Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Big Apple Cardigan

I meant to call this one Redwood, because the stitch pattern reminds me of redwood bark. But I finished the sweater on my NYC trip and this sweater is so RED, just like the big apple.

I bought a bag of 10 Frog Tree Yarns Pima Silk and their Cape Waves pattern. Don’t waste your money on the pattern. See that little 100x87 pixel picture?

That’s all you will see until you shell out $7 for the pattern. Then the dealer, usually a small local yarn shop, prints your out the pattern on their printer.  (No, you don't get a pdf, like many pattern e-tailers.)  My LYS used an inkjet printer at less than great resolution. The ink bled when wet; no, I can't print out another one because I bought a hardcopy, not a pdf.

What else bugs me about the pattern?  The one photo doesn't show the entire sweater; there is no schematic, no pattern chart, minimal measurement info and a gauge that was impossible to achieve with the yarn it was written for, even when I went down 3-4 needle sizes.  It wasn’t even until I bought and read the pattern that I realized that the pattern is for a raglan 3/4 sleeved sweater.  The smallest size was over 40" wide and supposedly required 7 balls of yarn.  My sweater is 38" wide and used 9.5 balls of yarn and I used a slightly looser gauge of 24 stitches per 4" instead of the pattern's 26 sts/4".


I redrafted the pattern using lines from the Minimalist Cardigan and my gauge, with set-in sleeves. I did use the knit/purl stitch pattern from the Cape Waves pattern, but that was hardly worth the $7.  There are lots of great knit/purl stitch patterns in stitch dictionaries.  I didn't need this pattern.  Live and learn.

But I do like the sweater and the yarn.  I like Frog Tree Yarns very much overall.  How many other companies produce a mostly cotton yarn with no knots in 10 out of 10 balls?  Not many in my past experience.

Here's the back.

I also learned how to use a crochet cast-on to initiate a tubular cast-on. It’s like magic, only easier.

Crochet cast-on (( n/2) mod 1) + 1 stitch  (see this Lucy Neatby photo tutorial).  E.g. If you need 53 stitches, you will crochet cast-on 27 stitches.  You will always begin and end with a k1 on the right side (RS).  If your pattern calls for an even # of stitches, increase 1 when you switch from ribbing to your pattern stitch.

Row 1: (RS) Then knit 1, yarn over, knit 1, yarn over...k1.

Row 2 and 4: (WS), slip the stitches that were knitted on the prior row (with the yarn in front) and knit the yarn overs.

Row 3: (RS), knit the stitches you slipped on the prior row, slip the ones you had knitted on the prior row (with the yarn in front).  That way, you are always knitting the stitches that face you, slipping the ones that face away from you, and keeping the yarn between the 2 layers while slipping unworked stitches.

Row 5: (RS) knit 1, purl 1, knit 1, purl 1...knit 1

Then knit the rest of your piece.  After you are done, you get to do the fun part, ripping out the foundation chain.  Here I have untied the knot at the end and have pulled the first chain out.
Keep pulling out the chain stitches...
When I yanked out the slipknot at the end, it gathered a bit.
Then I pulled the waste yarn out. The sleeve didn't unravel! The stitches magically begin out of nowhere.  It's magic! Actually, it's topology, which is even better.
After seaming, lightly press the seam with a steam iron from the wrong side over a dowel.  This prevents a seam imprint from showing on the right side.
The sweater does grown downward. A short trip in the dryer shrinks it up again. Or I just roll up the sleeves.  I wore it out to lunch with Connie and Maurizio, home on the plane and discovered I had spilled food on it somewhere in between. 

The Frog Tree Yarns Pima Silk washed wonderfully, with no shrinking, stretching or pilling.  Only a little bit of dye came out in the water and there is no noticeable fading in the sweater.  And there were no knots in 10 out of 10 skeins.  I really appreciated that after working with some other brands that I don't want to name.  LYS Twist Yarns of Intrigue carries it at very good prices.

As a bonus, here's the embossed knit/purl combo stitch pattern.  If you want me to chart it out, you will have to wait until I get over jetlag.

Row 1: k1, p2, k1, k2, k1
Row 2: p1, k2, p1, p2, p1
Row 3: repeat row 1
Row 4: repeat row 2
Row 5: k1, k2, k1, p2, k1
Row 6: p1, p2, p1, k2, p1
Row 7: repeat row 5
Row 8: repeat row 6 

The Flickr photos of the sweater.
Ravelry project notes.

The swatch for my current knitting project.


  1. I love the stitch pattern nearly as much as I love NYC. Close competitors! Enjoy your time in the Big Apple.

  2. Grrr on the pattern, indeed - but your sweater looks great, and the stitch is especially nice.


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