Monday, 22 February 2016

knit in progress - sophie cardigan

I thought you might be interested in how I'm getting on with one of my crafty plans for this month - knitting a chunky cabled cardigan with some scrumptious Sirdar chunky yarn, a wonderful combination of wool, cotton and acrylic. 

When I first set out to start working on the cardigan, having already decided what yarn to use, I assumed I would find a great pattern online, download it, and off I would go. I even had my eye on the style of cardigan I really wanted to knit. My friend Sophie has a lovely M&S cardigan that just fits so nicely and hangs really well, and I love the cables on it.

Unfortunately I simply couldn't find a pattern that appealed to me or matched Sophie's cardigan. Not on Ravelry, not on Pinterest, not in my books, not anywhere. I was feeling a little like I'd fallen at the first hurdle.

Then, a niggling thought grew in my head, one that, once comprehended and given time, just couldn't be denied -  'why I don't I try and copy Sophie's cardigan myself, and make my own pattern?'

And so, I've found myself muddling to knit a chunky, cable-knit cardigan, with no pattern except copious amounts of pictures and measurements and far fewer swatches than should be allowed when trying to knit your own cardigan. I took my measurements, my pictures, my swatches, and I have begun the Sophie Cardigan.

I was luckily able to nail the tension pretty much straight away. I just counted the stitches in a 10cm x 10cm square on Sophie's existing cardigan and did my best to match that. I did this with 6.5mm knitting needles and the Faroe yarn - and because I'm making it up as I go I figure a few rows or stitches here or there can be rectified as I work (to the horror of all professional knitwear designers out there).

The above picture is my progress much earlier last week on the cardigan. I actually intended to have this post up days ago, but I've been pretty bed-ridden with the flu for 6 days and haven't been able to do anything. Yesterday was actually the first day I was even able to knit.

I will be sure to get some better pictures of the original cardigan itself soon, so you can see what I am modelling this on, but for now you can probably guess that the back piece has the main design point of a complex cable up the centre. I didn't know how to replicate Sophie's cable, so instead I scoured Pinterest and decided on this traditional Celtic Cable. It's grown substantially since this picture and it looks pretty neat!

My main concern with doing my own thing is the sleeves. I'm actually at the arm hole shaping now for the back panel and found this very informative video on YouTube. It seems a very simplified model on how to shape the sleeves, but as this is my first rodeo and I'm doing a baggy (as opposed to fitted) cardigan, this should serve my needs - I hope!

In fact, I've been so worried about the sleeves that I didn't realise my measurements have been off. Yesterday I finally felt up to a day of knitting in bed (bliss) and I set myself 48cm of knitting before shaping the armholes. With hindsight this should absolutely be 38cm! Tonight will be some careful ripping back - it's going to be a nightmare to work out where I am in the cable repeat ... at least this means my wool supply should go further than I thought :)

Except for this mistake, I am feeling very positive with the progress I've made so far, The texture of the yarn in moss stitch is so soft and glorious, and the cable is popping out nicely considering the variety of colours and textures that are emerging from the knitting. I was a little nervous it would get lost in the busy look of the cardigan but I think it's working quite well.

I'm keeping as detailed notes as possible in the hopes that I may be able to transfer this into a written pattern for the blog one day. Though I need to get my measurements under control, and really ought to test knit ... and it will only be one size (no way am I ready for sizing yet!) ... so don't get your hopes up.

Anyway, I hope to keep you updated and share some pictures once I have the back panel finished and get started on the front (armhole AND neck line shaping at the same time? What could possibly go wrong... ). In the mean time you can keep up with my progress over on the Ravelry project page. 

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