly the neat and tidy slots I want for it. Alas, only after knitting a swatch to test the idea did I realize the fabric is much too thick to even fit under the buttonhole foot of my machine in the first place! Curses. So I guess the new thing I get to try is EZ’s afterthought buttonhole. (At least I already have a swatch to practice on!)

All of this got me thinking about buttonholes in their endless (never quite satisfying to me) variety! Which brings me to my Q for You: What is your favorite buttonhole method(s), and why? I look forward to your responses!

(Bone buttons via Fringe Supply Co.)

IN SHOP NEWS: A few of our long-awaited copies of Woods finally arrived. This is a big, beautiful book with lots of great patterns, profiles, essays … and an interview with me about sweater construction. Hopefully the rest of our order will materialize soon, but we do have some in the shop at the moment, if you’re quick. (I’ll let you know if/when we get more!) Thank you for your excitement about the new notebooks and all your lovely anniversary wishes this week. And if you haven’t had a chance to browse through the Winter 2017 Lookbook yet, I hope you’ll take a moment to do so!

Have a great weekend — see you next week.

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Q for You: What’s your picky fit detail?

Q for You: What's your picky fit detail?

I’m pretty sure we all have a pet peeve or two, garment-wise — the little fit detail that can make the difference between most-worn and never-worn. Last weekend, I was posting on Instagram all the gory details of how I’m nailing down the exact length of the sleeves on this vanilla cardigan. Sleeves and neck shaping are the two potential deal-breakers for me. I can’t stand a garment that shifts around on me during the day, requiring me to tug at the neckline all the time, and same goes for sleeves. I want them out of my way, which means they’re either pushed up or rolled up most of the time. If a cuff is too wide to stay put when they’re pushed up — creating that perpetual push-and-slide scenario — I might actually lose my mind. And if they puddle on my hands when they’re pulled down, I definitely will. As I said the other day, I find this matter of sleeve length just that much more important on an oversized sweater like this. I want this cardigan to be nice and slouchy; I don’t want to look (or feel) like I’m swimming in it.

For me, that difference can be like a half an inch, and even though I have a blocked swatch and correct gauge and good math and preferred dimensions and all of that, no two sweaters sit or hang on the body precisely the same way. So since this one is top-down, what I’ve done is knitted one sleeve to just before the bind-off point and blocked it. Once I put it on, it was easy to see that it’s 6 or 7 rows too long — it already covers the top of my hand even without the bind-off row, whereas I want it to hit right at my wrist bone. So I’m ripping back the sleeve to 7 rows before the cuff, redoing the ribbing, and then it should be perfect. And I won’t have to worry about being institutionalized over a sleeve! It’s an easy enough thing to nail, and worth taking a minute to get it right.

So that’s my Q for You today: What’s the make-or-break fit detail for you — whether it’s a hat, socks, sweaters, whatever — and what do you do (or do you?) to get it just so?

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Queue Check — October 2017

Queue Check — October 2017

October is by far the busiest and most stressful month of the year for me, with everything that goes into having Fringe Supply Co. stocked and ready for the holidays, trying to keep up with #slowfashionoctober, travel and guests, photo shoots, and all the normal day-to-day of running the shop and the blog. I did finish the purple pullover since last month, though, and have somehow managed to make late-night progress on this big, delicious cardigan (Improv in Arranmore). I even took it on the Rhinebeck trip* with me, hoping to get deep into the second sleeve, but all I got done was the buttonband. Instead of casting on a sleeve of my grey Cline sweater by now, as I had proposed last month, my tiny alternative project has been this tweaked Stadium Hat for Bob (in the squishy smudge-colored yarn Purl Soho sent me last year), which has only a few stitches left to go.

At this point, I’m still eager about the Cline, wardrobe-wise, but I’m also desperate to be knitting something more engaging, so I’m back to pondering what will take up the shawl-collar role in my closet (after I went from two to none). I’m about 90% decided on Norah Gaughan’s Sourcebook Chunky Cardigan, and think that might be what the blue Harrisville yarn I got at Rhinebeck is destined for. So getting to knit that swatch is now the carrot at the end of my stick!

*If you fly with a Porter Bin tucked into a Woollelujah! tote, like I do, there’s no reason not to take an entire gargantuan sweater with you!

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: September 2017

Queue Check — September 2017

Queue Check — September 2017

Last month I declared that September would be finish-it month — an attempt to prevent myself from casting on anything new before doing my Fall wardrobe planning. Then I promptly cast on something new, the cardigan pictured up top (details here). I did make progress on the purple sweater (from the top-down tutorial) — just the last sleeve to knit, once the humidity goes away and I can stand to be near it. And I also finished the two tees that were awaiting their top-stitching, and ticked off a few other bits from the fix-it list. But I’ve still not lengthened the black cardigan, and I have abandoned the grey one altogether. It’s just too much apathy to bear.

