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I am not a happy knitter of miles and miles of stockinette.

I wish I was — I love to wear simple lines and if I muster enough gumption to knit through lots of stockinette, it usually becomes a staple in my wardrobe.

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IMG_8728I’ve had my eye on Amy Christoffer’s Galvanized Cardigan since it was first published in the Winter 2010 issue of Interweave Knits. It’s a simple stockinette cardigan, with corrugated rib detail at the collar, cuffs and hem.

I don’t know what the impetus was for me to cast on. I’ve had the main yarn that I used for the sweater, Rowan Felted Tweed DK, in stash for…EVER (I think probably 10 years). The contrast yarn I used though, was not Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which was used with the Rowan Felted Tweed DK in the original pattern (surprising since my stash of this particular yarn is not insignificant,) but Fyberspates Faery wings. I had a skein of the Faery wings in a bronze and gold, which played well with the orange-y flecks in the tweed yarn.

Of course I couldn’t just let the pattern alone. I also decided to change the construction of the sweater pretty significantly, while keeping all the major design elements:

  1. knit the sweater in the round with a steek and cut that (more on that in a second);
  2. modified the sleeves to shape it a lot more than called for in the pattern;
  3. changed the yoke from straight raglan to a compound raglan, taking advantage of the class about top down yokes that I took from Ysolda Teague at Vogue Knitting Live.

IMG_8727This was the first time I used the crochet hook to stabilize the steek stitches before I cut it. I usually drag out my sewing machine, zig zagging my stitches down to make sure no rogue ply makes a run for the money. Because it was the first time I was going to use this method, I knit a big margin of error (steek of 7 stitches. That’s pretty big). Of course, a smarter knitter would have tried the technique on a swatch before trying it for the first time on a garment she spent many hours knitting, but I like to live on the edge. With Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen’s Two Color Knitting book by my side, I crocheted up and down the center of my HUGE steek and cut. Meanwhile, I was also looking at this handy dandy web tutorial by Kate Davies as well….the big difference being that Meg and Amy uses a chain stitch to stabilize the steek stiches and Kate uses a single crochet to stabilize the stitches.

IMG_8730Well? I ended up doing both. I stabilized the first steek using the chain stitch. “First?” you ask. The particular side of me took over. I used a red sock yarn for the first steek. There was nothing major wrong with it, except that the stitches were in RED and that the steek stitches folded over was a bit bulky. So — I single crotched my way up and down a lot closer to the edge of the garment, this time using orange silk lace yarn, and recut. And voila. I have to say I am sold on the crotched steek!!

As for the compound raglan, I have to say that I am a fan. It maintains the look of the raglan, which I love, with a more tailored fit in the underarm, for me. It has helped to create a very work-worthy cardigan (let’s face it, I spend more time wearing work clothes than casual clothes!)

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Hurricane Sandy turned downtown Manhattan into a really surreal place. No power, no cell signal…I was lugging my electronics around and plugging into charge up every time I saw an outlet. I walked dogs in the evening with my headlamp on. It was strange to be able to see stars in the sky. I got off relatively lightly, particularly because I am a wimp and retreated after a day and a half of this to the comforts of my sister’s fully powered up apartment.

Two positive results from Hurricane Sandy. The first was that I was forced to clear out my freezer and refrigerator. Amazing waste of food, but a completely empty freezer for me to fill up (more on this on another post). The second was what I did while I waited for The Frankenstorm to show up.

Waiting for the storm, with two dogs that are super-sensitive to pressure changes was….interesting. I put my (nervous) energy into moving my hands, and cranked on my Pomme de pin Cardigan.

Post storm, it took me a while to truly finish the cardigan — and I had very good intentions. It took me longer for me to knit the button band than it did to knit most of the body of the sweater!

It is, however, the end of the month, which means that I do have to finish things up. And I have finished (and have already worn to work!) the sweater.

Pomme de pin is a cardigan designed by Amy Christoffers. I am attracted to her designs because there seems to be an element of something really cool about her sweaters. With this cardi, I think she’s managed to make a lace sweater really sleek and not grandmotherly at all. I love the way the collar comes up in the back and creates a really long line coming down the front. Do I dare say it? I think it’s SLIMMING!!!!

I knit my sweater out of Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico. The yarn is totally yummy — It’s 50% baby alpaca and 50% mulberry silk. It’s undyed, so all the colors are natural shades of baby alpaca. It’s sport weight, and it’s a single. The very first time I heard about this yarn was on the podcast Ready Set Knit, which is hosted by Kathy and Steve Elkins who owns WEBS. When I heard Steve describe this yarn, I ran to the computer. It just sounded amazing. My sweater is knit in Silver, which is a light grey. The yarn also comes in Platinum, which is an amazing deeper grey (and yes, I have that in my stash). I was a bit worried about how this yarn would knit up as a fabric, and whether it would be appropriate for a garment. I really wasn’t sure whether it had good memory — I knew it wasn’t going to be like wool (which is a super fiber, I’m coming to appreciate!) —  I swatched, and decided that it was a go.

I find that swatching is really useful when it comes to one thing. And it’s not determining gauge. Of course it is somewhat useful for this too, but I find that gauge swatches lie and my gauge changes depending on many different factors so it is just an approximation. What I find it more useful for is in determining (at least a little) how the yarn would act as a fabric.

After swatching, I decided to make a modification (LOL, I know, I know) and I changed all the ribbing to a twisted 1×1 rib. I thought that this would help the sweater keep more structure. Other than this adjustment for the yarn, I made only a few changes, and they were for sizing — I wanted the sleeves shorter, I wanted the sleeves a bit more slim fitting.

I have already worn this sweater to work. I was a bit worried about the sweater shedding a bit because I felt like the yarn was shedding a little as I was knitting, but I wore this sweater over a black dress and black tights and I was fuzz free (trust me, with two dogs I roll myself with one of those sticky rolly things when I get to work!). The lace didn’t completely stretch out, and I didn’t feel like the sweater was dangling at my knees at the end of the day. And this sweater is SUPER warm, while being light.

I have a feeling that this sweater will become a staple in my wardrobe….and that I will be on the look out for more lacy cardis to knit out of the yarn!