Fair Isle Cardigan FO

Yarn: Worsted Weight - Ella Rae Classic/Shepherd Classic/Nature Spun/Sheldridge Farm Soft Touch W4/Briggs and Little Tuffy/Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool
Colours: 14 Assorted Colours (See list at end of Post)
Needles: 5.0, 5.5, 6.0 dpns and same size circulars 40, 60, 80 cm
Start: August 24 Finish: October 28, 2009
Modifications: Mixed Medium Sized Sleeves with Large Sized Body/Adjusted Gauge to Make Chest Measurement Equal to Hip Measurement Thereby Loosing A Line Shaping (See notes below)

And there you have it! Its done. After all the planning to adjust the size and shape it fits. After all the considering and swatching and knitting and ripping and redoing the colours worked out and I couldn't be more pleased!
From the beginning I recognized the A-line shape combined with the sizing of the pattern and the amount of negative ease for those sizes wasn't going to work for me. To be larger around the hips than at the bust I would have had to make the X Large size which would have had the sleeves down around my knees and the shoulders flapping around like wings. So I spent a lot of time both measuring myself and other sweaters I already own and simply staring at the photo of the knit on the model in the magazine. The designer's vision as represented in VK drew me to the pattern in the first place. The problem is, nothing about me, other than gender is similar to the VK model. I needed to interpret the Jonsdottir idea for my body.

I knit medium sized sleeves and a large size body and went for straight tube-like shaping with 1.5 inches negative ease through the bust and almost neutral ease everywhere else. I got this shaping by manipulating gauge rather than stitch count. (I did not want to mess with the colourwork charts!) I did this by using increasingly larger needles and increasingly looser knitting as I worked upwards in the round from hem to yoke. This gave me more stitches per inch around the bottom of the sweater and fewer per inch through the bust. So the knitted fabric at the top is wider with the same number of stitches than at the bottom. As the yoke progressed above the bust towards the neck I did the same thing in reverse using increasingly smaller needles and tighter knitting. Its quite frankly a miracle to me that this worked as well as it did. (Cue choirs of angels singing Hallelujah Chorus)

The sweater is warm but light and not at all bulky. As you can see above there is sufficient ease to move freely. (In the picture I'm wearing it over a fairly thick ribbed cashmere turtleneck.)

Pre zipper installation it weighed 17 ozs. or 482 grams which is about 5 average sized balls of worsted wool yarn.
Before I get into detail about colour I want to mention that for me, the real story with this knit is about ends and scissors. In terms of scissors - unlike with most knits, here they figure pretty prominently in the steeking. As a result, there are very, very few ends to sew in because they all get cut off in the steeking at the centre front where rounds start and finish and all the colour changes occur. Knitting this with two hands, in the round was pure simple fun knitting. I am so glad to have put some effort into developing my continental technique because being able to use it made the colour work easy and fast. It also helped immeasurably with the tension of my floats. As a tight knitter - that alone is invaluable.
Below is the striped swatch I used to both plan before knitting and as my guide once I'd finalized the colours and started onto the sweater. (I swatched using the first sleeve but after knitting it three times I switched to the striped version, using markers to define each patterned section.) With so many colours and charts and me making so many changes I needed something concrete for accurate reference on the fly. This worked very well
I didn't use the specified yarn (Reynold's/JCI Lite Lopi). Instead I shopped the wall of worsted at Romni and with a great deal of help, chose 13 colours I thought would work. In the end, after swatching both the pattern and the the stripes above I did a number of substitutions with yarn I had on hand and added a 14th yarn into the mix with the addition of the almost white colour that surrounds the blue circles in the yoke. The pattern calls for a creamy colour where I knit with the white and a teal blue where I used the more true mid blue colour (A girl has to have clothes that match her eyes after all!)

The colours immediately below were ones I bought for use in the sweater but ultimately left out...
Instead substituting the red shown below for the pink, the soft blue for bright teal blue, dark sage green for apple green and brown for light yellow. Grouped like this it seems screamingly obvious that the original colours I chose were really out of place.
(Hopefully) Lesson, on colour selection and all the other terrific insights I gained through undertaking this knit, learned!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

P.S. In case anyone is interested, here are the gory details on the colours...

Pattern Colour Colour Used in My Version
A Bottle Green Ella Rae Classic col. 125 lot L3138
B Garnet Briggs and Little Tuffy col. "Red"
C Orange Nature Spun "Orange You Glad" lot 021
D Marine Sheldridge Farm W4 Soft Touch "Bottle Green"
E Violet Nature Spun "Lavender Cliffs" col.106W lot 009
F Mustard Shepherd Classic col. 8006 lot 756958
G Dark Grape Nature Spun "Royal Purple" col. N42 lot 048
H Navy Ella Rae Classic col. 30 lot 3013
I Crimson Shepherd Classic col. 8220 lot 752915
J Camel "A" Shepherd Classic col. 8060 lot 752913
K Lapis Blue Sheldridge Farm WF Soft Touch "Misty Blue"
L Rust Galway Heather col. 717 lot 81136
M Hazel Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool "Nature's Brown" col. 126 lot 090401
N Camel "B" Shepherd Classic White (Added colourway for use around blue circle motif in yoke

As ever, thanks so much for dropping by!


Acorn to Oak said...

It looks great! All your planning and hard work paid off! It's awesome! I love how using different sizes of needles worked to adjust the size and shape. Brilliant!

Sandra said...

beautiful! great job, and great explanation of how and why you did what you did.

Brenda said...

Marie, that sweater is one beautiful, fantastic, stupendous
(wait now while I check the thesaurus for more words) piece of work.

I love your colour choices and the pattern with it's yoke-iness and 'striped of sorts' body are just fabulous.

You have the perfect physique for it. It looks wonderful. Wear it with joy and in good health.

LynS said...

Very impressive knitting - you must be delighted with the outcome. It's a victory both for planning and ingenuity in your knitting.

Anonymous said...

The only fitting word that comes to mind is awesome, in the planning, execution, and final piece - and it fits you so perfectly! I bow before you!

Shari said...

I am in absolute awe!

I was excited to finish a pair of socks today, I cannot imagine sticking with and completing such a complex project.

Gorgeous! Wear with pride!

Lupie said...

Just amazing! The fit is great.
I enjoyed following the creation of this beautiful sweater. Thank you.

Stephanie said...

That is a ton of colors! I'm so impressed by this sweater!

Julia said...

Wow! Great job!

Michelle said...

Just gorgeous. A wonderful accomplishment. I'm inspired!

LaurieM said...

Hooray! That's an amazing sweater! The fit is just great. I'm so impressed. Kudos to you and I hope you enjoy wearing it for a long, long time.

I really like that brightness around your shoulders, it brings the eye up.

Tina said...

Great work. Your modifications seem to have all worked out in the end! Bright cardi, just what you need on cold dark winter days! Now, what’s next???

AmericanGypsy said...

Oh my! It's absolutely gorgeous. Great job on the shaping.

donnamac said...

I can't believe two hands created something this beautiful!!! Wish you lived by me so I can take lessons!