Amazingly, it didn’t take as long as I had anticipated. I was so mesmerised by the colour change rows, which were every right side row (and the ever-changing colours of the fingering weight sock yarn), that I think I forgot that I thought it would take forever. Instead it just happened. It is definitely red, but the blue and burgundy in the colourway are gorgeous. The texture and depth of the colours is amazing – again, quite mesmerising to be honest. I chose a heather grey in fingering weight that complimented the red German sock yarn (discussed below). The wrong-side (WS) of this sweater was as mesmerising as the right side (RS). I love the WS of knitting and find it incredibly fascinating – I found myself constantly turning over this sweater as I worked on it, looking at both the WS and RS to see what the colours looked like, the depth, the transitions. Everything.
The 24” 3.00mm AddiTurbo circulars that I started with ended up being the perfect needles, especially once I added the arms and started on the yoke. I would not have wanted a longer or shorter circular. Also, I found that knitting on bamboo circulars caused me to slow down significantly because the yarn caught on the join since it was so fine (I had to switch to bamboo for the air-travel to Toronto over the holidays). However, 6 hours of guilt-free knitting because, really, what else are you going to do in the lounge waiting to board, on the plane and in the 2 hour car-ride out to the suburbs of Toronto? I managed to finish the second sleeve and the majority of the body – I only had 2 inches left by the time we got to my in-laws home that evening. I would like to note here that the sleeves are different. It was like knitting socks with colour-change yarn: you start off and know that the socks will be the same colourway but you aren’t sure exactly how the colours will fall. The right sleeve starts in blue, the left sleeve starts in red. Of course, the sleeves did not have as many stitches around as the body so the colour change did not happen as quickly; therefore, the sleeves are very different. I was going to rip out the left sleeve (because I liked the right better) but I’m really glad that I didn’t – the sweater just is how it is: That’s where I was at that point in the ball and that’s what came out! I like this idiosyncrasy of the project.
The ribbing is a straight-forward 2×2 that is stretchy and forgiving – I used 2×2 for the lower edge, collar and sleeve ribbing. The cardigan is “skimpy” – there is minus 0.5 to 1 inch of ease. I wanted a fitted cardigan, just like my favourite GAP cardigan (from which the measurements came). To give you an idea: The GAP cardigan is 33 inch around with a 1 inch button band on each side for a 34 inch bust cardigan. It is cashmere, has stretched quite a bit and has worn so well that it is only now (3 years later) showing a little wear. To put the sizing into perspective – I am a 36 in bust but I think the sizing for the cardigan is still right: I wanted something very fitted that would eventually stretch slightly and fit me tightly to look nice just left open with skirts or jeans/t-shirt.
After 4 inches of 2×2 rib, I started the striping immediately on the body. The arms, however, I knit 4 inches of 2×2 rib, 4 inches of St st in the heathered grey, then started the striping. I like how this turned out – it’s a small detail that I think makes the sweater.
Lastly, the yarn. The heathered grey is Sandes Garn Strompegarn Superwash colourway 1040. I bought two balls but used only one – although I pulled off both balls to work the sleeves at the same time as I was working the body (this was so that yarn didn’t get tangled, which while travelling tends to happen as I have found in the past). I loved this working with this yarn and am thinking about using it up in another project similar to this with some stashed black waiting to be knit into another EPS. I am a bit of a snob about superwash yarn – NO MORE. I loved it and found it worked nicely through my fingers – also, it is no itchy. Bonus.
The German Yarn. Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball in colour Grey (1507). OMG. I ended up going back to my LYS and bought the second ball that was there to save and put in my stash. I am hoarding this yarn. When and if I see more colourways, I will be buying them and I will hoard them. Again, the depth. The texture. The wonderful way it just lays there and twinkles. Yes. It twinkles. There is a slight, almost insidious sheen to it that is emphasized by the heather grey. They compliment each other in a way I hadn’t expected – I had hoped but not expected. I loved it before washing and blocking – I love it more now. Is that possible? Apparently, it is.
OH! I can’t believe I almost forgot to talk about my favourite part of the cardigan! The buttons. I love buttons. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love buttons. And owls. But that’s another conversation. The burgundy buttons were found at Trillium Buttons on Queen Street in Toronto. It’s a hole-in-the-wall type place with boxes upon boxes of buttons. The samples are taped to the outside and you open to boxes to find all sorts of different sizes of the button featured on the outside. Some boxes even have different colours within their magical insides. What made buying the buttons for this project particularly stressful (if button buying can be stressful) was that I didn’t know if I wanted burgundy, red or blue buttons. The cardigan, un-be-nounced to me, is quite burgundy, which the unbelievably nice, patient and wonderful girl working at the store showed me. She’s the genius behind these buttons so to her I say, “Thank you.”
This really is the last part of the post: My gauge for knitting this seamless yoke cardigan was 23.5 stitches per 4 inches, which gave me a gauge of 5.9 stitches per inch. I ended up needing approximately 400yds each of the Sandes Garn and Zauberball. For my 33 inch bust cardigan, I cast on 190 stitches (48 stitches for each side, 96 stitches for the back). For each sleeve, I cast on 40 stitches. After the ribbing, I started increasing on the inside seam every 4 rows until I hit 72 stitches. For the rest, I used the Seamless Yoke Cardigan pattern/guide to a Tee. I ended up doing 3 decrease rows in the yoke and one more short-row but that was it for modifications (I thought I would do more but I didn’t). So, while I come down off the high of finishing my epic sweater challenge that ended up not being so epic, I hope you are as happy as I am with your finished objects!
update: I have written up my pattern notes. You still need Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman but you can see exactly what I did. Just send me a note and your email address and I will pass them on :)
UPDATE (May 2010): Thank you to zimme345 – she noticed that I said 400g. You are right – I meant 400yds. Thank you :)