I thought I’d show you my blue colourwork allover cardigan. This was my primary knitting project for the winter, a long lost time where it seemed perfectly normal to want night sky echoing colourwork cardigans. A time when going out for groceries wasn’t a whole expedition, when going out for a bike ride or walk wasn’t a constant exercise of “Is There a Person in a 2m radius?” and when a cough didn’t spiral a whole range of questions and doubts. Yeah…that time. I started it on the day of Harvest Moon, hence the name, and finished it somewhere in January. If you’ve been following my process around this cardigan for a bit you’ll know I tinkered on this quite a bit so I thought I would talk about this a bit more.
I had initially bought this yarn to make something else with it. However I decided to abandon that idea later in the year. The past year has vastly changed my ideas on the marketplace aspect of the knitting world. I want designers, publications, yarn makers, influencers etc to make clear what their values are. I don’t simply assume they align with mine just because we have other things in common. I still think people can be given time to do better when called out but at this point the issues have been out there for over a year -or rather, for far longer, but for the past year they’ve been impossible to ignore. These days I’m no longer interested in supporting anyone in any way if they don’t take a stand. Both the publication and the designer of my original plan did not meet those standards so I took some time to think of a new purpose for the yarn.
Because I had curated the yarn and colours for a specific project, and preferably just wanted to use what I already had, I had some constraints in what exactly I could use it for. I had a lot of the dark blue and little of the other colours my first instinct was to look for a stranded yoke pattern I like and just use it for that. Still, nothing I was looking at made me want to cast on immediately. When I realised I could just use the original pattern as a starting point and draw up some motifs for that myself all the other ideas quickly went out of the window in favour for that.
So, the base pattern used motif charts that had pattern repeats over a certain number of stitches. I picked patterns that followed those numbers. I had a look at some of my stitch pattern books for inspiration to see whether there was anything in there that I both liked and would suit the pattern in stitch number as well as a style. I ended up with a mix of motifs I copied from stitch pattern books, motifs I adapted and some things I drew up myself.
Given that the base pattern was written with steeks in place I figured that the stitch pattern would match the number of stitches and the patterns would be centred. However one of my own charts (with the same stitch count) didn’t and came out spectacularly off centred. I went back and forth a for a long time, checking my chart, checking my stitch count… In the end it turned out that the motif is off centre in the pattern I used a a base as well. Which I didn’t realise, and was a bit of a disappointment.
To play around with motifs and variations I just used a graph paper or the dotted paper in my make journal. For doing something like this that works fine. I think you could also use excel if you wanted it on your computer. There are couple of specific programs made for crafters that you could use too, if you want something more geared towards knitters.
I knit the cardigan bottom up in the round with steeks for the cardigan opening, neckline and armholes. I then picked up stitches from the armhole and knitted the sleeves top down. I also did this for my Windermere sweater and I prefer that for dropped sleeve garments. It makes it easier to adjust things or mend the ribbing (she lectures, while literally every other sleeve she knits is knit bottom up). I decided on the cardigan length mid project when I had made my way up the body for quite a bit. I decided to add length to make it a-bit-longer-but-not-LONG (see my Heart for reference what is LONG). I had just about enough yarn to do it, which was a wonderful coincidence. I’m so glad I did, it added a bit of knitting time, but I think it really suits this type of cardigan really well and after wearing it out for 2 months I think this might be my favourite length at the moment?!?
For some time I’ve wanted to make a darker coloured allover. I had been eyeing some of those projects on Ravelry for some time. I wanted to play around with a single colour background allover as well. My Windermere was a colourwork project with a single background colour and a single contrast colour, but this time I wanted more contrast colours to play around with. The colours are a bit reminiscent of cold nights when you gaze upwards and the sky is a clear dark and dotted with bright shining stars. Not a bad thing to be reminded of when wearing your woolly garments.
The yarn I used is Tuku Fingering wool. The yarn is made from Finnish sheep wool (a blend of Finnsheep and Finnsheep-Texel crossbreed) and spun and dyed in Finland as well. It’s a rustic yarn and feels quite sturdy, yet the knit up fabric has quite a bit of drape even though I knit it on tiny needles. I noticed it’s a bit more drapey than similar garments I knit in Shetland wool for example. It comes in a selection of natural, solid and heathered shades. I guess it’s easy to guess which category are my favourite. So I chose 3 heathered colours and one natural undyed shade for my cardigan. I’ve got more details about that on my Ravelry project page. I loved knitting with this yarn and I’m curious to see how it will fare with wear.
I finished this at the start of this year, so I have enjoyed wearing it around plenty already. It was such a satisfying project to get over the finish line and I’m happy I decided to take this route. With the extra effort that went into this project, I feel it might be a hard one to top for this year (which is fine because crafting is not a contest, least of all with myself). But be sure, I’ll be trying to at least get close, in any case it gave me a great platform to start my making year of with. I hope all of you are holding up well, and are able to take some windows of peace and time for yourself here and there.
Take care everyone,
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