Teal. Aqua. Turquoise. Blue-green. Algae. Any color on the wheel that falls between blue and green is a color that sings to me. Maybe it’s growing up on (or very close to) the Pacific Ocean and its moody blues and greens that makes me feel at home and home sick at the same time. Whatever the reason, it’s a color range that is my favorite and I wallow in it – a lot. You may have noticed.
My latest Finished Object is no exception. This project has a long and (kinky) history. I started out with a cardigan pattern that was just what I was looking for but in a sport weight yarn gauge. This yarn is Bulky; Lamb’s Pride Burly Spun (in a discontinued color but it is a monochromatic variegated version of the Tormented Teal) to be precise, and it’s gauge (for me) was 13 stitches over 4″. I had some trouble getting the shaping to adapt to my gauge so went to a different pattern in the right gauge but not the style I wanted. The problem was, I was knitting the whole sweater, all the way to finished and wearing it around the house for two days before deciding it wasn’t what I wanted and ripping it out. Completely.
I settled on a top-down Raglan that was just what I wanted, but after knitting it (all the way to finished) it just didn’t fit right in the neck. I knit it (completely finished) three (count them, 1-2-3) more times, modifying the whole neck and yoke each time before I had just what I wanted. If you’ve been keeping track, that was a total of knitting that sweater from cast-on to finished… six times. More, if you count the times I ripped at the half-way point. Yes, I was knitting with some pretty kinky yarn in the end (I got tired of steaming or washing it straight again) and I must say, I am impressed with how well that Burly Spun stood up to my abuse.
So, what was the end result of my modifications? It turned out to be pretty simple in the end. I learned that you can definitely over-think things. My solution was to knit a typical top-down Raglan cardigan and add a few short-rows to bring the back of the neck up about 1-1/4″ higher. It fits perfectly!
Then I had to have the perfect buttons. Since I’m a button maker the search was short. I went out to my glass studio and made some 🙂 They are 1″ square, made with a base of Steel Blue glass, layered with aqua dichroic glass, dots of opaque aqua glass and a chip of transparent aqua. The joy of this combination is that the Steel Blue develops a pewter (steel?) finish when it’s exposed to oxygen in the kiln. I love the contrast in textures between the cold metal finish, the polished glass, the foil texture of the exposed dichroic, and the soft warmth of the yarn.
The next challenge was to get the Button bands and the buttons sewn on – and the neck lined so it wouldn’t irritate me when I wore it without a turtle-neck. It is a 3-season sweater after all. Since my goal was to have a long wearing sweater that won’t lose shape with wear, and that wouldn’t rub the back of my neck, it’s lucky I’m a sewer. I decided to simply “face” the neck like any sewn garment. I had some hand dyed Pimatex cotton fabric in my stash that was the perfect color and laid the sweater out on my cutting table and traced a facing. Then hand stitched it on. I tried using the same fabric for the button bands (so it would all match, you understand) but that was not successfully to my standards. I went to my favorite button band tutorial for the rest. You can find all the how-to details on how to make the perfect couture button band for a knitted garment on the Knitmore Girls Podcast website here and here.
It is definitely more work that just sewing the buttons on but after all the work to knit something, I like having it done right and the difference in quality is obvious in the finished sweater and how it hangs and wears.
Now to do the next sweater I’ve finished knitting.
Revel in Color!
PS – Am I the only one bothered by the incongruity in my choice of a bulky yarn so I can get instant knitting gratification and then re-making the sweater six times? Have you done this?