When I cast on Bristol Ivy’s May Cardigan at the beginning of April, my hope was that I’d be able to wear it to Maryland Sheep and Wool. As I mentioned Tuesday, that happened, but just barely! I stayed up late Saturday night finishing the first sleeve and furiously worked on the second sleeve on the drive to the festival! As we were pulling into the parking lot, I had about 15 stitches left to cast off on the sleeve — so I ended up sitting in the parking lot of the festival, feverishly doing a sewn cast off and quickly weaving the two ends of the completed sleeve in. It was the work of a few minutes, and my friends were kind enough to gamely wait! I initially felt a bit silly about it all, but in the end, was super happy I got to wear it Sunday. It was the perfect temperature for a light sweater!
So, I’ll start off by saying that I am in love with this sweater. It’s the perfect breezy, lightweight spring/summer cardigan. It also feels fabulous on — it’s super soft and the drape of the fabric is beautiful. And I’m happy with the fit — I especially like the way the fronts stretch over the shoulder. I really enjoyed knitting the cartridge stitch, and I was impressed with the overall construction.
But it’s really a bit of a miracle that the sweater got finished at all. When I last wrote about my May, things were looking pretty good, and I thought I’d finish it comfortably before MDS&W. I completed the fronts and back with no problem, then blocked the sweater in preparation for seaming. I used a three needle bind off to join the fronts, as the pattern instructed and got ready to sew the back of the neck (created by the joined front pieces) to the back of the sweater. And here my troubles began.
Typically, I avoid seaming. It’s hard enough for me to see the knitting of a project through to the end, let alone having to sew it up later! So I’m not very practiced at it, which I’m sure contributed to my difficulties. The seaming was supposed to be pretty straight forward: about 18 inches of straight edges to sew together — horizontal cartridge stitch to vertical stockinette. The pattern directed to seam at a 1:1 ratio to get the rib to really stretch out over your back. Doing my best to seam 1:1, I gave it an initial go … and ended up with about 2 inches of stockinette fabric that had no place to go! I’m not sure quite why this happened — perhaps my row gauge was off?
The seaming took forever, and I kept hoping, despite all evidence to the contrary, that my first attempt was going to work out (I do this sooo often — just continue against my better judgment — do you?) So it was pretty close to the end of the job that I admitted defeat and ripped it the seaming. At this point, I was feeling super discouraged. The Piper yarn is gorgeous and so soft, but, as a direct result, does not like to be fiddled with! So I was left with lace weight stitches, needing to be seamed, and now nice and fuzzed up from being seamed once and then having the seam taken out — not a great situation for someone with little seaming experience!
I fiddled with it a bit more that same evening, and seriously considered throwing in the towel on the whole project. So I set it aside and decided to look at it with fresh eyes the next day. While I was falling asleep, however, it occured to me that if if I had too much stockinette fabric, rather than doing a 1:1 ratio, I could just skip one of the stockinette stitches every 5-6 stitches — I gave it a try and it worked! I’m so glad I pushed through the frustration and got it done. Then all I had left was the sleeves (picking up stitches, also not my favorite!) The devil was in the details on this sweater, but now that I’m past them, I am happy with the finished result!
So, final analysis: great pattern, great yarn, great garment … and a lesson in both perseverance and seaming!
Pattern: May by Bristol Ivy
Yarn: Quince and Co. Piper in Guadelupe
Needles: US Size 3s and 4s.
Modifications: Seamed back to fronts at a ration of around 6 back stitches to 5 front stitches; knit fronts two at a time (Ravelry project page here)
Since finishing, I’ve had a bit of cast on-itis. I’m hoping to make some progress on a few projects over the weekend. What are your weekend knitting goals?