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.Cardigan For Amanda.

This was an extempore project: one that I had not planned to knit, but I wanted to make something for our friends' baby girl since we didn't want to go for a visit empty handed. I thought I picked an easy and quick knit (only garter stitch) but it turned out to be a much more complicated and arduous project than anticipated.

I have knitted a lot of Drops design patterns, so I'm used to the way they write their instructions: short and concise without anything extra. But these instructions were very undetailed and cursory, and in some places downright inconsistent, even contradictory.

First of all: construction. You start knitting at the bottom of front piece on the right hand side increasing for the sleeve as you go. Then you make the left side similarly, put those two pieces together and knit the back from neck down. By the time you have reached the ribbing on the bottom edge of the back, the piece starts to feel quite big on your lap and the yarns get tangled around the sleeves.

My solution if I would knit this again: I would either cast on for the both sides and the back and knit them together until the sleeve increases, and after that continue with the front sides separately, join in the neck and graft the pieces together along the back when the sleeves are ready. Or I would knit the front pieces separately as instructed and knit the back as a separate piece as well, reverse the instructions and start the back from the bottom edge and come up to the top of the shoulder, and  then graft the pieces together along shoulders and the top of the sleeves.

The first inconsistency of the pattern came when starting the neck decreases for the first side of the front. The instructions say: "Now slip the first 4-5-6-6 (7-8) sts at beg of row from RS on 1 stitch holder for neck (work sts before slipping them on holder to avoid cutting the yarn)." Quite straightforward yes, BUT what about the other yarn (for the other colored stripe)? What should you do with it? If you just continue knitting you will soon notice the other yarn is in the wrong place, at the far edge of the fabric, and not at the edge of the neck where you are knitting. Should you cut it then? I solved this by floating the yarn, as in stranded fair-isle knitting, and it worked out just fine.

The same problem reappeared when making the sleeve increases for the left side of the front, when you have to make the increases or actually cast on new stitches at the end of the WS rows and again when binding off stitches of the sleeves on the back. It just doesn't work well with the stripes. There isn't any suggestions on the cast on method either, I used backward loop floating the other yarn behind every new stitch. In my opinion these things should be explained better in the instructions, so that you don't have to spend a lot of time trying to figure them out for yourself and making a mess.

As with many of the Drops instructions you have to make a lot of calculations yourself. They just tell you to decrease or increase a number of stitches evenly. For example decreasing 9 stitches evenly to get from 38 stitches on your needles to 29 or increasing 20 stitches to get from 56 stitches to 76. You have to work out for yourself how many stitches to knit between the decreases or increases to make it even. The same thing with the buttonholes: they just tell you to make 4 or 5 buttonholes, yes, evenly

Anyway, the cardigan is now finished, even though it took a lot more effort than I had planned: Friday night, whole Saturday and Sunday night when I had expected to be ready before Saturday evening. I'm no expert on baby sizes, but it feels a bit big for a 7 month old. Good thing is that babies grow fast and rather a tad too big than too small. The garter stitch makes the fabric warm and thick, as well as stretchy so I hope baby-Amanda will  get to use it for many months to come. I added one more button hole than instructed to get them nicely and evenly distributed.

This was quite nice stash buster project as well. I used about 325 grams and 474 meters of yarn (2.5 skeins of Novita Isoveli and 1.5 skeins of Garnstudio Drops Karisma) from my stash. The stripes could easily be done with more than one color to get rid off all the bits and pieces and other leftover yarns.


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