Saturday, September 5, 2015

FO: Emelie Cardigan

This post has been over a year in the making :) I finally finished my Emelie cardigan! (I'm sorry about the lack of detail in the modeled photos - it was so sunny while I got ready that morning, but as soon as I was ready for pictures it was pouring for the rest of the day. Ah, Florida. Also the white shining through the yarn is from the flash on my camera - it's not like that in person).
This is the Emelie pattern by Elin Berglund. I fell in love with the simple but pretty design last year and when I snagged the perfect yarn for a great deal I decided it was meant to be in my life. I started knitting this sweater last August (the 17th according to Ravelry) and at first I did make really good progress for this being my first fingering weight cardigan. Everything moved along until the Christmas crunch started when it was set aside for the first time in favor of gift making. I would pick this up between a few other projects, and I was much better about devoting time to it after Christmas, but my life became so crazed this year that I didn't really want to guilt myself for long standing projects. Knitting is my relaxation activity, so I tried to keep things low stress. Also black fingering weight yarn is not the greatest thing to work with when you can only knit at night. Just sayin'. Anyway, we eventually got there and now I have a sweater :)
This sweater marks a few firsts for me: it's my first time making such a large project with fingering weight yarn as well as my first bottom-up sweater (meaning you start from the hem and work your way to the shoulders). I was nervous about not being able to try it on for length as well as incredibly paranoid about running out of yarn - not a fun combination. I only had exactly the amount of yarn the pattern called for in my size, so I made the sweater just barely to the length of my waistline. I don't really understand how this always happens to me since I do knit a gauge swatch first, but once again I ended up with excess yarn. This sweater only used 2.5 skeins of my 3 skeins of yarn :/ Looks like I could've gone longer, but like I said there was no way to know at the time. Oh well, I'm sure some nice black yarn will come in handy. I just try not to think about it, lol.
The nice thing about this pattern is that it gives you 3 different hem and sleeve length options. I went with the 13" (which is the measurement from the bottom of the armhole to the hem). In truth, I do wish this was a bit longer, but it will still be a great basic as it is. Once I had the body knitted, I made the button bands and neckband so that I could make sure the sleeves would have enough yarn to be even length (again, this was when I was worried I would run out of yarn). To do this, I knitted everything but the sleeves, then weighed the yarn and divided the remainder in half and had planned on using that much for each sleeve. I did not end up needing to do this, but that's how it's done in case anyone is curious, lol. I just kept trying the sleeves on and started the ribbing when they were the length I wanted. This came out at 3/4 length - which is my favorite :)
Here are a few shots were you can actually see the lace detail - I love the little mock cables the design creates - too bad black is so hard to photograph. The pattern is simple but enough to keep the sweater interesting in my opinion, and as a basic black sweater this is just enough detail to go with pretty much anything I want to wear. I used Valley Yarns Charlemont for this project, which is seriously the most luxurious yarn I've ever worked with. It's 60% superwash merino wool, 20% silk, and 20% polyamide which makes for a deliciously soft combination. It's just so smooth and soft I want to rub it all the time. The only downside of this softness is that the yarn does get fuzzy fairly easily, meaning it will pill with wear. It had a light layer of fuzz just from all the handling of knitting the sweater, but this was easily solved with a clothing shaver. Also, having a mannequin made shaving this sweater SO much easier! Also, the above picture is the only one where you can actually see the cute buttons - they are just cheapy plastic ones, but they are faceted and have a trois foil outer edge. FUN STORY: I bought 2 cards of these buttons at Joan's 4th of July sale knowing they would be a possibility for this sweater, but in all the craziness of sale shopping excitement I forgot to look up how many the sweater would need ... and I only bought 8 when I needed 11 :/ I didn't realize this until I was ready to sew the buttons on, and just in case I couldn't find more of the same buttons I didn't want to take that step until I had enough to finish. I mentioned this to a crafty friend at church and she happened to be going to Joann's the next day and offered to pick up another card of the buttons for me! Crafty people are just the nicest. Thanks, Beth and Alex!
As per my usual habit, I stabilized the button bands with rayon petersham ribbon. I seriously love this technique - it makes the sweater feel so sturdy and professional. I ordered this ribbon from Britex months ago just for this sweater. I would also like to note that this is the first sweater I ever did a correct wrap and turn for the short row sleeves. I always ended up with holes in my previous sweaters, so for this one I looked up a tutorial and found out I was doing it wrong. I still have some small holes on the side where I purled the wraps, but it's not nearly as pronounced as my other sweaters, so I call that a win.

This picture is a bit goofy, but I had to include it since this is realistically how the sweater will be worn. I think it looks just as nice open, don't you? I hate how these photos came out as far as the shine of my pale skin through the stitches. I sweater the sweater is not that tight in real life. It actually fits exactly like I wanted :) I think the shine is a combination of my white shirt and the silk in the yarn.
So, here's another goofy hand pose to say that I really love this sweater, and I love even more that I am finally done making it, lol. This pattern is really well written and I may visit it again later on down the road - I will definitely work with this yarn again (if it goes on super sale again, especially the newer kettle dyed variety). I love that I now have a hand knit black and white cardigan in my collection, though I am certainly ready for a bright color. The next one will be much more fun :)

Yarn: 2.53 skeins of Valley Yarns Charlemont in black - $28.33
Pattern: Emelie by Elin Berglund - $6.00
Notions: 1.11 yards of 1" wide Rayon Petersham Ribbon - $3.00, 11 black buttons - $3.00
Time to Make: 1 year (on and off)
Total: $40.33

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