Marion Cardigan

I’m so excited to have finished my Marion Cardigan!

I knit this up using an 8ply wool-alpaca blend and 6mm needles.  Despite my swatches turning out absolutely perfectly on gauge, the cardigan is too big.  I found it really hard to figure out my size – is it for my actual bust measurement or the finished bust measurement?  Is negative ease included?  So I suspect that’s where I went wrong.marion-front-pool

I made a couple of changes when knitting the sleeves.  The pattern has you knit a decrease row, knit another 10 or so rows, then repeat about 5 times.  The pattern is for 3/4 sleeves – in order to get them the right length, I had to omit 3 repeats of the 10 knit rows, I just did the decreases.  Lucky too, or the sleeves would have been much longer than full length!

If we don’t talk about the size, I’m actually quite happy with it.  I learned heaps – it was my first time with cables.  There are, of course, a few mistakes, but I’m the only one who will ever notice them, so I figure it’s all good.  If we include my sizing problems… I’m not sure I’ll actually wear this.  I’m considering frogging it and re-knitting it in a smaller size.  I can’t quite handle committing to that process right now, though!marion-buttoning

The cuffs have cute little cables on them, which unfortunately aren’t so cute on my version!  The cable pattern is written with right sides and wrong sides, but as I was knitting in the round on double pointed needles, I was only working the right side.  Needless to say, I forgot all about this until halfway through my second cuff.  So every second row of my cable is the wrong way round.  Woops!  I made the executive decision not to go back and fix it.  This was partially because I couldn’t be bothered, but also because I don’t know how to undo a bind off and get the stitches back on the needles.  It was Christmas day and it just didn’t seem worth the effort of learning how, then unpicking all those stitches.  I hate unpicking on double pointed needles.

One new thing I did try this time around is bamboo double pointed needles.  My wrists have been pretty dodgy since I worked at Coles (a supermarket) on checkouts.  I have a bit of RSI after four and a half years of picking stuff up and twisting it in front of the scanner.  Knitting has been okay, but every now and then my wrists play up and I have to take a break.  What’s the relevance of bamboo needles?  They’re significantly lighter than their metal counterparts (my previous favourites).  My wristiness has been less of a problem since I started using the bamboo dpns.  I’m always a bit paranoid I’m going to snap them, but they’re sturdier than I realised.  Plus, in the grand scheme of things, they’re not actually that expensive, so I can probably just suck up the $9 if that does happen.  I’m really keen now for a set of wood/bamboo interchangeable needles from KnitPro.  My birthday is coming up – maybe I should drop a few hints?marion-grimace

I actually find knitting sleeves on double pointed needles unbearably tedious, even with bamboo needles, so after I’d finished Marion, I decided to learn the magic loop method.  It worked quite well actually, thanks to YouTube!  I started knitting the sock pattern at the back of my knitting reference book, but ended up frogging it because I couldn’t understand the pattern.  What kind of beginners book includes patterns, but doesn’t have all the abbreviations explained somewhere in the book?!  Gah!

I have a couple of projects planned.  I’m super duper keen for a pale pink cardigan.  I was leaning towards Hetty, but I’ve started wondering about the Peacock Eyes cardigan, cropping the length.  I’d also like to try the Andi Satterlund pattern, A Cropped Sweater for Winter – it looks perfect for knitting while listening to lectures.  It’s basic and easily knit, but also really cute with the scallops and colour-blocking!

So much to knit, so little time!

Marion Cardigan Progress

After my success with the Miette Cardigan, I decided to start another cardigan knitting project – I missed having something to occupy my hands.

For practicality reasons, it had to be black.  I wear a black cardigan almost constantly, but a the moment I’ve got two, both originally from the op shop, both acrylic and both falling apart.  Ew.

For the pattern, I was after something cropped, sleeves 3/4 or full length and reasonably plain.  I searched all over Ravelry, but every time came back to Andi Satterlund.  Much as I loved the Hetty cardigan (I’ve been eying it off for ages now), I just couldn’t cope with the idea of doing that lacy pattern in black, of all colours.

I went with the Marion cardigan instead.  It doesn’t excite me quite as much as some of her other designs, but hey, it’s meant to be a boring staple.  I’ll do the Hetty next – but in a nice pretty colour to do her justice!

I originally planned to do it in cotton, to keep it nice and cool, but I couldn’t find black cotton yarn anywhere.  I’m guessing the dye doesn’t take properly to the fibre?  I have no idea.  Anyway, my grandma (she’s knitted constantly for 60 years) came up and I was talking to her about yarn.  I haven’t been able to find an Australian shop I’m happy with.  She told me she orders her yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills – a little scouting around their website and I was sold!

I chose the Alpaca Rich 8ply black yarn from Bendigo (60% alpaca, 40% wool).  The balls are 200g, so I only needed two.  This made me nervous – surely two wouldn’t be enough!  (I’ve knit the whole body and started the neck bands – and I’ve still got a tiny bit left of the first ball.  There is no way I’ll go anywhere close to using all the yarn!)

The process of knitting this up has been really enjoyable.  Especially in the picture above – Kyle and I went camping for a few days at Moonee Beach, just north of Coffs Harbour.  It was nice to just chill by the water with some knitting.  It was a very relaxing few days!marion-moonee-beach

I learned a heap knitting Miette, but then this is constructed differently (set in sleeves, V-neck), so I’ve learned a whole lot more.  Most of my knitting for both has involved a lot of following the pattern without understanding what’s happening and then later having an “A-ha!” moment when I figure it out.

Cables are something very new for me.  A YouTube video or two and I was on my way.

I’m wondering about the pattern though.  I’ve been writing out almost every row for myself, especially the bits where it has you repeat rows 1-5, 10 more times, using the cable chart at two different points per row.  It’s painful and time consuming to write out, but I can’t figure out how else you could possibly keep track of where you’re up to!

I’ve only made one major mistake – coming down one side of the V-neck I accidentally got my cable pattern switched and knitted the wrong side of the cable on the right side of the cardigan.  So I had to rip out about 5 inches.  That hurt.marion-progress

I knit a lot of this while listening to lectures in my study week before exams.  It’s amazing how much better I can concentrate on the lecture when I’m knitting!  Now that holidays have started, I’m knitting in front of NCIS on DVD.  It’s much more fun, but I’m finding I don’t want to go outside.  This is a problem.