Wednesday, May 23, 2018

FO: Recoleta Cardigan

It feels like ages since I last posted a finished sweater! It's actually been since November, so really not that long, but compared to my usual turn out it just feels like a while. After finishing all my obligatory knitting for Christmas and whatnot, I had the itch to make a slightly complex sweater. I had a major case of start-itis at the end of January (which I talked about here) and this sweater was my most tempting project from that bout (none of the other things are finished yet, lol). Anyway I've had this planned for years, so I'm thrilled to finally have it to wear.
This is the Recoleta pattern by Joji Locatelli. I've admired it for a few years now and finally decided to bite the bullet. I've only done a few sweaters with multiple charts to follow, so it felt a bit intimidating at first. In reality this wasn't bad at all. I pulled out my grandma's old cross stitch magnet board for the charts and stacked them one above the other, then carried a piece of paper to cover over what I've already done and show me each line with magnets as I went. I also made sure to make my row with small sticky notes as well in case things moved around in my bag (which they did frequently). With those guides to help me, the charts were no problem to follow. The back lace is certainly the more impressive looking area. I love this lace pattern and I really enjoyed knitting it. In fact I liked it so much that I carried it all the way to the hem instead of changing to ribbing across that section like the pattern calls for. I am very happy with this choice and the lace pattern is nice and stretchy so it's a perfect substitute (and much prettier).
And a closer look at that lovely lace :) I just love the texture overall and that's very difficult to show in a photo - it has a great variation of depth in the lace from the knits and purls. This yarn really helped the stitch pattern pop out. I used Cascade Venezia Worsted, a lovely 70% merino wool 30% silk blend. The yarn has a very nice shine and it is quite warm - that might not be what I was hoping for with living in Florida, but it will be good in winter, lol. The yarn is smooth and soft and it was lovely to knit with. I grabbed 6 skeins of the Van Dyke Brown colorway from Craftsy for a great price back in 2015 specifically for this sweater and I used 5.5 skeins so it all worked out very well.
And here you get a glimpse of the other star of this show - the shawl collar :) The collar is the same thickness down the front and around the back, giving a nice bunch up at the back of the neck. This is actually where you start knitting the sweater! The construction was really neat - you use a provisional cast on, knit a rectangle of the collar in one direction, then take out your cast on and knit the same in the other direction, then you pick up stitches between the two and grow from there into a cardigan. Magic!
I love the nice wide panels of the lace down the front. Again - look at that texture - love it! I went for a more fitted look on this but still long and long sleeved. A lot of the samples show more overlap of the lace panels on the front, and I could make them overlap more with a shawl pin or something, but I wanted to go for the more open front look I've seen so much lately and I'm happy with how it turned out.
My only niggle about the fit is in the shoulders. I've only made 1 other raglan sweater, so I didn't really know any changes I would need to make ahead of time and you really can't tell until the sleeves are on and then it's done. The raglan "seams" are a smidge too tight, so when I put the sweater on I have to put both arms in and then give an extra tug at the shoulder on each side to make it sit right. I see in these photos I still didn't get it sitting in the right place :/ I made a size Large all over except the sleeves themselves. I knitted almost one complete sleeve before trying it on and deciding it was too tight and I wouldn't be happy with the fit. So I ripped that out and added more stitches at the underarm - I believe I did XL instead of L for the stitch count and it all worked great. Now the sleeves are comfy but the raglan is still tight. I think I just needed a touch more length on the raglan seam. Ah, well. It's not that big a deal - just something to think about next time I come across this construction.
Overall I really love this sweater. I love the style, love the lace, love the yarn. If only I could reasonably expect to wear it soon, but I will get to sometime. Interestingly I made this hoping it would take a good chunk of time to complete and I made it in 3 months, so technically it was more time than I usually do given that it's in worsted weight yarn, but still given the more complex multiple charts situation it took a little time. All in all a lovely way to spend my random spare time, wouldn't you say? Now that this is finished I can focus on my other projects started in January before letting myself start another sweater :)

Summary:
Yarn: 5.52 skeins of Cascade Venezia Worsted in Van Dyke Brown - $40.00
Pattern: Recoleta by Joji Locatelli
Time: 3 months

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