Saturday, December 22, 2007

Simplicity

When did you first learn to knit? And why?
Back in 2005, I wanted a wrap sweater. I have long arms and a long-ish torso, and could not for the life of me find a wrap sweater that fits. On one fateful Saturday in WalMart, I picked up their "Teach yourself to knit" kit and that marked the beginning of a new obsession. After a weekend of casting on and binding off, I picked up the Stitch'n'Bitch Nation book and knit my first sweater - the Lucky Clover Wrap. Ever since then, I've knit several sweaters -- cabled ones, simple raglans, boleros, and jackets.
Yet despite all that knitting, I have come to realize that the ones that I wear again and again, are the simple sweaters. Take for example, my Thermal. I wear it with a tank top underneath, or a 3/4 length shirt, and when the weather started getting a little colder, a long sleeved shirt. And my Raspy, a simple stockinette raglan that has seen numerous wears. And so when that Phildar Tendences 2007 issue arrived at my doorstep, this immediately caught my eye. But I really wanted to knit with Rowanspun 4ply - despite its slubby texture, and so I forged ahead.

Pattern: Phildar Tendences Printemps'07 Cardigan #18, Sz 34/36
Materials: 8 skeins (with lots leftover for seaming), 0 mm and 2.5mm needles, 3 3/4" pearl buttonsĀ 
Notes: The pattern asks you to knit 8 pieces separately but I cheated. I knit the two front pieces and the back piece in one piece to the armhole, and continued separately. I added an extra stitch in the seam line to visually separate the front from the back, and also kept the beginning and edge of the rows with a selvedge stitch for easier seaming later on. Short-row shoulders, with a 3-needle bind off. The two front ribbed edges were attached to the front pieces using a crochet slip stitch (Note the slight puckering on one of the front edges), and the sleeves were knit the round.
The cardigan has 3 columns of stockinette detail in the fronts on a reverse stockinette background, so basically I would knit in the round in stockinette and just flip it inside out when I needed to seam. The collar was attached using simple backstitching.
(shown here: The knit column on the waist, and the decorative knit columns on the front)
(shown here: the right sleeve seam and the collar to body seam)

Now if you followed the pattern like I did for the buttonholes, that button size mentioned in the pattern will NEVER fit through the holes. Like, NEVER. So I settled for 3 el-cheapo 3/4" buttons from Joann's instead. Does the job if you ask me.

In the end, I like my yarn substitution. Wet-blocking Rowanspun really smoothed out the slubbiness and evened out my stitches, and I can predict many many wears in the future already.

And because I just totally raved about simple designs, I will now bite my own tongue and show you this.

(shown here: Fair isle swatch for my first Fair Isle Pullover)

It's a hefty swatch. I'm having a hard time deciding which shade of grey to go with the yellow. The yarn is Harrisville New England Shetland: Cornsilk for the yellow, and Charcoal --> Dove Grey --> Suede (darkest to lightest). I am planning a simple shapeless potato sack pullover, something to lounge in for the cold weather, but in a bold brocade-ish pattern. Feel free to chime in and give me your two cents. All suggestions welcome.

And oh, in case you were wondering, I did get that pair of crochet slippers from my friend. He done good, y'all. The darn thing fits!

(pink feet make me happy)

18 Comments:

Blogger Allegra said...

The Phildar Cardi is absolutely gorgeous! Congrats!

10:40 PM  
Blogger grumperina said...

Good move with knitting in the round, then turning inside out for the purl effect! Gorgeous sweater!

It seems to me that the darker shades of gray work better with the yellow... certainly not the lightest one at the bottom - not enough contrast.

4:58 AM  
Blogger Maryse said...

Your Phildar Cardi is beautiful, simple but very flattering! You must be very happy with it! I'm also knitting Thermal. I hope it will fit and that I can wear it a lot too! Many knitters told me they love their Thermal too!

6:52 AM  
Anonymous tukats said...

The Phildar cardi is to die for! So professional looking. And as for the shade of gray, I like the darkest one best from what I can see in the photo. Merry Christmas!

7:29 AM  
Blogger Lily said...

WOW Winnie, your Phildar cardi simply gorgeous. I would wear it alot if it's mine :) As for the shade of gray, I like the darkest best, but then again, it's up to you.

8:50 AM  
Blogger dlittlegarden said...

Oh, that Phildar sweater is so gorgeous! Lovely, understated yarn choice.

As for the brocade, I personally like the darkest grey in combination with the Cornsilk. They seem most balanced in terms of color saturation.

9:09 AM  
Blogger a.bumblingbee said...

Beautiful! I like the charcoal, myself. :)

9:13 AM  
Blogger mames said...

funny you mention the lucky clover wrap, i found your blog because of that project and have read it ever since. your latest pieces display the same beautiful knitting and your wonderful sense for pattern choices. i do like the darker grey with the yellow, cannot wait to see that one completed.

7:35 AM  
Blogger yaiAnn said...

The cardi is fab! As for the greys.. I like them all. But if you want a big contrast, definitely go with the darker ones like Kathy said. But I kind of like the light one because it's subtle and it makes you look twice. Tough decision!

8:55 PM  
Blogger Julia (MindofWinter) said...

That's a lovely cardigan, Winnie. Simple is often best, I agree. For the fair isle I vote for the dove grey. It shows the contrast without being too stark. If you aren't finding one that works for you, maybe the yellow should be switched out. Sometimes I hang on to a shade because I like it in and of itself, when in actuality it doesn't integrate well. Personally, I like the yellow, but maybe it isn't creating the effect you want? The crochet slippers are awesome. I've eyed those for a long time, too!

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your knits! Wonderful choice of pattern and yarns. I agree that simple is most wearable. Ditto on shade of grey - the dark or medium ones have more contrast. Congrats! Can't wait to see more of your knits.
- E

1:06 PM  
Blogger Aim said...

Wow, I always love your sweaters! You crank out the best work :) In spite of your glitches (which I would never know about if you didn't point them out)!!!
And, charcoal is my choice too! Awesome!

4:33 PM  
Blogger rubyredruca said...

Looks beautiful! I like heavy contrasts, so I like the medium to dark grey for the swatch. I'd lean towards the medium.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Moni said...

Lucky Clover Wrap was your first sweater?!? I'm impressed! I remember when you knit that!

1:35 PM  
Blogger Jade said...

Gorgeous Phildar cardigan!

I am leaning against the charcoal with the yellow! ;-)

8:14 AM  
Blogger loopylulu said...

That's a beautiful phildar sweater. I echo the sentiment that simpler tends to be more wearable of course, sometimes you just want to challenge yourself with the cables and bobbles galore.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous eca said...

i say the middle gray... the top looks too much like a bumble bee an the bottom doesn't have enough contrast to be visually pleasing... at least to me =)

11:55 AM  
Blogger The Happy College Knitter said...

I love that sweater, it is absolutely gorgeous on you! I totally support knitting in the round on sweaters like that, some seaming is just plain unnecessary! :)

8:42 PM  

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