4.28.2010

Minimalist Cardigan FO

Its all in the name...
min-i-mal-ist - one who provides a bare minimum of what is necessary."

Pattern: Minimalist Cardigan by Ruthie Nussbaum
Yarn: Moda Dea Washable Wool
Colour: 4461"Maize" Lot:128
Unlike what you see in the photos the colour of the yarn is the same as the one I've used as a highlight throughout this post!
Needles: 6mm Aero straights
Started: February 4, Finished April 27, 2010
Modifications: Worked in Wool rather than Alpaca

"Minimalist" really sums this one up. No shaping, embellishments, buttons or belts. It provides the bare minimum of what is necessary in a knitted cardigan... yarney warmth with sleeves and an open front. - oh and amusing to knit - 'can't forget that!

In fact lets start with that! The tedium of all over seed stitch and how time consuming it could have been was overcome for me by working it in my fledgling Continental technique. If you don't have this in your repertoire I heartily recommend it. The only thing thats hard about it is being patient with yourself long enough to cultivate the skill. I applied it bit by bit on various accommodating projects before using it full time on this knit and that greatly minimized the "pain". As a result I will now look at other patterns in rib or seed or moss stitch less warily - its like opening a door to a new world of potential projects!

Also entertaining for this knitter is the way the two broad panels of flattened stockinette are knit as one with the front panels of the sweater to ultimately flank the front opening and extend up past the shoulders, around the neck forming a handsome stand up collar. The blocked stockinette lies miraculously flat and hangs perfectly on the body - a wonderful visual and textural foil to the bumpy staccato of the neighbouring "seeds". No need for closures or embellishment - remember its just the bare minimum - and it works!

I like the collar at the back. My minimalist ;) hair makes the collar's apparent seamlessness visible, hiding the clever construction. Nice! More practically though it will also keep my neck warm. (Not against outdoor chill so much as the kind that comes from indoor air handling. I can't stand those down drafts of cool, unrelenting "wind" in modern buildings!)
As you might remember I knit this wool yarn at a looser gauge to end up with something akin to the soft, drapey quality the designer intended in recommending Alpaca. That attempt sure worked out. I wish you could feel the drape and hand of this fabric! I used about 850 yards of the Moda Dea yarn or just over 5 balls which brings this knit in at a total cost of less than $50.00 (Remember, there are no buttons or zippers to buy so even the price is minimal on this one!)
As for fit? I would say its "okay". As you can see above the shoulders are a tad wide, ditto the cuffs below. In being a bit large they detract from the intended minimalist aesthetic but only a tad. I'll live.

How does it suit me? Ditto the fit. "Okay".

Amy over at Stash Knit Repeat is posting a 10 part series on "fit". Currently the first and second installments are up and definitely worth checking out if fit is one of your bugaboos! Anyway, in her words, that I read yesterday just after completing this sweater, my Classic Hourglass is not suited to boxy shapes creating a line between the two widest parts of my figure (upper and lower body) while obliterating the view of the narrower bit in between at the waist. Sigh.

But then I have to remember its not supposed to be a "Maximizing Cardigan". Its "Minimalist",  providing the bare minimum - sleeves, a front opening and entertainment for the knitter. Check, check and check. I should be happy with this one and in fact I am.

Thanks for dropping by to review my little FO with me today!

P.S. Hey Leslie! in answer to your comment yesterday re: setting in sleeves... after wet blocking the pieces flat to the measurements cited on the pattern I steam block the curves of the sleeve tops while pinned in place to the pieces of the sweater body letting everything dry completely before moving it. This establishes matching ease on both pieces so when it comes time to stitch things together there's no visible sign of pulling (or pushing!). Rue also commented yesterday on needing to understand how to work with sleeve design...for what its worth I found this VK article very helpful when I was working on understanding how the sleeves would come together for my Olympic Sweater.

10 comments:

Sandra said...

It's really nice. I love the look of seed stitch, I just can't face knitting that much of it...

Acorn to Oak said...

I really like it! It may be minimalist but it's far from plain or boring. The simple details and the wonderful drape and fit of it make it really nice! I like the color too!

elizabeth said...

It looks fabulous, like I knew it would!

morewithles said...

So, so pretty! And thanks for the great seaming tips and the link!!!

Brenda said...

It looks wonderful. Funny about eh sleeve/shoulder fit. I looked fist at the view of the back and thought how perfectly the shoulders fit you. But from the front, they are different. I admire your tenacity with acres of seed stitch and knitting continental style.

LynS said...

I'm so envious of this cardigan - it's so simply elegant, so adaptable, so well-knitted and finished, and such a great colour (about which I'm particularly envious as I would look very ill in this lovely wheaten colour).

And I think the fit is great. The definition of minimalist elegance.

Julia said...

I've always liked that cardigan, and you did a great job! I think it's quite flattering as it is, but could you belt it to get that "hourglass" back? Or a slim fitting shirt underneath?

Rue said...

That collar looks really lovely - and great with your short hair. (Actually, the whole sweater looks lovely - especially the finishing.) Even if you don't end up wearing this one too much, the experience practicing continental knitting sounds like it was well worth the effort.

I do like Amy's idea of wearing a belt with this sweater. A wide-ish belt right at the waist would add some of that nice shaping you wanted.

Lisa R-R said...

Lovely results - all of your advance planning and attention certainly paid off!
Lisa R-R

Stephanie said...

Oh thanks for the Fit to Flatter link... I've been checking back for the second installment but I guess I missed it.

Congrats on the minimalist FO! :) I can sort of tell through the photos that there's quite a bit of drape. It looks nice and squooshy.