When I first saw Margaret in Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the lines -book, I was determined to make myself one exactly like the one in the book. The cardigan in the book was and is just beautiful.
This was my plan and I stuck with it until I had to knit the upper part of the cardigan again and second time around I got little bored and for entertainment added few stripes on the shoulders.
Now that I had stripes with lilac and green (colour numbers 220 and 330 of Studio Maisa Tikkanen yarn) I needed those colours to appear in another place. So I started off with the skirt (from hem upwards) with lilac (tubular cast-on) and then changed into green before coming back to the main colour to knit the rest of the skirt with it.
The skirt was easy knitting - easy but almost endless. I had the skirt glued to me and where ever I went the skirt came too, until it was finished. I blocked the skirt with blocking wires and was able to stretch out it easily with them. I did not want to overdo it, but the ribbing needed to calm down a bit. It was a triumphant moment when I was able to unite the skirt with the rest of the cardigan. I did that with three-needle bind-off.
I made the button bands differently from the pattern, instead of doing ribbing, I knit them and folded over (one purl row there to make the folding easier) to the inside and sewed them. I thought and tried picking the stitches from the inside and then doing kitchener stitch to close the band, but could not pick the stitches neatly. I paid extra attention when knitting the bands and then blocked them carefully to have them long enough to match the fronts properly. Very often you see cardigans where the button bands pull and in most cases serious blocking would have done the trick.
I had done the edges of the fronts and the skirt by lifting the first stitch of every row and this gave me one stitch per two rows to work with for the bands. This edge stitch is easy to see and easy to pick up to the needle, but if I had picked only those edge stitches, there would not have been enough stitches for the bands. So *I picked one, made on with backward loop and picked up one again* and repeated this until I had used up all the edge stitches. I did not bind off any stitches around the neck but had them on a waste yarn and used Japanese short-row technique to close the gaps between short rows.
When the button bands were done the cardigan started to remind me of those ethnic dresses women wore here in northern Europe in the old times. Those dresses had short waists and flaring hems just like this cardigan. I could not get rid of the idea and carried on from there. Added little this and that and at some point declared it done. I enjoyed the making: loved embroidering and sewing the tiny beads.
But now then do I love the outcome? The fit is great; the cardigan is easy to wear.There are few flaws there that I know of but will not underline them here ;-). They are visible, but I try to ignore them. Some are in the workmanship and some in my added design features.
I put so much thought and effort into the cardigan that it does feel a bit empty without her and right now I don't know where to go from here - knitting wise. Once again, it was the process, conquering the difficult parts, finding solutions, thinking about all the details and somehow I am not ready to let her go, not just yet. I am thinking of different sweaters to knit but nothing is going to work out until I can put this process behind and really focus on something new.
But I can't stand idle hands - can you?