Archive for the ‘Cardigan’ Category

Tri-Cable Stitch Cardigan

tri-cable, done.jpg

Ti-Cable Stitch Cardigan from A Stitch In Time, Volume Two
400 grams Patons Dreamtime 4ply, Charcoal
3.75mm and 3.00mm needles
Started: November 2013
Finished: August 2014
Modifications: Nothing!
Buttons: Buttonmania
Ravelryed: here

Since casting this cardigan on in November last year, I was excited about wearing it. The whole process was an illustration of an ideal knitting project; I really enjoyed seeing the marled grey cables come together to form braids up the body and arms, and often daydreamed about wearing it once it was done. In stark contrast to my usual knitting behaviour, I managed to finish it while there were plenty of weather-appropriate days left to wear it.

Tri-cable, back.jpg

There were no modifications made to the pattern, as my gauge was spot on and everything seemed to come together reasonably well. Noting that I’m never completely happy, I had a crisis of confidence over the length of the sleeves at one point. They are longer than I usually wear, but not ‘too long’ as I moaned to friends and family, who patiently sat through me demonstrating the length of the sleeves prior to seaming them to the body.

Tri-cable, the bow.jpg

If I were to make this again, I’d shorten the sleeves slightly, lengthen the ties and deal with the lip at the bottom of the cardigan, caused by the knitted-in button band. Like the sleeves, the button band isn’t a deal-breaker, but I think knitting and seaming on a separate button band would make for a slightly nicer finish. These are, however, minor quibbles; the cardigan was a joy to make and is now a joy to wear.

Writing lines

A mere… five weeks after setting the goal to finish the sleeves on my Lee Target cardigan, it’s done! Knitting the back and sleeves as one piece seemed like a walk in the park when I first looked at this pattern, but in reality it was a slog. As a result, my enthusiasm for this project has waned since first starting it. So much so that it’s taken me two weeks since finishing the back to actually write about it.

Lee Target Back.jpg

The upside to spending so much time on the back it that I now know the stitch pattern quite well. The long rows were the equivalent of writing “I must not forget ‘*KB, K2, KF, P4′”; hopefully I won’t have to reknit as many rows in the remaining sections of the cardigan. Also, the other sections of the cardigan are much smaller, so no more 200ish stitch rows.

Half Lee Target Back.jpg

I’m now seeking solace in my other project, the tri-cable cardigan. It seems somewhat backward to consider a cabled 4ply cardigan a holiday in comparison to an 8ply cardigan, but I’ve never claimed to be rational; in fact, I’m really taken aback by how tiring I’ve found working on the Lee Target cardigan to be. Hopefully working on the tri-cable cardigan will provide enough R & R to get back on to it soon. Who knew knitting could be this mentally taxing?

Under/over achiever

Last year my crafting output could be charitably described as ‘minimal’. This was for various reasons, but one of them was lack of focus. Projects would be picked up and put down after only a couple of rows, and nothing seemed to get finished. This year, I’m trying a different tack by having little crafting goals for each each week. Being a fairly risk averse person prone to chronic bouts of dufferism, each week’s bar is going to be set pretty low. There will be no death-defying crafting stunts going on here.

This week’s goal was to get up to the armhole decreases on the right front piece of the Tri-Cable Cardigan mentioned in my last blog post. I’d been motoring along fairly well on the body, but getting to the armhole decreases always feels like a milestone (and in some cases, a minor victory).

Not only did I achieve my completely non-binding, no consequences goal, but completely overachieved by finishing the whole piece.

DSC 0026

The more I work on this project, the more I’m drawn in by its knitted web of charms. However, its progress is going to slow a lot now I’m on the second front piece, which requires a row counter to keep track of when buttonholes need to go in.

Next week’s goal is slightly more adventurous: getting to the major increases for the sleeves on the dolman sleeve cardigan. There aren’t too many rows to knit to get there, but there is row counting and this weather forecast to contend with:

Is this a joke?.jpg

Let’s just see how many strange looks I can get from fellow commuters while I’m knitting 8ply alpaca on a 41 degree day…

Pickadilly State of the Union, July 2012

Are you sick of reading about Pickadilly yet? I wouldn’t blame you if you were. To be frank, I’m kind of sick of looking at it and thinking about it. It’s been my main knitting project over the last few months and is now at a point where it closely resembles a finished project. However, I’m not sure if I want to finish it. In some ways, I feel like I’m in the same spot as I was when I first decided to put Pickadilly aside for a while.

