Sunday, January 23, 2011

Conquering the Cardigan

This is the first completely knitted sweater that I have ever made! I have done woven garments in the past to which I have added knitted collars or cuffs or bands. But during the past couple of years while I was away from my looms I decided I should KNIT a sweater.

I considered many patterns from books I own, from the yarn stores and the bookstore. I decided I wasn't knowledgable enough (definitely not confident enough) to select a pattern on my own. Many visits to yarn stores for ideas followed!

The very helpful staff at The Yarnery in St. Paul made this suggestion. It was a "knitted from the top down" pattern by Knitting Pure & Simple. I wanted a basic comfortable style that I could wear to the office.

I splurged on the yarn, "Pastaza" from Cascade Yarns, because I felt that if I am going to spend all that time and energy on a project, then I want it to have some impact. And I want to love it! The color is WOW and the fiber, alpaca and wool, is YUMMY.

I really took my time, read the instructions carefully(trust the instructions - so hard to do sometimes!) and watched the online tutorial by the pattern maker. The tutorial was very helpful and is available at Knitting Pure & Simple's website. Knitting this project was wonderful. It was a challenge but not overwhelming. I liked the feel and the weight of the work as it grew and lay in my lap. It actually went quite well.

I worried about the bands, those on the ends of the sleeves and picking up the right number of stitches on the front to make them match. But I dove in and did the first band for the buttons. Success. Then the dilemma -- what buttons to use! I shopped -- no luck.

And then, an "Aha moment"! I have a large button collection, nothing organized, just lots of buttons. (oh, I do love buttons). Why hadn't this occurred to me before?! I searched the collection. I needed 10 buttons but didn't have that many matching in the right size.

So here's what I did - I chose 10 different black vintage buttons. Each is unique and I love the way it looks. It lends another level of interest to this very basic pattern. Still making the buttonholes in the second band was the scariest. Buttonholes - - HOLES - - spaced properly! It took several days, even after I selected the buttons, to gather my courage and just do it.

What a feeling of power to complete this project and be so happy with it. (The photo of the yarn that appears earlier in this post has a truer representation of the actual color.) I am lovin' it!

So, if you have a big project calling to you, go ahead, dive in . . . . . .


  1. This is so exciting! How wonderful it looks and what a huge accomplishment!

  2. Thanks, Cupcake. I love wearing it in this cold weather!