Madewell was, well, Made Well

It’s finished.  After 11 months on my needles, of picking it up, putting it down for weeks, then the flurry of ribbing at the end, my Madewell Cardigan is finished.

And I love it.

My only really modification came right at the end.  The collar involved picking up over 300 stitches and ribbing for 28 rows. I was thrilled to ‘Bind off as established’ as called for the pattern but as soon as I tried it on, I wasn’t happy with it.  ‘If only I did a stretchy bind-off’ I thought.  Hoping it would block okay, I washed and blocked and crossed my fingers.  Tried it on after and still not happy.  So what do I do? Because I’m apparently insane, I took out the bind off edge, carefully putting the now live stitches back on my cable needle, and bound off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind off.  This process must have taken about 3-4 hours, removing, putting live stitches back on, and re-casting off all with black fingering weight yarn, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’m SO much happier with the finished edging, and I love my new cardigan to bits.

Pattern: Madewell by Joji Locatelli
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Solids, black; the elbow patches were from bits and bobs of leftover Manos del Uruguay Alegría.

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Making Madewell Progress

Since March last year, I’ve been slowly but surely working on a cardigan: Madewell by Joji Locatelli.  It’s a fingering weight project, and because I like, ahem, challenges, I decided to make it with black yarn.  When I’m working on it around others, like at a LYS, people often share their own black sock yarn horror stories (“Never again” is often exclaimed), and on a few occasions I’ve been asked why am I punishing myself. Black sock weight yarn can be a wee bit hard on the eyes. Challenges aside, I love it, and with my wardrobe, a black cardigan will be worn time and time again, hence my colour choice.

This has been a great project to pick up after having put it down for weeks at a time. It’s largely stockinette, lots of knits and purls. Because I no longer feel the urgency of holiday knitting, I’ve been able to dedicate more time towards this project. I was nearing the end of the body, no more shaping increases or decreases, so the knits and purls proved to be great mindless knitting, working on a row or two while watching TV or reading on my e-reader.

I feel like I’ve actually made some progress with it this weekend, finishing the bottom ribbing and starting working on the sleeve.  This is my first experience with raglan sleeves, and I must say I love it. You don’t need to worry about setting in and seeming. The stitches came off the holder, onto a 16″ circular needle and away I knit in the round. Once again, being all stockinette, it’s proving to be fantastic for mindless knitting.

One whimsical feature of this sweater are the elbow patches, a great way to use up a few metres of that extra sock yarn everyone has in their stash.  I had three colours of Manos Del Uruguay that worked well together, so after binding off the main body, I took a break and knit up one elbow patch. They add a great pop of colour to this staple sweater.

Can’t wait to get back to knitting and hopefully in the coming weeks, I’ll be able to show off the finished cardigan!

My Great-Grandmother Was A Knitter

When I first started with my knitting obsession hobby, my mother would watch me work and comment,

“I know you didn’t get this from me. The knitting gene must skip a few generations. You’ve inherited this from Granny.”

My great-grandmother was a knitter. She was a knitting instructor many years ago in England, on top of raising eight children.  One of those kids was my beloved Grandad, and if there’s truth to the stories I’ve heard through the years of his, let’s say rambunctious nature, as a child, then my Granny certainly had her hands full!

Even though she lived on the other side of the Atlantic, my great-grandmother made a few pieces for me when I was a kid, notably my sister and I were adorable in matching sweaters with fruit on the front of them.

After one visit to England in the mid-1990s, my grandparents returned home with a blue toned sweater, saying Granny made it, but it wasn’t the right size for her. I can’t remember how, but the sweater became mine. I’ve had it for 20 years, and on particularly cool days, I break this sweater out and feel comforted not only by its warmth, but also by the skill in each stitch, somehow making me feel connected to the great-grandmother I was lucky enough to meet and with whom I share a passion and a craft.

Me wearing my Granny sweater, with 20 years between pictures.

 

My Favourite Finished Object

Through the month of September, the blog Knitting in Wonderland has created the 30 Day Challenge: every day, there’s a new question or theme to explore.  If you’re a frequent reader of my blog, then you’ll know sometimes I struggle for inspiration for post topics, and you’ll also know that I’m not the best at sticking to a schedule. Today is a wonderful case in point: it’s Tuesday, and I try to get a new post up every Monday.  When I learned of the 30 Day Challenge, I knew that it wasn’t something I could faithfully carry through, but Meggiewes has come up with some insightful questions, and I’m using a few of her questions to write about.

Today’s question has truly got me thinking: What is your favorite piece that you’ve knit?

It’s hard to pick just one, and looking through my project gallery reminds me a) of how much I’ve knit over five years, b) how varied my projects are, and c) how much I’ve grown as a knitter.

I think I’m the most proud of the sweater I made for my father. It was four months in the making, one of the largest projects I’ve ever completed, and it is so loved. My father knew how much time was invested in this project, which increased his overall appreciation for it, and he wears it all the time. On the knitworthy scale, my father ranks pretty darn high. It tried my patience at times, but I loved this finished sweater, and I would knit another like this for my beloved dad in a heartbeat.

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Basking in the glow of his glorious sweater

Speaking of sweaters, I LOVE my Midwinter’s Cardigan. It’s a go-to sweater when the weather turns cold; it’s warm and elegantly simple.

PicMonkey Collage

This past weekend was a tad cold, considering it was the ‘last long weekend of the summer.’ Yesterday was Labour Day, a statutory holiday in Canada, so I enjoyed a leisurely morning on my back deck, reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn while sipping my first of many cups of coffee. Because it was a touch on the chilly side, I grabbed my Chateau Shawl. It is the perfect sweater for wrapping yourself up in and staving off cold weather. The yarn was purchased at a LYS with a gift certificate from my Grandma, increasing the love for this project.

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My favourite, slouchy, comfy Chateau Shawl

As it turns out, this post has also been a showcase of how much my hair has grown in over three years!