contrasty but nearly done.jpg

The cardigan itself is more or less finished; it just needs some buttons and it could be worn in public. I’ve been working on the crochet trim over the last week and due to my inexperience with the hook, it’s been a battle. I bought some Madeline Tosh Lace in Milk to use for the trim, but after swatching it, it felt too delicate for the cardigan. More accurately, I had concerns that I’d get it caught on… stuff. So, I tried some cream Grignasco Bambi left over from my Victory Sweater. The colour match wasn’t as good as the Madtosh, but I felt it was going to hold up a bit better to the trials and tribulations of being worn by me. In the mean time, I’d decided to leave the trim off the cuffs. Cream cuff trims + me = guaranteed disaster.

DSC 0637

With the yarn for the trim settled, I measured the swatch, calculated how many chain stitches I’d need for the trim along the button band and around the bottom hem. Crochet is a slow process when in my hands; I don’t feel comfortable with the hook, and I know my technique can only be politely referred to as ‘unorthodox’. In any case, the trim took three or four nights to finish and when it was done, I put it up against the cardigan to admire my handiwork; it was about 10cm too long. Had it been 10cm too short, it could probably have been be blocked out and stretched along the edge of the cardigan. In this situation, I can’t see any other option but to rip the trim out and start again. As it is I don’t think I have the will or the bother to keep going with Pickadilly. After seeing this boatneck jumper on Ravelry on the weekend, I’m now considering whether I should frog the cardigan completely and use the yarn to make that simple jumper.

The prospect of frogging Pickadilly was mentioned to Matt a couple of nights ago, and he suggested that it would be a waste of all the time spent swatching/knitting/modifying/swearing. It’s true that a lot of time has been spent on this project, but I don’t think it’s a waste. After all, I can’t get that time back, so there’s no point trying to salvage something just because I spent a lot of time on it. It’s also made me look at the construction of garments and look over patterns with a more critical eye than I have previously. It’s a project that’s taught me that persistence can pay off sometimes; the sleeves, for example, worked out really well.

another hand on hip photo for the road.jpg

Aside from the time spent on it, the other point to consider is whether I’d wear it once it was finished. Without the trim, I doubt I would. Even with the trim, I don’t know if I would wear it all that much. If it hadn’t been such a struggle, I’m sure I’d be more inclined to wear it.

So, with all that sooking, I’m keen to get some views from outside the Pransell household. Am I completely mad to be considering frogging something I’ve invested so much time in and am so close to finishing?

Pickadilly update

There are a few things I mentioned in previous posts that require updates. One is ginger beer, the other is Pickadilly. The only impediments to me posting updates have been time and light. Time, or lack thereof, is a common ailment, as is light at this time of year. The days are shorter and the light levels have been hovering around ‘miserable’. In some ways the light situation has been a blessing, as it allows me to make some real proper progress on my craft projects. This is definitely the case for Pickadilly.

Pickadilly sleeve, again

Almost as soon as I posted about being off my knitting, I started working on Pickadilly again. In between my last post about Pickadilly and now, I did the following:

  • Ripped the sleeve and body back to the yoke
  • Shortened the yoke by a few rows, making the armhole a little bit smaller and reducing the amount of fabric underneath my arm
  • Started the decreases for the sleeves earlier, and added more decreases in total

As a result, my Pickadilly now comes with a fully functional sleeve. I cannot lie, it was a battle getting the sleeve to a point where I was happy with the shaping. However, once it was actually done, it felt like a victory rather than just being another completed part of the project. The shaping isn’t perfect by any means. There’s probably still a bit of excess fabric under the the arm, but I still feel it’s an improvement on previous attempts. In other words, I will not be attempting the sleeve again. Now that the sleeve shaping issues have been solved (more or less), I hope that my fixation with the amount of fabric under my arms will end. It’s a bit disturbing.

The second sleeve is now underway and, predictably, it feels like it’s working up a lot faster than the first. I have started and finished the decreases and it’s well past the elbow. Something that has helped the progress of the sleeve is cold nights combined with TV. In particular, I’ve started watching Friday Night Lights after reading lots of positive bits and pieces on twitter and on DrK’s blog. It’s one of those shows that I could quite happily watch episode after episode, but Matt is rationing it out. This is probably to stop my eyes from going square. Even with the rationing, it’s provided a good amount of uninterrupted knitting time.