So the vanilla cardigan (another Improv) is sailing right along. I’m about 7″ into the long slog of the body, another 9″ or so to go, and rather than setting it aside and finishing the sleeves first, like I often do, I’m eager to finish the whole body, the button band and possibly even the pockets before I knit the sleeves. I’ll tell you more about that down the road — still mulling the details. Happily, this spontaneous cast-on fits right into my fall/winter plans, so no regrets!

And then there’s that grey swatch up there, what? During the Summer of Basics I got a little obsessed with all the Cline sweaters everyone was making — especially this one (click to the second pic) and this one. I found out a couple of friends were casting on, and that Fancy Tiger and Drygoods Design are co-hosting a Junegrass knitalong, and I got sorely tempted. Cline is designed by my friend Julie Hoover, and it’s honestly not one that earned my affection when she first released it. It fits the model in the exact way clothes tend to hang, tent-like, on my scarecrow shoulders — the fit I spend my life in avoidance of. But then it was so cute on so many other people and I started wondering if there’s any way it might look ok on me. Through Julie’s kindness (and that of a stranger), I was able to try on a sample while I was in Denver to make jeans, and it’s surprisingly cute on me, although I’ll need to lengthen the sleeves and watch the neck width. So I came home and swatched for it with my Junegrass (batch 1; there’s now a batch 2), and I’m pretty sure that’ll be my next cast-on. (In which case I’ll be twinning with Jess!)

So much stockinette.

Happy weekend, everyone! If you require anything from Fringe Supply Co., we’re always here for you, and I’d love to hear what you’re working on!

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Queue Check Addendum: Reader, I cast on

Queue Check Addendum: Reader, I cast on

I’m in Denver for the weekend, at Fancy Tiger, learning to sew jeans with Heather Lou from Closet Case. I feel a million times more confident about this after my Summer of Basics makes (button-down! pants!), but still, please send positive thoughts toward Colorado! I didn’t get to pull together an Elsewhere before I left (although there are a million links that are potentially new-to-you in the scroll) but I did manage to cast about and cast on for a new project, despite my solemn vow not to start anything until I finished my WIPs. If there was an office pool on this, I hope you were smart enough to bet against me.

HERE’S THE THING! A) None of those were suitable for travel. B) I can’t knit the grey thing. I just can’t. It has to go. C) I did work on the purple sweater, finished the body, but it is still too warm (even in air conditioning) to be anywhere near lopi. So the second sleeve will have to wait a minute.

So what did I cast on? The most vanilla sweater imaginable: an ivory V-neck, stockinette, top-down cardigan. This is the sweater my closet has been missing for several years, after I said goodbye to a beloved old Chanel-ish sort of boxy ivory crewneck one I wore with everything. Plus I can’t let go of this Arranmore and have been dreaming of a cardigan ever since I knitted a stockinette swatch while working out the details on my fisherman sweater. (Ok, truthfully, I’ve been dreaming of the same thing in black Arranmore ever since finishing my St. Brendan, and actually have conversations with myself about not lenghtening my existing black cardigan and knitting the black Arranmore one longer, so I can have both!) (I have “seek help” on my to-do list for after Denver.) This will be a very plain sweater, but richly and deliciously so, and I’m also scheming about some interesting pockets, so we’ll see. The first inkling of a top-down sweater is my favorite travel project, and I’m happy to have this one with me.

ASSORTED UPDATES:

– If you haven’t already done so, make sure to visit the blogs of Kelbourne Woolens, Grainline Studio and Fancy Tiger Crafts to see who won all the #summerofbasics prizes (in addition to the prizes I announced on Tuesday) and what the Kelbourne/Grainline/Fancy ladies made!

– I did hear back from Dress for Success of Houston and they are currently seeking not just women’s workplace-appropriate clothing, always, but also casual wear for Harvey recovery. (They’re doing a clothing drive tomorrow including kids’ and men’s clothes as well, but I’m not clear on whether they’re accepting those things after today.) Please make sure they’re clean, presentable, no holes or buttons missing or anything like that, and send to Dress for Success, 3310 Eastside Street, Houston TX 77098.

– And we’ve restocked a bunch of bestsellers that sold out during the recent SPLC fundraiser: bonsai scissors, wooden gauge rulers, bone repair hooks, many of the Bento Bags, Knitters Graph Paper Journal, Stowe Bag patterns, nearly all sizes/lengths/parts of the Lykke Driftwood needles …. the list goes on, and you can find all of that and more over at Fringe Supply Co!

I hope you, too, are doing something fun and challenging this weekend! I’m sure I’ll be sharing liberally about my jeans workshop on Instagram @karentempler for the next three days. Keep an eye on my Story, especially.

(Lykke Driftwood needles from Fringe Supply Co.)

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