I guess I fall into the category of "Fearless Knitter", as otherwise I wouldn't have made my first major stranded project a steeked cardigan in superwash wool. In my defense, I did pick something for my daughter, so it's a lot smaller than one for me would have been.
The pattern is the 13502 Cardigan by Dale Design from the Dale of Norway leaflet Dalegarn #135: Designs for Baby. I blogged about it in June 2008 as Roses Cardigan, and I've just realised I didn't blog about finishing it. The stumbling block to finishing it, it turns out, was getting the sewing machine out to sew the steeks. To start with I couldn't see where I was stitching and eventually I used a contrasting thread to baste the line first. I couldn't get it all out after sewing on top of it, but it was covered by the crochet edging anyway, so isn't visible.
note the elephant buttons
Roses Cardigan, folded
Yarn: Dale of Norway/Dalegarn Baby Ull. 2 skeins of dark blue, 4 skeins of light blue, 1 skein of yellow-gold, and 1 skein of dark green.
Comments: The pattern made sense and has little shaping, so it's an easy first stranded project. There is a small amount of back and forth knitting, which requires patterning while purling. It looks much better after blocking. My daughter loves the cardigan, and it's often the only warm item we can get her to wear. I managed to find some cute elephant buttons in the right colour and size. Elephants don't really go with roses, but nobody has complained so far.
Ravelry link: Baby Ull Cardigan
I finished my son's sweater some time ago, but finally got around to taking the photo and cropping it and uploading. He likes it, it's none too big but will probably last a while since kids of his age tend to grow up rather than out. There's a bit of pooling; I actually quite like the way it came out. The zig-zags somehow match the speed at which he usually hurtles around.
another photo of the front
My current non-TKGA knitting project is a cardigan for my toddler daughter. It's my first "real" stranded knitting project (I don't count the frogged tiger hat), and the roses have that embossed look to them. I assume some of that will block out eventually. Unlike the tiger hat, where I was holding both yarns in my right hand, I'm using the background colour in my right hand, and the "pattern" colour in my left hand. I usually knit holding the yarn in my right hand and throwing it, but picking with my left hand is quite comfortable. I watched Lucy Neatby's Gems 2 DVD where she shows how she holds the yarn in each hand, and I find that her method works for me.
I've been trying out different methods of getting the stranding to work (with some success, despite the embossed look). I tried the "weave every second stitch" method, but that shows through too much. And then I tried weaving every 3 stitches. Since the yarn is so fine (32 stitches per 10 cm/4 in) in the end I decided to weave only on a gap or 6 stitches or more on the body, and more often on the sleeves, as that's where the little fingers might catch.
Baby Ull cardigan
Dale Baby Ull cardigan
The photos were taken on the sundial in our front garden, while the tulips were blooming.
If you want to see what the finished article should look like, pictures are available on Ravelry at Dale 135 pattern book; unfortunately the Dalegarn web site no longer has the book listed, nor the pictures. Ravelry also shows the pattern page and my project page.
Note to self: next time you wing it on a sweater, make sure the neck fits over the head of the recipient before doing the final rib and bind-off. Having to rip back after weaving in the ends semi-invisibly is especially annoying.
It's been a while since I posted about an actual WIP; in fact it's been a while since I posted at all (too much work at work, and too little sleep at home; at times we joke about giving the toddler the old-fashioned gripe water that really did put them to sleep for a while). So in this post you get two status photos, not one. This was my mindless knitting project while at Madrona, since there was only a small part where I had to pay attention to what I was doing.
The earlier version; the blue yarn is from the provisional cast-on. Nice and colourful and my son claims to like it (yes, he does like the pink bits scattered through). And since it's acrylic/nylon (Wendy Peter Pan Double Knit in colourway 1320), it's easy to toss in the washing machine (important with a 9-yr-old boy). Yarn reviews are available at Ravelry.
The design is a simple one, mostly cobbled together from Maggie Righetti's Sweater Design in Plain English, with a stocking stitch body and a horseshoe cable up the arm. I knitted the arms at the same time on two circular needles and I think it's actually easier to knit them flat and seam them! The bits of knitting and needles and yarn were forever getting tangled up and I think my gauge varied more than it usually does. Also, trying to graft together the sleeves and body at the underarms was more tricky than I anticipated because of the different directions the various bits of fabric were pulling in. I got it done eventually, and it should hold as I double-grafted some of it, but it was more tricky than I liked. Maybe practise makes perfect, or maybe I'll just stick to regular seams, which are easier to get right.
It turned out to be just as well I'd started with a provisional cast-on, since I am currently adding some more length to the body, knitting down. When you're designing "on the fly" as I was, provisional cast-ons make life a whole lot easier.