Knitting Can Be A Long Haul Sometimes

2016 eh? What a drag.  Even some of the knitting is dragging, and what you do when that happens is either (a) rip out all the hours of knitting  and thereby gain yarn back into the stash to make something else [silver lining here, I’m looking for them everywhere these days],  ( b) buckle down and get it done. I decided on (b) as I think this cardigan will be really lovely, eventually.

Back in the depths of February I managed to make an entire jumper in less than a week. This was the Stopover  ‘Bang out A Sweater’ KAL challenge set by Mason Dixon Knitting, and what fun it was! I wrote about it here and here. I wore that sweater a lot back in the dark cold days of February, I wore it at a festival in the slightly less dark (but equally cold and wet) days of May as well. I wore it again in Whitby a couple of weeks ago. I love that jumper! Made from Lett Lopi it seems to be indestructible and I’m looking forward to years of wear out of it.

My Stopover is, however, a bit on the warm side for when there’s just a tiny bit of a nip in the air, so I decided I needed a thinner version. I thought maybe a cardigan, maybe with a bit of colour work in it, and maybe I could make this, too, from Icelandic yarn. I’d discovered when buying my Lett Lopi that there is a yarn called ‘Einband‘. It’s a slightly heavy lace weight, and comes in loads of delicious colours, just like the Lett Lopi. So of course I chose dark brown but also orange, and light gray which didn’t make it…I have a plan for it though.

According to my Ravelry project diary I started this in mid March this year, it’s now November and I’ve asked myself more than once what possessed me to knit an entire cardigan from laceweight yarn, heavy or not.

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The pattern I chose is Breezy by Hannah Fettig (Knitbot) which calls for yarn to make 24 stitches/13rows over 10cm in  ‘laceweight, fingering or sport weight’ yarn – so it looked like Einband would be suitable . Istex don’t tell you the gauge on their yarns because they transform utterly once they’re washed. I made a swatch in some pale grey (so I could see what I was doing, it’s almost impossible to see the stitches in the dark brown), washed it and got stitch gauge pretty much spot on. I tend to worry less about row gauge as I have quite enough to worry about already [where to begin?] and I can shorten or lengthen a knit quite easily. If I’ve learned anything from the Stopover KAL it’s that these yarns can take a LOT of blocking to shape.

I knitted according to the pattern until I got beyond the collar increases (this is a top down construction, a method I love) and then I started on a colourwork panel of my own designing to run round the top of the cardigan. Of course I didn’t think this through. Purling in colour work is a royal pain, so hard to keep the tension correct, and the yarn kept sticking together annoyingly – but I got there in the end and stopped for most of the hot(ish) part of the summer, when we live in a camper-van mostly,  and drink a lot of nice ale at music festivals.

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At one point (in Cambridge) a mysterious loop appeared, and I had to go a long way backwards. Still no idea how this happened:

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As September rolled around I knit the rest of the body and then did 3 inches of 2×2 ribbing around the bottom – enough to try anyone’s patience. Then I started on the sleeves which are, joyfully, knit round and round. I only had the one circular needle to hand (I say to hand, there are 50 more somewhere in this house) so I did them on a magic loop. I started off doing the sleeve just in brown, and for a while I was trying to convince myself I was happy with this. But actually, deep down, I knew I needed to carry the colour work round the sleeves. So out it was ripped and in the colour work went. I don’t have a picture of this particular annoyance but I have done a couple (loads) of Instagram posts about this item. Here you are in case you’re not on the IG:

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The whole thing is finished off with 3 inches of ribbing all the way round the front and back. Ribbing takes ages, and I have done a lot of it this year, what with the Nuthap. I am halfway through the left front of it. If I hadn’t already run out of patience I’d save this post up until this cardigan is finished and blocked and then show you the result. But in a ‘seize the day’ kind of mood and because who knows what’s around the corner these days, really? I’m pressing ‘Publish’ now.

[Come back later for exciting pre and post blocking pictures, won’t you?]

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