Monday, January 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Cardigans

Or, "A Lesson in Gauge"

I special ordered Twinkle’s first book right when it came out. I had it in Kingston in 07. I wanted to make the Best Friend Cardigan straight away. It was IMPOSSIBLE to get the yarn. I could not find any of the subs the book suggests, except for Rowan Big Wool which I could not find more than 50g of. I really wanted to make myself one of these little cardigans that are just a little more than a spencer and a little less than a viable jacket.
LB Wool Ease Thick and Quick claims to be a ‘super bulky’ yarn and, despite knowing in my heart of hearts that I did NOT have gauge, I sallied forth thinking I was just adding drape and openness with my inappropriate 15mm circular needles.

What a mess.

Obviously this cardigan is enormous.
The real problem I have with this sweater is the horrible position the pattern’s construction puts you in. Come time for finishing, this pattern's instructions would have you seam at every opportunity. Why, when the book's materials suggestions are so very important to follow, (in terms of yarn at any rate) would the fair MsTwinkle have us buy circular needles and not knit things circularly? Naively, I followed the instructions and knit everything flat. Stupidly, I used the yarn, full ply, to seam with. With such a big gauge all the shaping is visible and any decrease looks like a K10tog or something.

Frankenstein Arms

The cardigan really shouldn't’t have so much seaming in it. Seaming at a big gauge is coo coo and if you didn’t find a nice fluffy yarn to knit this with (something that is really 2.5st/1” with no gaps). it will be like trying to discreetly mattress stitch double yarn overs together.

I made this cardigan again, using the right yarn. The results were shocking. The cardigan produced by Twinkle yarn is a miniature version of this giganto Grandpa Cardi and illustrates, like nothing else I have ever encountered how vitally important gauge swatching is. You must swatch. You must swatch for each stitch pattern. That said, using the correct materials, I still had to make adjustments. link:
I have many tips and gaffs to share.

In the end, I like the grungy look of this. Also it’s lived-in vibe. Do I like these laboured photos of it? Yes. Do I wear it out? No.
This is the same Cardigan.


curlyjenny said...

I know you think the green cardi is a mess, but I think it looks fab on you. Could you find a skein of needlepoint (crossstitch) thread in the same colour and neaten up the seams a little? Sounds like a faff but I really think its a beautiful cardigan.

Michele said...

Wow, can't believe the difference between the two cardis. I can't say I dislike the green cardi - it's kind of nice, actually. the grey is fab.

morgan said...

These are raally nice things to have said. Thanks! ps yes, I think I'm going to reinforce the seams so it's a instantlived in watching cartoons cardigan.

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