Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Done! Finished! Completed!

I was knitting away the sleeves, when it dawned to me that, this cardigan is after all coming together and getting close to a finishing line. Somehow, I was lulled into believing that I was to knit this cardigan into unforeseen future and every single modification would be ripped and the cardigan would be restarted repeatedly. I was not protesting the thought, I was accepting and getting used to the idea. I knitted one of the sleeves three times, every time close to the wrist. The first time, I had fingering weight yarn and 2,5mm needles but picked up way too many stitches and the sleeve head came out too big. The second time, the very same yarn, and far less stitches, and the sleeve head was just perfect. It looked beautiful and slim and somehow complemented the cardigan. However, I did not have enough yarn to complete the other sleeve the same. The third time I took heavier yarn and bigger needles (3mm), but kept the number of stitches the same, again having wider sleeves. But… The second sleeve, as perfect as it was, was way too small for comfortable wearing. Because, this wool, which is quite scratchy, needs to be an outer garment and those slim, sophisticated sleeves, would have been too tight to wear even over a t-shirt. These bigger sleeves are well suited for jacket-kind-of-wearing. (Add to the above-mentioned reasoning, also the fact that I was all of a sudden finally done and was not ready to start over again, since the sleeves were the very last thing to do.)
I knitted the sleeves from the top down, decreasing evenly all the way down to the wrists and then changed the yarn to a fingering weight again, made two purl rows for folding line, knitted few rows to fold some of the fabric to the inside and tacked the folds with needle and thread to the inside. I was tempted to add some deco to the sleeves, but managed to restrict myself, and kept them simple. In the long run, I think I am happier with simple sleeves than with embellished ones.
After I had done the collar, I attached the zipper (by hand), did a few finishing touches with crochet just to add interest, stability and some detailing to the area. I really like the zipper, it is out of metal and the color match is good.
I picked up stitches along the neck line and knitted this “cover” to hide away all the cutting lines, as this part is so often visible, I wanted to have a clean look.
I did not do anything to the sleeve, side or shoulder seams. I think they will be fine, as I had so hard time ripping this cardigan, I am hoping that those stitches will stay the way they are supposed to. Again, few crochet stitches (crab stitches) around the collar.
I thought a lot about the hem but then in the end just folded over the excess part. Before closing the hem, I put weight chain inside the hem. This cardigan is short and there is a big collar of which most lies on the back side, so I wanted this cardigan to have some added weight at the hem line. This weight chain works wonders, I really like it. If there should be trouble (too much stretch) with it, I can always take it out, but I don’t think so, as this fabric is stranded all the way and thus is very stable.
The hem was again so messy that I covered it with this fabric that is cut diagonally. I hand sewed it on and then quilted it lightly, just catching the floats on the inside, not going through to the front side.
The last touch was the red button, and call it done!
This is probably going to be one of my most wearable cardigans I have ever made. It has this easiness quality in it. Of course, I could have done few things way much better, but all in all, after I cast off the memory of the hardship with this one, I am going to wear this for years to come. To be totally honest, I am really surprised that this became a wearable thing after all.
I was so sorry at some point for ruining a perfect, warm sweater.
I thought that I should have given it away instead of taking the scissors… and then making all this public here on the blog… So, you can guess how relieved I am now. If I had not made this public, I am sure I would not have been working with this quite this hard. Thank you for your encouragement and following this journey. The finished cardigan is all your doing!
The original sweater was by Estonian designer Riina Tomberg. 

The yarns I used for the project:
-      -  sleeves were knitted with Estonian wool, received as a gift many years ago - lovely, rural, natural wool
-      - the collar and some bits with Pirtin Kehräämö 2ply Finnwool
-      - the blues with De Rerum Nature Ulysse - very soft, full of air, beautiful yarn for colorwork
-      - the button bands and the collar band with Hjerte Fine Highland wool - this too very soft and lovely yarn

The needles I used were by Chiagoo and Addi, and I must confess that I have made a mental note of not using any other needles from my needle collection. Both of those needles have perfect joins in circs and the tips are pointy in the right kind of way, I think. I have various needles, but if I have Addis or Chiagoos in the correct size, those will be my go to tools.

We are only a few days away from the Christmas celebration! I wish you all the best of this season. Take good care of youself and your loved ones. 

I spotted this fellow last week all set up for the world tour. 

Next time, hopefully next week, I will have something else to work on. I have not had time to carefully think about it yet, and I put off the search on purpose, as I did not dare to take away any thought-process-time from this cardigan. Now – my mind is free to roam around.

Wool with you,


  1. Lene, I've been watching your progress and you did an amazing job on this cardigan! I would have donated and never given it another thought and you have made it beautiful and functional again. Well done! I wish you an joyous Christmas and a peaceful new year.

  2. This cardigan is a masterpiece! I hope it gives you as much warmth and enjoyment as I've gained from viewing your techniques and progress. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday and peace and love in the new year.

  3. This transformation is inspirational! What a wonderful way to reclaim a project!

  4. Just perfect!!! And a total new feeling, when wearing it, I suppose!!

  5. Just perfect!!! And a total new feeling, when wearing it, I suppose!!

  6. Amazing, beautiful, inspiring. I love the touch of blue. Best wishes to you and your family for a joyous holiday and a peaceful and healthy new year.

  7. Congratulations on a job well-done! Tremendous creativtiy and skill.

  8. so inspiring! you open up all kinds of new doors x thank you!

  9. Wow! Fabulous job on the cardigan. Your skills are amazing. I love the idea of remaking something in order to use it.

  10. Wonderful, you are so creative. Have a lovely Christmas time.

  11. Anonymous09:37

    I love it! You took a well made but plain garment and turned it into something that you will love wearing. You have inspired me to go back over some of my old, unloved knits. Upcycling!

  12. Beautiful sweater! Your talent and perseverence astounds and inspires. Merry Christmas and very best wishes for a happy, healthy 2017!

  13. I was going to make the usual joking comment about not having the patience for such a marathon, but in fact you make me vow to try harder and persevere instead of giving up when something doesn't go right first time.

    Joy to you at Midwinter, dear Lene, and love from Ireland.

  14. Anonymous17:10

    Creative, yes. But also experienced, skilled, smart, persevering, beautiful!

  15. Anonymous18:06

    It's beautiful! A free mind after finishing a big project....wonderful and freeing! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  16. Anonymous19:30

    My oh my, I'm totally in awe! It has become a utterly beautiful - and also very wearable - jacket. Good you didn't give up on it!

    Merry Christmas!

  17. Anonymous02:09

    Words do not do justice to the awe I feel at your finished project. I kind of held my breath through this whole process and checked this blog every single day just looking for a note and photo--the end result is stunning. Thank you for posting a snow picture and the reindeer. It is indeed a Finnish Christmas. Hauska Joulua.

  18. Stunning, you are a true artists.

  19. WOW! Not only are you able to visualize a whole new sweater, you're able to make it happen. I am in awe. Glad to see Santa's reindeer getting some practice in before his marathon trip! lol

  20. Congratulations on your happy completion of the sweater project. The outcome is beautiful and wearable. It was really interesting to get to follow along on your journey of discovery. Thank you for including us on your journey. Thanks also for posting the picture of one of the Christmas helpers; I had no idea how huge their hooves were.

  21. What a beautiful (and practical) result! You truly inspire me!