I felt the most appropriate first post project was one I, coincidentally, just finished up before starting this blog.
I really like Amy Christoffer’s self-published patterns and her whole aesthetic. There’s a timelessness to it, I find her patterns well written and easy to follow.
(as an aside I’m specifying her self-published stuff, because I believe she now designs for Berroco, and let’s just say that aesthetic is a bit different than what I normally go for).
Back to the point at hand, my Farmhouse Cardigan.
I had planned to spin for this one, but my spinning slowed down somewhat this year, and I was desperate to get a couple new cardigans in my closet, so I bought the yarn from my local yarn shop. I went with Gathering Yarns Haynes Creek Heathers in aran weight. Well, it’s what they call aran weight. It’s actually a little bit lighter, closer to a heavy worsted. I had never used this yarn before, but could see from the gauge listed it was a bit lighter than what the pattern called for, but I could make it work. I normally go by upper bust size when I pick a pattern. I have wide shoulders and hips, but a narrower waist, so if I pick a pattern based on that, usually it fits my waist nicely. Since this pattern didn’t have waist shaping, that’s what I was betting on.
So I picked a size larger than my upper bust by a few inches (size 2, or 38″), figuring with the smaller yarn I’d get a slightly snugger fit, which what I want.
I swatched using the needles recommended, and I actually got pretty close to gauge in stockinette. The stitch gauge was about half a stitch smaller, and the row gauge one stitch smaller. So I began knitting.
This pattern is knit from the bottom up, which is a construction I like. It also has raglan sleeves, which you knit first and then attach. That is not a construction I particularly like, because I am crap at getting proper sleeve length when they’re not already on the body. But damnit, I have wanted this cardigan for years so I was hell bent on knitting it.
The pattern calls to do the arms first in plain stockinette. Those went by pretty quickly.
Then you start on the body, working back and forth. As I was knitting something happened – I discovered I liked the wrong side of the stitch pattern more than the right side. There’s a point where you have to start working for the pockets a few inches in, so I worked back and forth as called for in the pattern until that point. Once I reached the pockets, I decided I wanted the wrong side to become my right side. It didn’t take much – all I had to do was reverse the WS/RS instructions in the rest of the pattern, and voila, the pattern was knit that way.
If I had realized this sooner, I would have put the button holes on the other side when I began them, because you knit the button band as you go on this pattern. As it stands, they are on the opposite side of the body on my cardigan than what you see in the finished pattern photos taken by Amy Christoffers (because I hadn’t reversed the instructions yet). Does it actually make a difference to wearability? No, that’s why I didn’t rip back.
I want to talk about row gauge a bit, because mine was off from the beginning. If I can’t get gauge on both, I always match best to stitch gauge, then adjust the rows as needed. With this pattern in particular that was eaiser, because almost all the length descriptions were in inches, so the number of actual rows I knit didn’t matter too much. The only place where this would have mattered is in the raglan shaping, but following the instructions exactly I actually got a really nice fit (which leads me to believe the raglan shaping would be very deep had I gotten row gauge, but there you have it).
The way the different row gauge affected my sweater was twofold; first, my button holes did not go as high up the body as hers do in the pattern pictures (which is about halfway up the bust). Not the biggest deal, mine goes up to just under my bust. I knew it while I was knitting it, and I could have just added a few more button holes going up easily. Do I regret it? I’m not sure yet, we’ll see after a few wears.
The second way this affected the sweater was in the collar. For the collar you bind off at the back, keep knitting up the sides, then do a three needle bind off and graft the selvedge of the collar to the back of the sweater. It’s a bit hard to picture, but makes sense while you’re doing it. How the shorter row gauge affected me there was that there are specific row counts for knitting that part of the collar. All I did was extend it some – instead of 15 and 16 rows, I ended up doing more like 21 and 22 rows. Not a giant deal either.
All in all I am very happy with this sweater. The only deficiency was my own fault: I made the sleeves too long. Again, I am absolute crap at adjusting a cuff up sleeve. Give me a shoulder down and I will hit the perfect length every time, but cuff up and I always end up making it slightly too long. I can cut the sleeve off and shorten it, but we’ll see if I want to do that surgery later with a few wears. The yarn might stretch so the sleeves are annoyingly long, in which case I likely will.
It’s a comfy sweater though, and a nice comfy yarn. I’m glad I finally ticked this one off my to-knit list. I foresee many years of solid wear out of this one.