Although it’s been a relief to be making good progress on Pickadilly, it feels strange to be working on something modern. Since mentioning the year of vintage knits last month, my knitterly thoughts have been largely taken up by mental notes and plans for next year. I’ve started looking through my pattern collection and pairing patterns with stash, and started thinking about yarn I might need to buy for particular patterns. I’m not sure how many FOs I’ll end up with next year, but I’m looking forward to the process. It’s going to be fun.

The Return

Just over a year ago, I threw a mild tantrum about a cardigan I really wanted to make, but the pattern and I were not friends. The last time it was mentioned, it looked like this:

Pickadilly, circa March 2011

Now that the hissy fit is finally over, I frogged what was left of it, reswatched and started again. This is what the cardigan looks like now:

Pickadilly, circa April 2012

The sleeves are now one inch narrower than last time, so while it might not look that different, the sleeves feel more fitted and I’m happier with how it’s looking. While the sleeves are a bit more fitted, there’s still an issue of fabric bunching under my armpit. I know I need a some ease around the armpits so I can move my arms around without fear of tearing the fabric, but I think the armholes need to be a little less deep. So, I’ll be wading into the shallows of the frog pond to make the yoke a little shorter.

Frogging this time round won’t be as painful as before, as I’m knitting the sleeves before the body rather than the other way around. It’s a lesson I learnt last time; issues with shaping the body can be fixed without frogging, but issues with the tops of the sleeves will generally mean frogging the yoke. I’d rather not have to rip back my knitting, but as there’s some trial and error in getting the fit right, it’s pretty much an inevitability.

Something which has crossed my mind a couple of times is whether it’s worth retrying this pattern. After all, it’s a project that made me feel so frustrated that I had to put it aside and not look at it for a year. Even with that time and frustration I still like the cardigan, want to make it and want to wear it. There’s no doubt that I’m being at least a little bit stubborn about not giving up, but if I want the final product, then there’s some logic to battling on for at least a little longer.

Faux FO

Over the Christmas break, I borrowed my sister’s Manu and added pockets to it. It was one of those projects that wasn’t particularly involved, but it was one where I got to a certain point and thought ‘oh, I can’t be bothered with this right now’ and left it for a week (or two or three).

The sticking point was seaming the sides of the pocket flaps to the cardigan. It wasn’t a difficult job, I just couldn’t be bothered dealing with the rigmarole of getting the pockets lined up. Once I got my motivation back, otherwise known as ‘I’m going to see my sister in a couple of days so I’d better get a move on’, it didn’t take long to do at all.

My opinion of the pockets is not relevant, given it’s my sister’s cardigan, but I’m going to give it anyway. Sadly, I think they muck up the line of the cardigan, and detract from its nice simple lines and details. When I have my hands in the pockets it doesn’t look too bad:

hands in pockets

But the pockets sans hands don’t really appeal to me at all.

pockets san hands

A lot of this has to to with the yarn I used. Pear Tree 8ply is 100% wool and doesn’t have much drape. A drapey yarn is recommended in the pattern. While the more ‘structured’ yarn, for want of a better adjective, worked well for the cardigan itself, it just doesn’t suit the pockets that well. It bulges where a yarn with more drape wouldn’t.

I am a bit disappointed, though not surprised, by the outcome. However, my Mum reports that she often sees my sister wearing it, so if the recipient is happy, then I am happy. Mostly.

Unsecret Squirrel


Manu by Kate Davies
Around 700g Pear Tree 8 ply, grey
3.5mm, 3.75mm and 4.5mm needles
Modifications: Lengthened the sleeves and the body, mirrored the pleats

Start: July 2011
Finish (sort of): September 2011
Ravelled: here

It’s been over a month since finishing it, but I gave it to my little sister only recently. When she unwrapped her cardi she cheekily exclaimed ‘about time!’, as she’s been asking (in the form of whinging) for a jumper or cardigan from me for a while. As soon as it was unwrapped, she put it straight on and seemed pretty happy with it. Lucky for her.


The best part of this pattern is the little details; the icord cast on and bind off, the pleats and the sweet icord buttonholes give the cardigan polish. It’s those details that made the acres of stockinette stitch worth it.


There were only three minor modifications that I made to the pattern. The first two were to lengthen the body and sleeves, based on the measurements on a cardigan my sister often wears. The other modification was to mirror half of the pleats, which I did after seeing a few versions on Ravelry with that modification. The cardigan just seems to look more balanced in comparison with the having all the pleats facing the same way. It was lucky that the size I made had an even number of pleats, because I’m not sure how I would have dealt with mirroring an odd number of pleats.


