Monday, August 26, 2019

FO: Dahlia Cardigan with LoveCrafts

A very long time ago, I was contacted by (now known as to see about collaborating on a project. I was elated - this is just the thing a knitting blogger hopes to eventual have offered to them. I quickly replied that I would love to work with them on a post and they offered to send me some of their exclusive yarn for a project of my choice. Holy cow was that hard to decide, friends. In the end I decided to take the opportunity to make a fingering weight cotton sweater since that was a big wardrobe gap that could help me get to wear my knitting more in this devil's armpit they call Florida. So they kindly sent me the yarn - MillaMia Naturally Soft Cotton in the Flamingo colorway - and I started work on the beautiful lace panel for the Dahlia Cardigan. Little did I know how drastically my life and knitting time would change within weeks of this whole arrangement being made :/ Over a year has passed with so many great, hard, etc things in that time, but this poor sweater languished in a bag unfinished, plaguing me with guilt of this unwritten blog post.
Fast forward to about late June of this year - my personal life felt like it was falling apart, but I finally found myself with a little time to start working on this sweater again. I originally had the goal of finishing it for the Outfit Along since the theme was old wips, so I diligently started working on this whenever possible, which admittedly still wasn't much. Then the unthinkable happened ... my knitting needle broke the last week of July! Thankfully my Knitter's Pride needles have a lifetime warranty, and since I bought them from I had a wonderful no-questions-asked experience with getting a replacement size 5 for my set, but it didn't come until July 30th. So I didn't finish it for the OAL2019, but I finished it on August 4th :) This is the Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti and it was published in the Fall 2011 issue of Interweave Knits, so it's definitely an older design as far as the internet goes. I've had this issue for a while and I always loved this design. It's a different style then I usually go for - I've never really jumped into the waterfall cardigan trend - but it looked cute and I had one big draw to the design...
LOOK AT THAT LACE BACK. I mean, really. I just adored this lace panel back and always wanted to make it. The construction of this was definitely the strangest I've ever done. You start in the center of that lace flower on the back panel and knit the whole lace chart square, then you set that aside and create rectangles to fill in the area below and above the panel, which will make a solid back piece when you're done. Next you pick up the stitches on either side of the lace panel as well as the extra rectangles you made for the back and knit the entire front panel to completion, leaving an after thought spot for the armholes. Then you go back and knit the sleeves, block the whole thing, and sew the open areas above and beneath the lace panel to make the back one solid piece. As you can tell from how confusing it sounds just to write that out, it was like pattern tetris. You also can't try on much of anything until you're almost entirely finished, which was interesting. I do love the design, but I have to confess that all that plain stockinette (which was the majority of the project) got pretty boring, so I'm sure that contributed to how long this took to make as I just wasn't motivated to get through any certain section like I am with projects that change frequently. The back is beautiful, though, and I'm glad I finally got it finished up.
The one echo of how pretty the back is would be the lace detail on the sleeve, which I also love. Since this is a cotton sweater, I wanted to make sure I could wear it in warmer weather, so I went with 3/4 length sleeves (I left off a few decrease repeats). It's a simple touch, but I think it really makes the front have just enough interest.
As this is a waterfall style, there are very long drapes on the front that look like ridiculous wings when you hold them out, lol. I'm sure I will wear them just hanging like normal most of the time, but the pattern offers another suggestion that I really like:
You can wrap the front drapes across and pin them in place to get a more streamlined front. I will definitely be doing this with a cute brooch or something when the weather gets cool enough to wear this.
The sweater has a collar that is knitted all at the same time as the front drapes. The collar is finished off with a seed stitch border, and in theory this should work fine, but mine just wants to constantly roll up and now show itself off at all. I was super careful to block the collar with the crease in it and keep the border nice and flat to encourage it to lay this way, but I think a combination of the fingering weight yarn and it being cotton have added to it not wanting to cooperate. Part of me wants to starch the collar, but I'm not sure how that would look if the rest of the sweater is not starched. But it does look nice if I actually unroll everything and force it to lay flat - as long as I don't move - but the area around the neck feels kind of hopeless.
The knitting of this certainly did not go perfectly - one of my most glaring mistakes is right on he collar. I must have twisted a stitch or something, because I wound up with a decent little hole. I just try not to look at it, lol. Also the area where the sleeves start have some larger spaces, and since I knit this over such a long period of time, there are some tension differences. It's all not really a big deal in the grand scheme. I will say I don't love the fit of the sleeve with just the afterthought - it feels too tight for my upper bicep, which not only contributes to the stretching out of that joint area, but also feels like it won't pull up high enough on my arm to make the sweater sit right.
As you can see, the sweater doesn't hug against my body in the most flattering way, and part of this I believe is from the afterthought sleeve. I think I'll just stick to sleeve caps in the future. I feel like if the sleeves would pull up further, the top of the sweater would hug against my arm pit better, which generally gives my body the best look. And I don't really feel like everything I wear needs to make me look as thin as possible, but since I've lost weight lately it's a bit of a bummer to not help my stomach look like it does if that makes sense. A lot of this is just the style of the sweater though.
This was also a very interesting blocking experience. You can really see the odd shape - it's basically a big rectangle with a collar and sleeves. I had to put the sleeves underneath the drapes so that I could ensure the edges stayed straight. You can see here that I pinned the collar folded how it should lay. Also the pins around the lace panel are because it wasn't sewn together yet at this point. So odd, lol.
This sweater took me 8.5 skeins of MillaMia Naturally Soft Cotton yarn (I received 10 skeins, so I still have a full skein left over). As far as the yarn goes, it was a lovely experience to knit with, even being a cotton yarn (which is saying something because I'm not generally the biggest fan of knitting with cotton). The yarn is appropriately named because it is very soft to the touch and gives a smooth feel when knitted up. I haven't been able to wear this out yet, but I can tell just from wearing it at home that this will be a nice transitional sweater as well as good to wear in the cold air conditioning to take the chill off. I can definitely recommend this yarn if you are looking for a nice, sweater worthy cotton yarn. Also I love the color selection - I am addicted to coral pink, but I was very close to picking their bright green (another favorite of mine). The quality of this yarn was lovely and the color stayed fast in a hot wash for blocking. I will certainly look at this yarn if I want to make another cotton project in the future.
So that's my latest finished project over a year in the making! It feels so good to finally have this done as well as to have real blog photos again after so long. Just to keep everyone filled in - I'm getting divorced as well as trying to adopt some 16 month old twin girls I've been taking care of since last April. Lots of craziness this past year. But I'm nearing what feels like the tail end of a very bad time, and after being so overwhelmed with life and not taking good care of myself I've started doing things I've been putting off (cut and permed my hair, lost weight, new glasses, good eye cream, etc) and I haven't felt better in years. Thank you, readers, for sticking around my blog in spite of my total lack of posting. It really means a lot to me to have people actually care about what I'm making and doing. So I may not be able to post as much as I once did, but I certainly will be posting more than the past year :)

Yarn: 8.51 skeins of MillaMia Naturally Soft Cotton in the Flamingo colorway - free courtesy of
Pattern: Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti
Time: 1 year, 2 months

*I received this yarn free of charge from, but all opinions are 100% my own and not influenced in any way. I genuinely enjoyed this yarn :) 

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