30 Days of Knitting: Day 8

Day 8: What’s your most challenging project?

The most challenging project that I’ve worked on so far was a cabled cardigan. (I haven’t done anything really amazingly complicated.)

I love wearing cardigans, so when I bought some really soft synthetic yarn in a beautiful shade of lunar gray I decided to make one for myself. I saw the pattern Velynda by ChicKnits and fell in love~ ♥ I adore the panels of small cables. The pattern isn’t terribly difficult, and I wanted to expand my skills, so I bought it.

First, I didn’t have enough yarn (Bahia by Schoeller+Stahl). I really, really liked it and didn’t want to substitute, but I only had about half as much as I needed. I went back to the shop that I had originally purchased the yarn, but even though they found another skein of it for me I still didn’t have enough. I searched on the internet and placed an order from a webshop, but a few days later they emailed me to tell me they couldn’t fill my order–they didn’t have any of the yarn. I found a second online seller with the yarn, thankfully, but the communication was almost nonexistent and I basically didn’t know the yarn was available until it arrived at my house.

I’m not a very big person, and based on the measurements of the smallest size it seemed likely that I’d need to make the cardigan even smaller. I looked at the instructions and made some calculations, then cast on. Unfortunately, the needles that I started knitting did not cooperate well with the yarn. My stitches were uneven and lumpy; I hated it. And even with the extra modifications, the hem that I started knitting looked pretty big. I ripped everything out and started again, going down a needle size but keeping the same stitches.

Cardigan In Progress

I really love those cables~ They’re so simple.

This time I loved the density of the fabric, and the needles and yarn didn’t cause trouble for me, but when I started decreasing for the waist it was clear that the sweater was not my size. It had been too big before, but now it was too small. Unraveling was a pain–each skein was slightly less than 100 yards, and several weren’t even complete. There were so many ends to wrangle.

I started again, following the instructions exactly instead of making any modifications this time, but there were still several moments where it was necessary to rip back. (..I’m not the best at keep track of rows, even with a counter.)

I didn’t give up. It was pretty frustrating, and there were several times that I had to step away from it for a few days or weeks, but I’m glad I finished it. The resulting sweater is definitely a few sizes too big, but I don’t mind loose sweaters. (I wear my husband’s sweaters all the time.)

Silver Cardigan

I took this picture before I sewed the buttons on. I think my buttons are a little heavy; I plan to reinforce the button bands.

I had a hard time finding the right buttons when all the knitting and weaving in ends and blocking was finally complete, but eventually I spotted some dark mother of pearl buttons from an Etsy seller. They were just the right colour and style for what I wanted. I want to reinforce the button band with ribbon, but it can wait.

I’m really satisfied with this cardigan. I’m looking forward to making more sweaters and cardigans in the future! It’s fun to be wear a cardigan knowing all the hard work I put into the project.