Mom's Cardi FO

Pattern: Made it Up with Mom (with "help" from EZ!)
Yarn: Every Bit of 5 Balls Ella Rae Classic Worsted
Colour: Red Heather #106
Source Passionknit
Needle: 4.5mm Addi Turbo Circular
Start: January 2011 as Mom became ill Finish: May 2012 - 5 months after her passing

This is a most unusual project -a "once in a lifetime" kind of a thing...its foundation being the bottom third of the last needlework project my mom stitched before she died.

I got her started on it January 2011 as her final struggle began. At the time we had no idea what lay ahead.

Mom's project was a bottom up seamless EZ percentage system cardigan. Her only plan beyond selecting the yarn was, using her petite, measurements to plan a boxy shape with false side seams and a hem around the bottom.  Her gauge was tight but consistent she was a slooooow and careful knitter. She loved the Addi Turbo I got her - not for its enabling her to speed up but because it was "so easy on the hands!".

She made good progress for a while, setting it aside for the summer when she was feeling good enough to and get out and enjoy the nice weather. The sweater awaited finishing in fall - or so we all thought. Ignorance really is bliss you know!

Quite unexpectedly in early September she was hospitalized for a couple of weeks. As I sat with her each day during her stay I would get the knitting out of the drawer by her bed and encourage her to work a row or two. By the time she was discharged she was feeling much better although the Addi took a bit of a beating when it the bedside drawer slammed and dented one of its tips. :(

That work the sweater received in the hospital was essentially the last she put into it.  As the weeks went by between then and Christmas when she passed away I would see the WIP sitting in its basket by her chair, recognizing there was little hope she'd finish it, wondering what I'd ultimately do with it.

A few weeks after the funeral I suddenly felt I needed to finish it. But how? The challenges...
  • Mom had yarn and was knitting for herself, a "petite". I would be knitting for myself - NOT a petite and without additional yarn!
  • I had limited yarn with which to work and wanted to finish with the materials we purchased together.
  • Her gauge was 7 sts/inch mine was 5 per inch and I wanted to use the poor hospital dented Addi 
  • I wanted to keep every stitch she knit so I couldn't rip back to a more convenient location to make necessary adjustments for either style or fit

What to do, what to do?

At this point I consulted any number of knitting friends and family.  'So many great ideas! 'So much enthusiasm for solving my little design dilemma. (non knitters universally held one of two positions on the task... throw it out or keep it unfinished in a bag.)

As you'll see below, here's what I did...

At the point to which Mom knit (marked with an arrow - just under the bust), introduced an eyelet panel in which I hid almost 30 stitches worth of necessary increases. As you can see above the band even that wasn't enough and I had to throw in a few more further up!

To save yarn...3/4 sleeves knit in the round and as narrow as possible.
To create a sense of an overall design idea, incorporate the eyelet detail from the panel beneath the bust into the cuffs and at the yoke.

Tie the neck edge and bottom edges together visually by leaving the original hem to function as a rolled edge and cast off the neck edge to match.
At the front no buttons or clasps - not enough wool or flexibility in sizing to make that work so bridged the rolled collar and hem with a rolled garter band down each side of the fronts.
So without capitulating on any self imposed restrictions, I got the thing done and as a bonus I can and will wear it - in fact I already have!  

I'm pleased with how the added design elements enhance the piece and I adore the shaping and detail around the yoke and collar.
You'll see in coming days this wasn't the only "tidying up of loose ends" I did with regards to Mom's knitting basket but its the first project I tackled and definitely the only one in which we were genuine collaborators. We did a good job of it I think!

Next up, another sweater, again a an odd project, also impacted by Mom's illness but this one's all on my own and has positive ease to spare! 'Hope to see you then...thanks for dropping by today!


Anna said...

that is really pretty and so clever of you to figure out how to make the changes without having to rip back at all. It looks great on you and I'm glad you'll be using it, all that work deserves to be seen.

Sandra said...

what a great project - and with the remembrances knitted into it, it will be a treasured keepsake.
Lucky you!

Lorraine said...

How amazing. I'm sure your mom would be happy you finished it, and are now going to wear it.

It looks lovely on you.

Mary Keenan said...

This is a beautiful piece even without considering all the work and meaning that's in it - I so admire you for finding a way to incorporate your mom's work into something that will keep close to you the memory of those special times you spent together on it!

Brendaknits said...

Marie - how clever uou are. The sweater is beautiful! I love the un-hemmed hem and the eyelet features everywhere. Your Mom would have loved it, I'm sure.

julia in KW said...

amazing sweater...wonderful story to go with it...a treasure!

Lara said...

I love it and the journey to it's completion. Not to mention that it looks lovely on you. :)