My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Sumptuous Sexy Fearless Cardigan

I just got my beautiful Crazy Sexy Wool from Wool and the Gang in London, England. Oh it's so lovely! A beautiful blue called Sherpa Blue.


So I'm off knitting again something new. Last night I finished my REALLY long scarf- sans a fringe, I like it as it is- LONG! And I'm tucking in stray loose yarns as I read, plot my knitting course on my new project and get settled to start. (With the occasional foray into my book of the moment and sips of tea). 

I ordered the kit for The Fearless Cardigan few weeks ago after drooling and sighing over the pattern and pictures of the Crazy Sexy Wool for over a month. The wool is pricey, but after looking at the package deal with a pattern that included 4 skeins of wool (I got 5 skeins- an extra skein because I want to make my cardigan larger), really nice Maple #50 Wooden Needles, a sewing needle, and it comes all prettily boxed up for me- I realized it was less expensive as a packaged deal. I'm also aware that real %100 wool will last decades as opposed to the cheap soft acrylic, or acrylic blends. Which while I find fun to use- they won't last the way %100 natural fibers do. So after a winter of soft but only partial wool yarn I wanted to treat myself to REALLY good yarn and this pattern with it's unique knit from the side I just couldn't resist. Another factor in it's favor is Spring is around the corner and I didn't want a project that would not see my shoulders for a long time, this is meant to be fast! Everyone says it'll take a day. Now that I have everything I'm trying to stretch out the experience so to enjoy it. Blog it. Get it on Ravelry. Ravelry-Crazy Sexy Wool Fearless Cardigan Cuddle the stuff a bit (OK- I REALLY appreciate getting something SO fine- it's really a treat for me.)

So here's The Fearless Cardigan-

I had originally found this pattern on Pinterest through another Blogger. Pinterest is such a blessing with all the ideas and patterns that are there for the picking. And being able to read about the knitting experience from another blogger- priceless. My older generation never had anything like that! And now there are tutorials to help someone to knit. We just plodded along decades ago. I taught myself in college in the early 80's with the help of one very lovely craft book from McCalls. It's since been lost- but what a treasure trove I would of had if I had the internet! So this is the original picture that caught my eye from GGMadeIt-

I'm consulting her suggestions and a few more on the Ravelry site as to how to make this garment bigger. The original must of been on a very slim women and they don't quite close in front. I want mine long and able to wrap around me! So I got the measurements from the company by e-mail (the customer service is great at Wool & The Gang- quick response.) So they said "“The measurements for the fearless cardigan are as follows: 48cm/19” width across body, 70cm/27.5” body length, 38cm/15” sleeve length." 

So the sleeves can be made longer by adding rows (according to GGMadeIt). To add length to the garment I'm going to add about 2 additional stitches (about 2 inches). Also (blogged by GGMadeIt) I'm going to add more rows to the body so it fits a wider body. Starting with GG's suggestions: " I knit 23 rows on each sleeve and on the body section because I am wide I did 13 rows." But getting the gauge right is really important. One Ravelry member mentions the real importance of the gauge in this project. She had to knit loose. So doing my gauge is the next and really first step today and just getting my hands on this gorgeous soft stuff!

 Friday- Just started working on the gauge with the #50 needles, which I've used before, but I'm finding it hard to get a loose enough gauge for this sweater. So I'm ripping out the gauge swatch and I'm going to try and get a real relaxed open style. Lately I've been reading about the meditative qualities of knitting and maybe I need to just loosen up and drift off into the peace of my stitches. So I'll update my adventures with this wonderful wool as my project grows. Today, hopefully, I'll get the proper gauge down and start.

 I also tried to hunt up #5o circular needles locally (because they are suggested by other knitters on Ravelry who worked on the sweater for when the wide part of the body is on) but I can only find them online. Etsy has a lovely pair (and I like to support cottage industries) I might order- even though it'll probably arrive too late. Unless it's too frustrating because I'm increasing the stitches- so I might have to pause and wait. We'll see. I'll use them at some point anyways.

My husband David & I spent a Saturday hunting up material and tools to make our own wooden circular needles. Not exactly the most cheap route. By the time we finished my husband had some lovely new toys to work with wood and I kept on thinking- Oh no- maybe I should've just ordered the needles online! But he will love his woodworking toys and I'm sure they will be special needles! So I was kind of dragging my feet starting my Fearless Cardigan so he could get those needles done, but his work kinda gets in the way. So I better forge ahead and make do and just scrunch those stitches onto the needle! I figure if we can get enough photos of the project I'll blog a DIY on how to make the Wooden Circular needles. I'm hoping we can make 3 different pairs of #50 at 3 different lengths for large yarn projects: cowls, sweaters, and hats.

Ok- It's the next Saturday (March has arrived!) and David got going early making my first pair of circular knitting needles #50 29" length. I'll blog another post on detail & pictures later. I'm waiting on the glue to dry and hopefully within a few hours I can use them. I'm going with au natural for the moment to see if they patina with use and the natural oil in wool.

So I got one sleeve done. I seemed to keep getting sidetracked adding advertising this week and doing a Pizza Night Blog! Savory & Sumptuous Blog- Friday Pizza Night!.  My sleeve is done and I did 25 stitches to bring it down to the very edge of my hand and a tiny bit over. I like being warm. Come to Colorado in winter- you'll understand! But of course we have very unpredictable weather and today it is warm as toast making one think of spring. But I hear it's supposed to snow on Monday. It can snow here till April. So back to that sleeve- I think it's going onto some yarn as a holder and I'll start the other sleeve. I love doing things in tandem- that way I'm more likely to make them alike. Then I will have my super lovely new circular needles to use! I did beg and ask how long I have to wait but my husband just mumbled something about it being cold out side and needing to bring it into dry. And I'm thinking- can I make them dry faster by staring?

So technical difficulties- the cat started eating the glue and licking my needles held in a vice! Then he pulled the string out! Grrrrr I guess my needles aren't vegetarian- the glue is from cow hide. So my husbands going to guard it while it dries.

My new circular needles-

March 12th- after Midnight and I have been happily knitting away with my new circular needles. Adding rows here and there figuring the cardigan is tight or too short on others. Now that I have half of the cardigan done and bound off I am reminded of two important facts- one I am only 5' 1" and the other is gravity has a way of pulling on heavy stitches! Ok- I haven't had a lot of experience on sweaters. I did a few before the kids (the ones that are 20 now). So I'm ripping out back to the end of the arm. I obviously didn't need to add those 2 rows on. I'm borderline petite and feeling it right now. So kinda back to the drawing board. The 2 added rows in the back do work out nicely and tomorrow I'll take a good look at the front panel because I added 2 rows to that so it come closed in the front. I'm kinda relieved- I had been stuck with a yarn change right at the end of the front edge, right before bind-off. I backed up to hide it in the body some, but it was a little bulgy there and I didn't like it. It's alright to have a re-do and get it right. I've finally got the hang of my homemade needles and I don't mind starting the body over- sigh.

My yarn is %100 wool, but Wool & The Gang offer Alpaca yarn and Alpaca mixes with wool and I just couldn't resist the Alpaca picture from their site:

Alpaca Attack!