The first finished thing you’re getting to see from me in 2015 is the last thing I finished knitting in 2014!
(And I apologize that we’ve entered the season where you’re mostly going to see me stand next to this stack of hat boxes in the guest bedroom trying to get decent lighting somewhere, since it’s usually way too cold or snowy/sloppy for outside photos. Not that I don’t already stand here half the time anyway, so I’m obviously trying to make myself feel better about winter. Ha!)
This cardigan is Mary Rebecca by Ellen Mason, and you got a glimpse of it last week. I actually started this project last February, and then as often happens with my knitting, I got distracted by some shiny new project and put it away for awhile. When it cooled down in October I picked it back up.
I originally fell in love with the kind of unusual cable and lace pattern that runs along the fronts. I say unusual because on the side furthest from the button bands, you work a cable without a purl background, so it kind of melts into the stockinette. I really like it! I managed to find perfectly matching plain yellow vintage buttons to top it off. I really try to use vintage buttons as much as I can, in part to give my knitting (or sewing) that extra vintage touch, and in part because they’re usually cheap and easy to find! So it’s a case where I don’t usually go modern unless I’m looking for a specialty item (like I may be for my future coat project). I love pouring through bins of buttons at antique malls or flea markets.
Here’s the beautiful original cardigan from the pattern:
You can see that I was obviously influenced by the color! I used Misti Alpaca Tonos Worsted in the colorway Michelle’s Dress, a very bright semi-solid yellow with some greenish undertones that aren’t really picked up in these photos.
I made a couple of changes to the pattern. The obvious one is that one is that I knit long sleeves. But the less obvious one from a quick glance is that I changed the sweater from a round yoke construction to have set-in sleeves.
I did math to change the upper body construction, basically forging my own way from the armholes on up to the top. Instead of knitting the body in the round to the armholes, then knitting the sleeves, and joining it all in the round for a yoke, I knit in the round to the armholes, split front and back, knit up to the shoulders and did a three-needle bind off to join front and back, then knit the sleeves seamlessly from the top down with shaped sleeve caps. I like the look of round yokes, but in cardigans, I find that they tend to splay open from the neckline on me in a way that I don’t care for as much as set-in sleeves.
But honestly, this was all done as personal preference. The pattern is extremely detailed and well-written, with lots of measurements and help along the way if you’re a less experienced knitter. Very thorough!
I’ve also been experimenting with higher necklines on cardigans. I find that on most modern cardigan patterns, necklines are a bit deeper than I like. This is the one issue with my Hetty that I otherwise love. But I really like the height of the neckline on my Ten of Hearts cardigan, so I mimicked the higher neckline on Mary Rebecca. You can see below it comes all the way to my collarbone.
To do this, I knit the fronts until I was about 2.5 inches away from where I started the shoulder shaping, before I started the neckline shaping. And I like the way it looks!
If you want to try a similar high crew neck like this, make sure you use a really stretchy bind off, otherwise you’ll never be able to close it at the top (same goes for crew necks on pullovers, too). I love Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off for just this purpose. You can see below, no problems closing that top button. This is a bind off I started using a lot more when I knit my Dragonflies Jumper and couldn’t get my head in until I unpicked it and bound off again. Lesson learned!
With boots, plus base layers under my skirt and top, and a few light petticoats, this toasty warm alpaca cardigan was a nice topper for a cold winter day’s outfit.
The unusual shade of bright yellow yarn matches the yellow in this vintage skirt perfectly! You know I love yellow, but there’s something I particularly like about yellows that lean slightly green. I wish you could tell that this one does just a bit.
I love this cardigan and since you know I think of yellow as my neutral, I’ve already been wearing it a ton in the weeks since I finished it. I’m trying to make a concerted effort to fill in my sweater wardrobe with relatively basic cardigans and boleros in colors I need and a style and length that will go with lots of different types of outfits, and this one definitely fits the bill, so I’m pleased.
As for my current knitting? I have just the turtleneck left on my vintage ski pullover. I knit almost the entire body in the time we were in D.C. over the holidays, but it seemed to take forever to knit the sleeves, and I can only go in spurts on the 1×1 ribbed turtleneck before I want to gouge my eyeballs out. But I’ll finish it soon, and then I think it’s one or two knit boleros next! 😉
Mary Rebecca cardigan: knit by me (Ravelry link to pattern)
vintage skirt: Retro 101 in St. Louis
clog boots: courtesy of Sven Clogs
white top: Pinup Girl Clothing
glitter lucite earrings: The Alamo Basement