When I first saw Mason Dixon new book Knitting Outside the Lines in a bookstore, I immediately loved this design and I bought the book just for it, but there are many more beautiful and interesting things there (like Belinda). The silhouette of this very feminine design and the possibility to add words to it was love at the first sight. I did realize quite quickly though that the skirt part of the cardigan was going to take – not forever but – for quite some time to knit, but then, I have never feared of spending long time knitting and I did not let it intimidate me.
I love thin yarn and small needles. I have often said that my favorite needle size is 3 mm and since Margaret will take long time with even bigger needles, I was determined to spend the longish time with my beloved gear. I have an ongoing love affair with Studio Maisa Tikkanen Finnwool and I happened (!) to have enough yarn in color 240 for this cardigan.
It is woollen spun yarn and reminds me of Shetland Spindrift but Finnwool might be a bit softer. Since the pattern is written for heavier yarn I will need to figure out the pattern for thinner yarn but I will try to keep the outlook the same as much as I can and am able.
“My favorite sweater is the (a) seamless one.”
These are words by Elizabeth Zimermann, but could be mine as well and I will try to get rid of all the seams.
The cardigan has saddle shoulder construction. At first I thought that I would knit it top down with Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top by my side, but raglans and seamless yokes are the only sweaters I have done top down, so I did not dare and turned to EZ and Knitting without Tears. I will follow her advice for saddle shoulders and knit it her way from the waist up.I have cast on with provisional crochet cast on for the upper part of the cardigan and have done one full repeat of the write-on lines pattern. I had to adjust the row count for my pattern but I am hoping this will be close to the one in the book. The waistline is above the natural waistline what means that it is short and quickly done (if anything knit with 3 mm’s can be done so) and I will need to get busy with the sleeves to be able to knit the upper part.
I have been considering different options with the skirt part. If I knit it top down, I will need to increase at certain intervals and I have been trying to find a way to do the increases so that they won’t be visible. None of my methods have worked out. I have swatched.I know I am too fussy and maybe you should pay no attention to the next blabber but let me try to explain. The skirt is done in ribbing and the increases are done alternatively in the purl or knit parts and the problem is in the knit parts. I don’t like the little steps or slightly distorted stitches or tiny holes I get when I make the increases in the knit rows. If these increases were just occasional I would not worry, but there are so many that these increases form almost patterns.
In the purl rows this is not a problem, because ribbing pulls in and hides the increases while the knit rows step forward. Even though the increases are sort of hard to see in a finished cardigan which is knit with small gauge I will need to stare at them while knitting and big part of the enjoyment lies in the knitting and seeing the cardigan take shape. I know I could talk me into ignoring this for a while, but I am a bit worried of doing that, because the skirt will take weeks to knit and I am afraid of getting wild ideas when I am knitting: I know no matter how much I love the cardigan, at some point I am going to feel frustrated and will be on the lookout for mistakes and for a good reason to abandon the cardigan I don’t want to give myself any kind of justification to rip the skirt having done more than half of it and blaming it on the wonky increases.
If I knit the dress from down towards waist, I will be decreasing instead of increasing and decreases are easier to hide. Also if I start from the bottom my rows will be getting shorter and then they will go quicker and this for sure would lead to less frustration and that is an advantage to consider.
I have not made up my mind yet because figuring out how many stitches is needed requires some calculating and judgment and then after that finding out how many hundred stitches should be cast on in the very beginning is a bit daunting. But then, again, knitting makes me happy and time spent creating stitches is well spent, so I really should stop this procrastination.
Margaret is a beautiful design and one that I hope to be able to wear when it is done. The main reason why I find this very appealing right now is the challenge of finding my own pathway in the making of it. I have never done saddle shoulders without seams and I can’t wait to be able to try it out. I am going to learn something new again. And I just love it.