Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Soft and Softer Coral Cardi

Most knitters probably have some yarns, that are difficult to decide to make into something - not because they are tricky yarns, but because they are sooooo good.... So no project seams to do them justice. Yet I say, take a deep breath and cast on! You will work with more care, because you love that yarn and the final project will be completely amazing. Plus, you will justify another purchase of some gorgeous fiber goodness!!

So, here is my latest project.(It still needs buttons, but I'm working on it!) I have had this yarn in my stash for almost a year, I think, and I probably got the last 2 skeins when I bought it... so only 200 grams. Really, I wish I'd had about half a kilo to make a cardi or a sweater for myself. Instead, I finally decided to use this for my daughter, Adriana. After all, she is the one and only and certainly deserves it! Here are some finished photos (and I still have enough left for another small project):
top-down cardigan after washing photo

Adriana in her new cardi
I have knit this in one peace, top-down. Here are my notes for it in case anyone would like to attempt knitting one like this - or if I will make another one (I am considering a summer dress, based on this):

I swatched and calculated all stitch counts particularly to my daughters measurements. She is about 2,5 y.o. and measures 51cm around the chest, 15cm around the arm - a comfortable fit, and 12 cm is how deep my armhole is. My gauge after washing is 22 stitches/10cm. This project took me about 3 evenings of knitting and about 135 grams of this lovely wool.

Yarn: 5% cashmere 95% merino wool, 300 meters/100 grams

I cast on 94 stitches and did a garter brim, making a reinforced buttonhole on 4-th row 3 stitches away from side. Reinforced buttonhole is something I learned in this project, and it is a really nice, strong buttonhole, which doesn't look like it will stretch, change shape or size or anything else. I highly recommend trying it, if you don't know this technique yet! (I followed this video, a little blury, but perfectly understandable and well explained) My buttonholes are 3 stitches wide and will fit a button of about 12-15 mm of size, I think.
Reinforced buttonholes are so much better!

After 9 rows (5 garter ridges on right side), leave 8 stitches at each side to continue in garter (place markers ;) )and knit the next row in front and back loop of every stitch, doubling the stitch count -KFB.
There should be 172 stitches on needles after this row.
Purl back.
Next row, garter 8 st., and then *knit 2, KFB* repeat between ** to the other 8 stitch garter section.
There should be 224 stitches on needles after this row.
Continue in stockinette without further increases.
Make a reinforced buttonhole after every 10 garter ridges.
After 12cm divide for sleeves like this:
where 38 stitches are both fronts, 40 stitches goes on waste yarn for sleeves, and 68 stitches are for back.
Continue knitting the body part until you are satisfied with length. I went for a total of 6 buttonholes and a 6 garter ridge finishing, starting the garter finish at the end of body along with the 8-th garter ridge after 5-th buttonhole. (does this sentence make sense? :) leave a comment if you want me to clarify) Make the buttonhole as you would normally - after 10 garter ridges from the last one. I actually cast off on the wrong side, so my finishing looks like this:
bottom finishing, casting off at wrong side, so it ends with a garter ridge.
Once the body is finished, pick up the stitches for sleeves. I picked up 3 extra stitches: 2 from the sides of the body stitches and one from the space between last front and first back stitch of the body.
Now, here is my trick for knitting both arms the same length: I don't take out the waste yarn that was holding my stitches earlier. It is very easy to count how many rows I have knit and so I have cast off at the exactly the same row for both sleeves:

easy way to knit sleeves same length

just pull the waste yarn out once you are done with both

I ended up knitting 45 rows in stockinette after picking up stitches and then 3 garter ridges for finishing. Now that it is washed, I wish I had done another 5-or-so rows, since by fall these sleeves might be a little on the short side...

That is it!

*buttonholes. For girls, on the right side. For boys, on the left side. My buttonholes are 3 stitches away from the side and 3 stitches wide. In other words, I knit the body, come to the last 8 stitches (the garter edge), knit 2, make a 3 stitch buttonhole, and knit 3.

* I slipped every first stitch of the row for a neat edge.

*I know of 2 sellers, who sell this yarn. One is colourmart - they generally have a lot of very, very, very nice yarns! and an amazing customer service. The other one is Kingscraig Fabrics - they have an e-bay shop with some yarn listings as well as their own ready made products, which look absolutely amazing... Not a very wide choice there, but they are nice fibers and for very reasonable prices. 
These are all oiled yarns, that require washing in hot (as hot as your hands can stand!) water with dishsoap to remove spinning/knitting oils. Just leave your finished item to soak until the water is warm, then wash the soap out. I usually do a mild vinegar soak after that (to neutralize soap) and then rinse that out, too. The fibers bloom out beautifully after this and become so much softer and nicer! In fact, don't judge any yarn you have purchased from these sellers before you do these steps. Trust me :)

So, my task now is to find some lovely buttons... :) I am leaning towards some simple wood ones - I saw some nice ones from coconut on e-bay, but they would take a month to arrive... so I'll be heading off to some local haberdashery shops, I guess... 

Let me know, in case you make something based on these notes! I'd be so happy to see it!


1 comment:

  1. You are wonderful. Thank you.

    I'm surprised you haven't made your own buttons for this! hint,hint