After the little yarn hiccup at the start of the project, it was a joy to work with. Lovely and soft, a few lighter nubs for variation and the fabric had a lovely halo. It looks like I might be able to make something small for myself with the leftovers, but that does little to deal with the nagging feeling that I’ll never be able to get that yarn for such a good deal again.

Even though I’m calling it finished it’s not really. When I gave it to my sister, I mentioned that she could have pockets on it if she wanted. Her response was ‘I like pockets’ which more or less translates to ‘I would really like it if you added pockets to this cardigan, dear sister’. Pockets she will have, but only after I manage to get the cardigan from her. I predict it will be officially finished in July 2023.

Giving up is not really giving up

At what point in a project do you decide to frog? Usually I have no qualms about frogging something and starting again if it’s not right. However, I’m currently in the midst of a project where I have a nagging feeling that perhaps I should completely frog, but I can’t quite bring myself to take the needles out and spend some quality time with my ball winder.

The pattern is Pickadilly. Since starting it in July last year, I’ve had issues the yoke, the waist shaping and the sleeves. It’s such a shame because I was so excited to start on this project, thinking that I’d found the perfect pattern to go with the Grignasco Tango I had in my stash.

I still think the cardigan looks great in the smokey blue tweed. After re-knitting the waist, I think I’ve got it pretty spot on for my body. However, I’m now onto the sleeves and thinking about frogging the lot and trying it again sometime in the future. A few people on Ravelry have mentioned that they have needed to modify the sleeves and I’m no exception. I’m now on my third attempt at the sleeves and even with heaps of decreases, there seems to be too much fabric around the underarms and the sleeves seem too baggy. To me that suggests that there’s issues at the yoke which means a lot of frogging, but it may also just be a side effect of knitting a raglan from the top down.

It pains me to think it might be best to cut my losses and frog the lot. It’s almost a point of pride that I’ll finish a project no matter how long it takes; Matt’s suave sweater is testament to that. But this feels different. As much as I like the idea of the cardigan, I’ve really struggled with sections of the pattern and I’m frustrated with it.

I really must apologise for the tone my posts have been taking of late. While I’m not a particularly cheery person in real life, I try not to be too negative here. Thank you for bearing with me while I vent my spleen a little, I promise you slightly sunnier posts are on their way!

Where are they now? – Tyrolean Cardigan edition

Thank you for the thoughtful comments on the last post. It’s really interesting to read other people’s perspectives on comments, commenting and motivation for blogging. It’s given me a lot to think about.

Changing the subject completely, I’m always interested to see how finished projects fare down the track. Often a project’s blogging life ends soon after the project is finished, which means you don’t know whether the item got much use and what improvements would be made if it was made again. A recent epiphany about a finished project has provided the motivation to start a periodic ‘where are they now?’ series.

My Tyrolean Cardigan was finished about a year ago, but it’s only been worn a handful of times. I decided that the button band was the reason I wasn’t wearing it very often – I wore it to work recently and found I fiddled with it a lot.



The button band was originally worked as in the pattern – seven buttons, with two spaced close together at the top and bottom. In this configuration, the front gaped a little, even though there was enough fabric to cover me. The buttons at the top and bottom were also largely redundant because I wore the cardigan with only the middle buttons done up, to help it nip in at the waist more.

A few potential solutions came to mind, but I ultimately decided to pull out the button band and start again. This time, I added an extra buttonhole and spaced them out more evenly. This required a bit more surgery than anticipated, as the neckband needed to be reknit as well.

I’m pleased to say it’s a lot more wearable now. It was taken for a test drive yesterday and I didn’t fiddle with it at all! Adding the extra buttonhole made all the difference, which is unsurprising given that the body was knit a bit longer than specified in the pattern.

after: – ravelryed here


As for the rest of the garment, I still really like the bobbles, the colour and the button choice. Being a very warm cardigan, it’s coming into its own now we’re on the Winter side of Autumn. Probably most importantly though, the fabric is holding up ok. There’s a bit of pilling under the arms, but as the rest of the cardigan is remaining pretty much pill-free, I’m reasonably satisfied with how it’s wearing.

The ‘where are they now?’ series is unlikely to feature all of my past knits, as not much interesting stuff can be said about a garter stitch scarf. However, I may be able to slip in a few pre-pransellknit knits that might be a bit more interesting…