Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Charm gets a skirt

Thank you for coming back to read of the transformation of the Charm. I want to stress out that Charm was a lovely cardigan in the beginning and only because of the way, I  seamed and of the way, I knitted the fronts, forced me to fix it.
I am quite happy with the button bands and the neck treatment, but I do need to stabilize the bands little bit more, although the tightly crocheted stitches along the edges have done a good job. I am little bit hesitant to add fabric to the bands, because I am afraid that the garter stitch will grow with age, and then again the bands will be the problem, if they don’t have any room to grow. These crocheted edges are not too tight, but they are quite firm. I added crab stitches with crochet along the ruffled edges.
I looked and looked at the cardigan after the ruffle was in place. Because I took off the fur collar, the cardigan lost its sophistication, and the design somehow turned to stuffy … Do you get what I mean? It needs something. It took me some time to realize what I should do and I am not quite sure if I took the right path. I found the right buttons for the front but the back needed something too. Plus, the shape of the cardigan… It had some shaping, but it has grown so much so that the shaping is lost. That needs to be fixed at some point. 

For some reason the back appeared shorter than the fronts all the time. To the ironing board, I went. I pinned out the back piece to match the length of the fronts and steamed. I realized, that it was a good thing to spread out the cardigan. In the first place the front band problem was the stretching, they were long while the back of the cardigan was not matching the length of the fronts. With little bit of steam and careful stretching, I could sort of divide the problem, at the same time I was both adding length to the back, and getting rid of some length of the fronts.

This made me thought of swatches… How carefully I treat them and try to avoid stretching, when the final garment is going to grow both vertically and horizontally. Maybe it would be a good thing to treat those swatches with not so much care. If you think about sweater, you are going to pull it over different kind of under garments, some bulkier than others; you are going to take it off and stuff it maybe into a bag, it gives this way and that… no wonder it feels like swatches lie. I need to think about this more, before I am sure about this. But back to the cardigan…

I picked stitches along the hem with crochet hook, or rather I crocheted a row of single crochet stitches along the hem, then picked up stitches with knitting needle from the crochet row, and hoped that, the little skirt I envisioned in my head, would not go wrong. After I had the required number of stitches on the long circular (over 550! – I sort of guessed this number would work based on my previous knowledge of the yarn and the ruffle, writing this down for further reference), I started short-rowing the German way with 2,5mm (US2) needles rows, that seemed endless. Even though the rows did get shorter and shorter, it took few hours of determination to complete the skirt.
For the past month, I have been reading/listening C. J. Sansom’s murder mysteries that happen in England during Tudor times and I am sure this influenced my design. While I was trying to think what to add to the cardigan after I had knitted the ruffle, I took out my Tudor Roses book to get ideas. I love that book; it has amazing knitwear and one cannot feel but inspired after spending some time looking at the pictures.

I went to see Virtual Yarns website and noticed that there was an iBook version of the Tudor Roses.
This complements the actual book. I just downloaded it, so far have not spent much time looking at it, but there are pieces of audio, where you can listen to Alice and Jade Starmore talk about the designs. I need to concentrate on the book more, but if you love Tudor Roses, maybe you would like to take a look at this option.
I added more stitches to the back of the cardigan than to the fronts, because the front skirt is so short that it would not need as many stitches as the back to look full; even though the back has a lot more stitches than the fronts, I could have added even more. I wanted the look to be full, not skimpy. I mean, if I was going to add a skirt, I might as well make the most of it.
When all the short rows were done, I knitted few rows with garter stitch. I did knit one purl row before beginning the garter stitch, but even with that, the hem started to roll towards front, and I had to use serious steaming to tame it.
After steaming, the skirt still looked very wrinkly and there was no other way around it than to block it. In the above picture, the left is blocked, while the right part is only steamed. I pinned it in parts and squirted water on it. This did even out the skirt.
At this point I seamed the rest of the cardigan with the same method as the raglan seams. I have the buttons picked out, so they are the next thing. Oh, and the button bands, the rascals that were the problem in the beginning, still need some thought.
Cannot wait to show you how this ends… This probably had too many words and was quite a heavy post... I wonder if you made it to the end ;-)
(And finally; here is our birthday boy, 1 year on the 19th! He is such a champ, he has never played with my yarns so far...)

Wool with you,

PS. It is so difficult to stay focused with the picture taking... no matter how hard I try to remind myself to stop to take a picture, I always seem to skip something. I am working on it though!


  1. It's really looking lovely! I am fascinated to see what you will think of next. I think the ruffle front needed something to balance it and the skirt seems to be it.
    Also, many birthday pats to your so-we'll-behaved kitty!

  2. Oh my, this keeps getting better and better. Love the shade of blue and you are just so creative. Many pets and an ear scratch or two for the birthday kitty (who is probably longing for a ball of wool with which to play!!).

  3. I love what you've done with your sweater. Your yarn combination is lovely.

  4. The skirt is beautiful! I can't wait to see how this turns out!

  5. I so enjoy tuning in each day to see how your project has developed.

  6. Anonymous03:38

    Oh my, how beautiful it is! I agree with Amy; the skirt balances or finishes the front ruffle. Great work Lene! Thank you for taking us along.


  7. I kind of hope you've pulled out lots of garments to make over. These have been fascinating!

  8. I would have never thought of adding the ruffle and skirt, but I love how it's turning out! Thank you, as always, for taking the time to document your processes.

  9. You have such a thoughtful creative process which I really appreciate. Thank you for taking the time to document it. I really like the brown and blue colour combination.

  10. Another upcycling master class! Bravo!

  11. Wow, Lene! I don't know of anyone else that has the mastery of knitting and garment construction that you have. I hate, Hate, HATE redoing any of my projects that turn out not so pleasing. I guess that's why I've been knitting only accessories (shawls, hats, etc.) for the last 5-10 years. They don't take as much of a time and effort commitment as a sweater, and I'm not as disappointed when they don't turn out perfectly.

  12. I really love the skirt on this sweater, and I agree with you on teh DROPS alpaca yarn. Just gotta love it, and those colors to dye for.

  13. As someone who regularly goes back and frogs what she's made, I am really fascinated and enjoying how you are individually tackling these garments in your wardrobe - fantastic! I love reading about your thought processes and inspirations - oh yes, gotta love that Tudor Rose book (I am just listening to the Privaze Lives of the Tudors! - but love me a good mystery, too ::))!
    The skirt idea is particularly ingenious as it mirrors a popular and useful trend for those of us who are not as slim as you, too! Although I am not tall, many sweaters work out rather too short on me and this "undershirt" look would be such a clever fix :o
    Also, your sense of colour is lovely - when knitting with yarns that aren't plain I enjoy the process so much and should take your tip on board to consider emphasising a (sometimes unexpected) colour accent...