Thursday, May 19, 2011

A new cardigan - for me!

It is raining at the moment. I am waiting for it to stop to walk the dogs but so far no luck. I don't mind the rain but Miss Tina does not like her sweater to be wet and little Ruusu gets cold easily, thus we are forced to wait.

First of all I want to thank you for all the comments of the baby cardigan. I have a new one on the needles but there have been some difficulties with it. I'll tell you about them later on. I took the pictures of the cardigan on a little baby quilt I made a long time ago, most simple one, but here is the picture of it.

My best sweater ever is a simple boxy raglan sweater knitted with 3 mm needles. It is the sweater I live in through the winter months. It is the one I grab when I need extra insulation when taking the dogs for a walk. It is the one I look for in the evenings when I feel chilly. It is the one that is always lying around and whenever I am in the need of warmth, I follow my tracks to find it, it might be in the kitchen, or by my desk or on the sofa where Mr Cat might be sleeping on it. I know it sounds quite bad, it has cat and dog hair all over it. Of all the sweaters I have been knitting during the past years, this is the one and only I truly love. I could give away just about any other sweater but not this one.
So what is it that is so right about it? The answer is simple, it is easy to wear and it is light. (It is also blue which happens to be my color, but be it brown or grey or red, I am sure I would love it.) It is raglan which means that there is plenty of room around shoulders but no extra bulk under arms. It is very loose fitting, which means that although it is warm, it lets your body breathe and does not hug it to death (to sweat).  There is not much in the construction to talk about, but if that is my kind of sweater, maybe I should replicate it, I mean, there is no use of knitting to stuff the closets.

I don't remember for what reason I have bought this Pima Cotton DK by Rowan but I have it in three colors, almost in equal amounts, about 300 grams of each, plenty for a sweater in all, but too little of one color. (My colors are discontinued, I just checked the color chart. Pima cotton is premium cotton fiber, it has long staple length and the yarn spun from it is soft and fine.)

I have been swatching to find out how this yarn feels and I quite like it even though it is not wool and does not have the joyful qualities wool.

The ball band recommends using 4 mm needles, but knowing me and how I like dense fabrics, I tried with 3,5 mm needles first. I ripped it all quite quickly, I did not like the outcome, little too loose and had my other go with 3,25 mm needles.  I still thought that is was too loose and went down a little bit more, down to 3 mm needle and I am quite happy with the gauge now. While trying to decide the needle size, I also tried out three kinds of needles. This yarn splits, so lace needles with sharp points were out. I tried with wooden ones, but did not like the way I had to work with the stitches to get them moving on the needles, so they were out. I finally settled into addis with blunt points and they seem to be perfect. 

While making the swatches I had trouble getting the edges neat and nice, they tended to look loose and sloppy. Cotton is merciless yarn, it does not forgive you anything, so I really have to concentrate on the first and last stitches of the row  and knit them very carefully and tightly to avoid any extra yarn in the edges. And since cotton is merciless, it will show every single sloppy stitch that won't fit into the row.

At the moment, I am aiming for an A-shaped stockinette cardigan with wide stripes and raglan sleeves. All the other details, like neck shaping or sleeve length are under serious thought. If I cannot decide, I will return to the baby cardigan and will let this rest.

So cotton for a change, but the mail brought me some beautiful wool today, I am truly head over heels in love with it and will tell you about it next time.

Wool with you,
I have to share one link with you. I was looking for some information and I ended up in V&A's site and there happened to spot an interview of Yohji Yamamoto, the poet of black.


  1. This is going to be the most beautiful sweater. It looks like you picked these colors to go with each other on purpose because they work together so nicely. Can't wait to see it as it progresses.
    Best of luck,

  2. I wonder if you know how eagerly one waits for your posts! And always so worth the waiting! I also like a dense, tightly knitted cotton. This new cardigan will be a subtle beauty!

  3. Suzy21:20

    I agree with Jody, I am always happy to see a new post from you. Always such good photos and interesting articles. Thanks

  4. Lizzi19:26

    I also agree with Jody and Suzy - I get such a buzz when a new post appears.

  5. You describe the qualities of cotton yarn so well! I love wearing cotton, but I wish I enjoyed knitting with it as much as I enjoy knitting with wool.

  6. Karen16:14

    Love your posts Lene. Just curious - in the text "the sweater" is underlined. Is it supposed to be a link or are you describing the sweater you are designing...?

  7. Anonymous06:02

    Great colors and the stitches are impressively even. I'm wrangling a linen-cotton blend into a linen stitch cowl. I have not achieved the uniformity I seek.

    Enjoy the light!