Monday, March 10, 2008

Lace & Cables Cardigan

It's done! When I started the Lace & Cables Cardigan there were two goals I was hoping to accomplish. One was to commit to an intensive, long term commitment with a knitting project, and the other was to replace a much loved cardigan that had finally needed to be retired. I am happy to say both goals were achieved.

Modeled by the lovely Jezebel, my vintage mannequin, the varied patterns that went into this cardigan are visible. There are 3 main patterns - a 4 x 4 cable bordered with seed stitch; a lace chevron; and a lace zig-zag. All were borrowed from an old Debbie Bliss design of children's garments with only one adjustment - I added a purl stitch on either side of the cable to set it off a little bit from the seed stitches on either side. I also more or less followed the shape and details of the original Debbie Bliss design, including the seed stitch front bands and collar.

I did arrange the various panels in my own combination across the body, which is knitted in one piece with no side seams. I centered the chevron patterns on the back and more or less on the fronts, with the cable pattern marking the side seams. However, being utterly unable to think in three dimensions, I arranged the three patterns across the body as if the sweater would be viewed in its entirety as a single large flat piece. All seemed fine until I got close to finishing the armholes, when it finally dawned on me that the patterns would not match up in any conceivable manner at the shoulders. If I had thought about it ahead of time, I would have mirrored the patterns on either side of the side cable patterns. Oops.

So what to do? Improvise, of course! A small detail such as unbelievable wonky shoulder seams was not enough to warrant unraveling the whole thing back to the beginning and starting over. But it did give impetus to creative problem-solving. I had, with stunning foresight, used the chevron lace pattern as the centre of the sleeves (which I had done before the body as a life-size gauge swatch) and this made for a perfect opportunity to do a saddle shoulder with the chevron continuing across the shoulder strap. Not only did this solve the dilemma of the wonky shoulder seams, but it looked darn good in the process.

With the sleeves being knitted in the round, and the body done in a single piece the only seams were the shoulder strap seams and the sleeve cap/armholes. I used vintage Czech glass buttons that had been salvaged from the original, now retired, blue wool cardigan that I was replacing, and the finished sweater is everything I had hoped for.


VickeryKnits said...

My gosh Misty---that's just beautiful! I'm so impressed and I love the shoulders. I'd love to see a picture of you modeling it!

hovercrafteel said...

I have to agree with your statement: it does look darn good! Wow, this turned out very very well! -- Kirsten