The Knitter’s Cardigan (a fun project to knit and even more enjoyable to wear)…
I have been feverishly knitting along to meet my self imposed goal of having my Knitter’s Cardigan completed for this coming Sunday’s Garter and Giggle (at 2pm at MacKenzie Cole’s Coffee here in Saskatoon, SK – yep this is a hint…you will be there?). I have made my goal a reality. I will indeed be sporting my brand new cardigan knit with only a knitter in mind.
I had been searching, for a very long time, for a cardigan that matches my Sewer’s Cardigan. I order the kit from Mary Maxim at some point during the early 1990’s and remembered that the Mary Maxim catalogue had offered a knitter’s version of this sweater. My Sewer’s Cardigan (Ravelry Link) has seen better days but still pleases the seamstress within me whenever I put it on.
It features a drop sleeve design. Both the back and sleeves are knit in a stockinette stitch (*shudder* miles and miles of stockinette is enough to drive anyone batty) that would bore the heck out of any knitter. I avoided boredom by casting them onto my, what was then brand new, Incredible Sweater Machine and accomplished the stitching sans battiness.
I hand stitched the fronts and the neck / button bands by hand knitting. The ribbings are a cable rib that, in my experience, has always been easier to knit on two straights than by manipulating a bed of stitches on the machine. Never mind the fact that my machine can accommodate 100 stitches as opposed to the 300 or so that line the neck line and button bands on this sweater.
I also hand stitched the fronts, which feature (on the Sewer’s Cardigan) thread spools, a tomatoe pin cushion, a measure tape, seamstress scissors, and a Singer Sewing Machine. It is also through experience that I’ve come to conclude that certain techniques are better accomplished on two needles and hand knit rather than machine knit. The colourwork involved on the fronts fell into this category. Some of the smaller bits were duplicate stitched onto the front after all was said and done. It was fabulous!
I wore this sweater often and enjoyed years of comfort. Even though it was knit in Mary Maxim acrylic (the yarns are not terrible considering they are acrylic), it has since begun to show its wear. I had a guinea pig chew holes in parts of it. I have noticed the occasional pilling. It has been snagged. Needless to say, almost 20 years is a long time for a garment to last (this is the plus of acrylic! – it lasts almost forever) and it is now time to update the piece.
I searched high and low for the pattern. I leafed through every magazine and pattern book I own. I re-organized and organized again in order to locate the pattern that originally came with the kit. Alas, my efforts went unrewarded and I put the idea of re-creating this treasure to the back of my mind.
Enter my return to knitting. I’ve always been a fibre enthusiast and enjoy learning new techniques, revisiting past techniques, and creating whatever my whim dictates. Sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc. – they are all welcome in my world. Now that I have a fabulous group of gals and gents to knit away my Sunday afternoons, I have been concentrating on this technique more than any other.
Knitting is my technique of choice these days and this triggered my return to wanting to create an updated Sewer’s Cardi. I recalled that, at the time, there was a sister sweater offered by Mary Maxim called the Knitter’s Cardigan (Ravelry Link). The more I thought about it, the more I wanted this sweater. I began to hunt for both the Knitter’s and Sewer’s Cardi patterns. I did not care if they were the original Mary Maxim offerings. The thought would not leave me.
I began to search everywhere, including Ravelry, for the patterns. I left notes and messages with knitting communities all over the web until, one fine afternoon, I had a reply from a fellow Ravelry knitter (Flickr Photo Page), tolebytobilynn (Ravelry Link). She had secured a job with Mary Maxim (what a lucky gal)! I felt as though I hit the Mother Load here. I began to discuss the wonders of the patterns that I wanted. She did some checking and a few short weeks later I had both patterns in my hands!!!! I was excited.
I set to work immediately on the creation of my Knitter’s Cardi. It is a purely fun knit and a fun garment to wear around town on my casual days and to knitting group on Sunday’s. I have loved every stitch while creating this piece of artwork.
Construction methods (see for Sewer’s Cardi) were accomplished in a similar fashion. I hand knit the ribbing, the neck/button band, and the fronts. The sleeves and back were knit on the machine. The front panels feature knitterly treasures and techniques (a sweater in progress, a ball of yarn, intarsia, fair isle hearts, a diamond lace panel, and scissors). I knit this piece with some Fisherman’s Wool (Lion Brand) that languished in my stash. I grabbed a few other bits of colour and set to work. A few days later I had a cardigan fit for any knitter!
See you on Sunday, Folks…