Saturday, June 15, 2013

Lovely Orkney Cardigan, Part 1

First of all, I love the colors in Orkney. The colors of Rowan Felted Tweed yarns are so well coordinated that any combination of the muted hues seems to be pleasant and beautiful. I also love the clean front edge without button bands. Since the magazine came out, I was in love with Orkney.

One thing I did not like about the design was its instruction, written to knit pieces in flat, back and forth. Like many knitters, I dislike knitting Fair Isle designs flat. I decided to add steeks to bodice and sleeves. Yes, sleeves. Since knitting in circle with small circumference is not my forte and I have tension issues, I decided to knit two sleeves together with steeks added between them.

So, I began knitting sleeves as I often knit them first as a swatch alternative. I was lucky this time and stitch gauge was spot on. My row gauge seemed okay as well. I knitted two cuffs flat first so that steeks won’t show at the cuff edges, and placed them together on a circular needle with eight-stitch steeks added. It so turned out I could have used six- or four-stitch steeks since there are edge stitches. Instead of following the pattern instruction in words, I followed the chart. As I could not see the line for the size M clearly in it, I ended up with having six extra stitches, three on each end, for size M. In order to accommodate this addition, I increased the armhole depth somewhat.

Fronts and beck bodices were also knitted together with an eight-stitch steek added between the fronts (this should have been a four-stitch steek so as not to have too much fabric at front edges). I cast on 248 stitches for the ribbed edge and knit: k3, k2 p2, repeat * to , k3 (the first and the last stitches are edge stitches). On row 1 of the Fair Isle section, add two stitches to front bodices and one stitch to the back bodice, with the total of 253 stitches for bodice. I placed markers after 65th and 188th stitches to indicate the side seams. Also I marked the center back stitch to aid anchoring the motif. When the Fair Isle chart was inspected, I noticed that the center back is not necessarily the middle of each motif. I shifted motifs as necessary to remedy this defect. I decided to make the cardigan longer and chose to knit 35 cm before armhole shaping began. Also, the armhole was lengthened to 21 cm.

Here are bodice, left, and sleeves before cutting steeks. 

Sleeves alone.

And after sleeves were put together.

I found the sleeves to be just right in tightness and the cuffs are nice and snug.  Some knitters mentioned sleeves being tight and I am wondering if it was due to knitting them in round in small circumference. 

I just adore the colors of the garments!  Now, the next post will be about a disaster and how I overcame it.

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