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A Finished Object! The Minimalist Cardigan

Jul 26, 2010

    
Kathleen's finished Minimalist Cardigan
The Minimalist Cardigan by Ruthie Nussbaum was my knit-along project from the spring, and I finally finished it. Yay for me! What's more, I went to the beach last weekend and I got to wear it.

Here are the things I love about the sweater:

  • The drape of the moss stitch. It hangs beautifully, even after lots of worrying. The worrying happened because moss stitch tends to bias (I found out) during the knitting progress, but it magically straightens itself out when it's blocked (like so many other glitches do!).
  • The stockinette bands. This detail really makes the sweater for me. It's beautiful and I love how it rolls in a bit; it makes the perfect edging. Some people in the knit-along didn't care for the rolling so they added a different stitch pattern to the edge. Some did a slip stitch at the edge and one person even did a cable all the way up both fronts. I decided to compensate for the rolling by adding another inch to each edge, so I added 5 stitches.
  • The yarn. I choose Cascade Venezia, which is a silk/merino blend. The silk really lightens up the yarn, making it perfect for spring and fall pieces, and even for summer evenings at the beach! I love the color, too. I'd been wanting to knit something in cream and this seemed like a good candidate. And it was! The cream is such a nice neutral; it works with black, brown, gray, red—virtually any color, really.


What I would change if I did this sweater again:

  • Make the fronts wider. I find myself tugging at the fronts to bring them together. That's part of the "minimalist" aspect of this pattern—no buttons, zipper, etc., but it's bugging me a little. I think I'm going to try a shawl pin for this piece, or just bite the bullet and get used to the larger opening at the front.
  • Do the kitchenener stitch to connect the stockinette bands together at the back neck. I strongly dislike doing the kitchener stitch; I seem, to always mess it up and have to do it several times, stretching out the yarn. So I ended up using the three-needle bind-off instead. It's okay but there is a little bulk at the back. I just need to practice the kitchener (also known as "grafting") so I can be as good as my friend Terry, who just whips out her needle and yarn, starts grafting, and keeps visiting all the while. Maybe she'll trade me a latte for a lesson!

If you want to knit the Minimalist Cardigan, and I encourage you to do so, it's available now in our new eBook collection Best of 2010: Top 10 Patterns for Knitted Cardigans. You'll also find 9 more cardigans you'll want to have in your pattern collection. I know I do!

Cheers,


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Comments

Anne Patton wrote
on Jul 29, 2010 7:52 PM

Very pretty sweater.  I noticed your dress (sweater) form.  Can you tell me a little bit about it.  I am interested in getting one for myself, but have no idea where to start

Dola wrote
on Jul 27, 2010 3:43 PM

Beautiful, Kathleen.  Your Minimalist Cardigan looks perfect.  I did not join this KAL because I need my jackets to come together in the front in winter.  That helps to protect my weak lungs.  Dola

BBocan wrote
on Jul 27, 2010 12:01 PM

I made this sweater last year & gave it to my daughter for Christmas.  She loved it!!  I used Karabella merino superwash.  I did the Kitchener stitch in the back neck edge & it turned out very well.  I did find that the sleeves were slightly tight & narrow & my daughter is small.  Did anyone else find this as a problem?

L.R.Cote wrote
on Jul 27, 2010 7:46 AM

Hi All:

Re: Kathy's notes on 'what she'd do differently':

I used the kitchener stitch to weave the back of the neck.  I tend to weave too tight, so I used a #3 dpn in the middle to make sure it wasn't noticeable.  It worked like a charm!

Louise

AnnR wrote
on Jul 26, 2010 7:48 PM

I don't understand why you added 5 stitches to the edge?  Is this supposed to keep it from rolling as much?

JoAnneWM wrote
on Jul 26, 2010 2:12 PM

Please explain this a little more - "...moss stitch tends to bias".

on Jul 26, 2010 12:02 PM

The kitchener stitch is well worth learning.  I had a sweater with fold-over bands to be joined at the back of the neck.  When I knit the sweater, I don't remember whether I used the three-needle bind-off or a sewn seam after a regular bind-off.  I never liked the bulk of that seam however, and never wore it.

After getting comfortable with kitchener stitch after knitting MANY pairs of socks i realized that was what was needed on that seam.  I took it apart, did the kitchner seam and found it was smooth and looked so much better.

It is just a matter of stretching our knitting skills.

RebeccaB@2 wrote
on Jul 26, 2010 11:41 AM

I find traditional grafting to be a challenge.  On my website under "Help!", "Graft with a Knitting Needle", I have instructions for grafting using your knitting needle.  Far easier to learn!

http://sunshineknitdesigns.com

on Jul 26, 2010 11:02 AM

For a closure, you could always add a frog, or one of those cute old fashioned sweater chains.  Something that would give you a sense of the garment coming together, but still with a bit of gap to allow it to hang in the manner the pattern intends.  Though I love the sweater, the lack of closure is what has kept me from whipping one up, but might make the alterations you suggest, or make a sweater chain.  

SharonL@3 wrote
on Jul 26, 2010 10:28 AM

I love this sweater! I made the sleeves longer and shaped them like a regular sleeve plus I started with 2 rows of knit instead of ribbing so it fits more like a jacket. I have gotten so many compliments and even inspired at least a half dozen other people to make it!

on Jul 26, 2010 9:22 AM

Euny Jang has a great tutorial on doing the Kitchener stitch on knitting needles (I think 3 are used).  I used to have trouble with this grafting approach until I used Euny's method.  The tension always seems to come out right and I don't seem to go as wrong.

on Jul 26, 2010 9:09 AM

You are an inspiration!  I have the back, one front and 1/3 of another front finished, and 1/4 of a sleeve.  That moss stitch slowed me down, it is has been sitting on needles for 2 years!  I must get it finished!

LuanneR@2 wrote
on Jul 26, 2010 8:37 AM

Kathleen - I agree that a three-needle bindoff would not be comfortable at the neckline.  And I'm not good at grafting either.  I would do this - you can even change it now that the sweater is finished - bind off both edges, not too tightly, and overcast them together, not tightly but loosely enough that the seam lies flat.  If you want you can even sew them together from the right side, using a mattress stitch to make sure it looks better (not an issue for me because my hair hides the seam, but yours might not).  This seemingly primitive technique results in a flatter seam than a three-needle bindoff.  It will not be invisible like grafting but can be made to look nice and will feel much better.