Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Knitting a Cardigan

Ever since I started crocheting, creating the perfect garment has been the goal. With crochet, I think that the closest I have come to that, is with the Esmée Cardigan - but the jury is still out, I need to make up an Esmée for me rather than a tiny model before I can say that I've come close to achieving that far off goal.

Since I've started knitting therefore (if not before), making a cardigan has been the goal. I started small - with hats, scarves, gloves - projects where the end point is close so that the end didn't lose interest. However, I now think that I am ready to knit a cardigan, and am enjoying the fun (and frustrating) part of choosing a pattern, yarn and colour.

To cast the net wide, my first thought was that I ought to start with a proven pattern. Something that lots of people have made, that the photos on ravelry show suiting different body types (especially the chesty ones like me). A February Lady Sweater, perhaps, or a tea leaves cardigan, or an Amelia, or maybe an Ysolda Teague design - Liesl or a Coraline. Patterns which you only need to know the name to be able to picture them in your mind. None of them really captured my imagination.

Then I bought knitscene, and the general guilt about having to make something from a book that I had bought crept in. The essayist pullover is closest to what I would buy, but having made Knotty with ribbed cuffs, I wasn't sure if I could cope with making a whole ribbed garment. The loose simplicity of the Carrot cardigan also appealed, but the idea of knitting row upon row of stockinette makes me feel slightly comatose.

Then for Christmas, I asked for (and received) New England Knits, full of gorgeous sweater and cardigan pattners (and photography). Perused and pored upon for several days, I've finally decided that the Fairfield sweater is the pattern for me.

© Interweave

It's close enough in design to my favourite cardigan that I know that it will suit me, but also has some design interest to suggest it's not something I would be able to buy in a shop.

Now the problem is yarn. The asked for yarn is Classic Elite Kumara - a merino and camel mix. Unavailable in UK, and I don't want to pay customs charges so I won't be ordering it from US. Quince & Co Osprey is also suggested -also unavailable in UK - this is a 100% wool yarn, so it gives me ideas for substitution. I want a mainly wool substitute in aran or worsted weight. I'll need about 1300m, and ideally, I want to pay under £60. Any ideas?

At the moment, I'm thinking either Coldharbour Mill Aran - I love the story behind it, the skeins are large which is good for end-weaving. But the colours I can buy online are not really inspiring me, and if I do choose this route, then I'll probably have to buy direct from the mill. The alternative that I'm considering, is to use Malabrigo Worsted - a yarn beloved by many, also in large skeins but I'm worried that the single ply will equal much pilling. I've yet to find a shade that I love in a UK online yarn store so I'm still looking. If price were no option, I'd love to make it in Blacker Yarn's Pure Shetland Fawn Aran, but considering all the ends I'd have to weave in with a 60m skein, I don't think that it's worth it. I'm going to keep looking, and hoping that I stumble upon the right yarn!

0 thoughts:

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