Saturday, 26 March 2016

sophie cardigan progress

Well it's been a little while since I last updated you properly on the Sophie Cardigan and I'm getting my skates back on. Just a quick reminder, this is the project I started last month, based on a cardigan that my friend Sophie owns which I love, but couldn't find a pattern that inspired me to make it, so I am making one up.

As you can see in the pictures the back panel is now finished! I had originally knit this piece way too long and had to rip it back quite far down to start reshaping the armholes again. That was a little disheartening and complicated when it came to re-ordering the cable pattern back on the needles, but it looks like I managed it ok and it is totally worth it. I didn't want a long cardigan like I would have ended up with. I am aiming to knit simply an oversized cardigan.

The cable, complete up to the top of the panel, looks absolutely brilliant. If you want the pattern for the cable, I used this free Celtic Cable pattern. I will be adding a button band and neck band as one piece (I think) when the main sections of the cardigan are knit up, so the cast off row at the top will be more finished then.

So the next sections to work on had to be the front panels. I opted to do both the left and the right at the same time because, even though more complicated (particularly as I need to make the pattern up as I go), this is how I prefer to knit matching pieces now, it helps to ensure the length of the pieces match exactly. 

The main difficulty I've found with working on a project such as this (with no pattern and all design elements compiled by me) is the motivation to keep at it, especially when it gets quite difficult. The front panels have been difficult because I wanted 2 cables going up each one - one complex, similar to the back cable, and one simple 6-stitch cable. This, while working 2 pieces at the same time! I am no where near being able to design my own cables, so it was back to Pinterest to find a cable I thought would work. I eventually settled on a cable chart used in a 2014 issue of Let's Knit magazine for a cushion cover*. It seemed to incorporate exactly what I wanted, and I even knew I had the issue of the magazine in question somewhere so I didn't even need to print anything off! 

As you can see below, the cables started off looking pretty neat and I think they will make a good front of the cardigan.

I did the maths for the stitch counts and what not, cast on, and off I went. I confused myself a little bit with how I should be reading the chart with the left and right panels, making sure they mirrored each other in the way I wanted to, but I muddled through and knit what you can see above.

The best laid plans though ...

I wasn't totally happy with how close the more complex cable were to the edge of the piece, and though I kept telling myself it will all look fine once the button band was on there, it was an annoying niggle. And when  you are knitting something you aren't totally happy with, you don't really knit it that much and instead work on other projects! As a result I left the cardigan for a bit and then came back to it a week or so ago. I knit some more of the panels, then laid everything out for the pictures and to decide how best to shape the neckline. It was here I realised that the panels weren't nearly wide enough! I didn't really take into account how much the cables would pull all the work in together and make it more narrow.

I spent a few minutes trying to convince myself it was ok and I should just carry on and block block block them into shape. But I knew really I had to start on Thursday of this week I unravelled all my hard work (*tears*) and started again.

As hard as that was I already feel so much better with how they look! I've already worked up to the first section of the cable again and now I have a better idea of what I want and how long it will take I know I will catch back up with myself in no time, and I ought to be starting the sleeves within 2 weeks at the least (woo hoo!). I've also been able to add an extra 5 stitches to the other side of the complex cable so it is no longer right on the edge and it will look so very much better, and will help the neckline shaping as well. 

I don't think I will ever get tired of looking at this back cable - mmmmm
So that's where I am now. Pretty much as I was the last time I wrote about the cardigan - muddling through, and something had to be unravelled to be knit again. I think (hope) it will all be worth it though! Hope you agree - and if you have any helpful hints on how to shape a neckband let me know! I am going to work it as a deep V-neck I think.

*If I ever decided to write up this pattern as a free pattern/tutorial for the blog, Sarah Neal (editor of Let's Knit) has kindly given me permission to use the same cable pattern/chart. I emailed the magazine a few week's ago and she got back to me with some kind words about the blog too - that was a nice message to receive :)

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