FO: Amiga Cardigan

The Amiga Cardigan and I have a long history together. My notes tell me that I cast on January 21, 2014, but it seems like so much longer because I originally cast on for a bolero with the same yarn. I fell out of love with the first sweater (and all my mods) and ripped out all my work. Life’s too short to knit sweaters you’re never going to wear after all. 

Amiga is a simple stockinette raglan. Knitting the giant Norma Blanket was more complicated than this, but the Amiga is special because it’s the first sweater that I’ve ever finished. I’ve swatched and cast on for others but this is the only one I’ve ever been able to wear. So, I’m happy with it even though it turned out completely different than I thought it would. 

It wasn’t that my swatch lied to me, per say, but that it didn’t have all the information it needed to tell the truth. When I swatched over a year ago, I cast on just enough stitches to measure 4” between a garter stitch border. Then I washed and dried it the same way I would the finished sweater. The stitches evened out but the gauge didn’t change. I even hung and weighted it to see if the fabric would stretch. It didn’t and and I got started. 

After the initial excitement of casting on for THE first sweater again wore off, I worked on it here and there. Somewhere in the middle I bought 2 extra skeins which took some doing since the color had been discontinued. The off and on knitting might have something to do with why the sweater grew or it might not. I’m not really sure. Eventually an overwhelming urge to finish all the things took overand I finally bound off the collar, weave in all the ends, and blocked the sweater 20 months to the day after casting on.

The first sign that the sweater wasn’t the same size was when I pulled it from the soapy water of the sink. It definitely looked longer when I laid it out. I measured to make sure everything was even but I didn’t compare the measurements to the schematic. I know you should, but I didn’t want to know for sure. There was no denying it though when I tried it on. Instead of ending mid back, the sweater hung inches lower. The previously three quarter length sleeves were full length. The carefully placed button holes had moved several inches down to my belly button.

Disappointing? Yes, but I also wanted to make myself a light, flowing sweater with plenty of drape. I ended up doing  just that so I’m not going to complain. Next time, though, I’m knitting a bigger swatch.

The Specs

Pattern: Amiga by Mags Kandis

Yarn: 5 skeins Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool - Thunderstorm

Needles: US 10 (6 mm) circulars 

Dates: January 21, 2014 - August 21, 2015


Smokestack Socks

I’m pretty sure that hidden away in all the math that is knitting there’s a simple equation which reads: give hand knit socks = get hand knit socks. I’ve gotten a few pairs of comfy, well-fitting socks as gifts from one particular knitting friend, and it was past time I equalized the equation. 

Step 1: Buy sock yarn in her favorite colors. I took a chance on Knit Picks Hawthorne and picked up a skein of the Fingering Multi in the Vancouver colorway.

Step 2: Snoop through her Ravelry queue to find out what she likes in a sock. Cables popped up quite a bit which lead me to pick the Smokestack Socks by Tanis Lavallee. The pattern has been in my queue to knit for myself for awhile but I also picked it because of the cables and how easy it looked to modify the stitch count. Just as important was how the pattern looked with variegated yarn which, thanks to Ravelry, was quick to see.

Step 3: Wind the yarn.

Step 4: Actually knit the socks. This is easier written than it was done because of how many times I ripped out. Not the patterns fault at all; it was all me. The Smokestack Socks are written to be knit from the cuff down, but I worked them toe-up as I knit all of my socks. The first ripping came when I found out how small knitting friend’s feet are. The rest of the sock was smooth sailing asides from the moments I tinked back to add the purl ridges or cross a missed cable. 

The second sock was not as forgiving. I cast on, knit the toe, worked the foot, increased for the gusset, turned the heel, and was working the heel flap when I noticed that it was too long. By almost an inch and there’s no fudging that. I measured and my gauge had increased by 1 row/inch; nothing else changed except the speed I was knitting. That’s what I get for rushing. At least I had the company and sympathy of a few knitting buddies when I ripped all the way back to the toe. Thankfully, my gauge cooperated for the second attempt. 

Step 5: Wash the socks. No problems here.

Step 6: Mail the socks. The package arrived over the weekend and I got a photo of the socks on her feet. Social media is pretty awesome like that. All the ripping and re-knitting was worth it because they’re a perfect fit. #knittingwin The equation is equal, and now I get to knit a pair for myself in green. 

The Specs

Pattern: Smokestack Socks by Tanis Lavallee

Yarn: 204 yds Knit Picks Hawthrone - Vancouver (204 yds)

Needles: 2.25 mm circulars

Dates: April 3 - 21, 2015

Full modificaitons listed @Ravelry