Monday, March 10, 2014

Knitting for me: a smocked cardi

Pattern: "Pretty (me)" by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne from the collection Emmitouflages (used the pattern in French)
Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo in 131 Sand Bank, 3 skeins
Needle: US 5 for ribbing
             US 6 for body
Size: xs
Notions: 10 mother-of-pearl buttons (15 mm)

This cardi was a labor of love but I am quite pleased with the finished product! I say it was a labor of love because there were some errors on my part (nothing to do with the pattern) that ended up with me undoing a half finished project. Gahhh!!! Silly, girl! How did you end up using a US 4 instead of  a US 6? I have a number of hypotheses as to how this disas...mistake happened but when the cardi started to look like it would just about fit a 5 year old I knew something was awry! Anyhow, being the person that I am, I ripped it back and started again the same day.

All that said and done, phew, I really did enjoy knitting this cardi. It was straight forward, simple, the smocked fronts helped keep it interesting enough, and I really am quite in love with that square neckline. I feel that it looks so elegant.

I made a few modifications on the bottom ribbing, button edges and the neckline. Instead of using a US 6, I opted for a 5 as I felt it would look a little cleaner. Once the body is completely finished (sleeves, shoulders and all) the pattern then directs to work on the neck edge but as I was feeling inspired by kathok's Farmhouse Pretty (me) on Ravelry with that lovely, clean neckline edge, I knit the button bands first. I adjusted the number of picked up stitches to 87 as I felt  it needed more stitches to look its best and I made sure to knit 3 at the neck edge so as to have a stitch to pick up into. I positioned 9 button holes on the button band. Once the button bands were finished, I then moved on to the neck edge where I picked up 8 extra stitches on the edge of each button band and 22 stitches where the pattern suggested picking up 11 stitches from the long edge of the square (153 sts total). I added another button hole to make a total of 10 button holes for the cardi. Oof, technical stuff! 

In a previous post I mentioned wanting simple but eye-catching buttons, which is what I did. 10 simple round 2-hole mother-of-pearl buttons. I love the way they shimmer and take on the tones around them.

The pattern uses a saddle shoulder technique which I had never done before and to be honest, I was a little nervous about whether I would like the fit. Verdict: when I first tried it on, I thought that I didn't like it, but as I've had it on a little more, it's starting to grow on me. I think I've reached the point where I can comfortably say that I like it (although one shoulder fits better than the other?) and would make another sweater with this kind of construction. Oh yes, however, thank you, Quill on Ravelry for noting it, but the pattern should read slip 1, purl 1, turn, on the wrong side of the saddle shaping!

I really love this cardi. My first sportweight cardi for me! I think more knitting for me is bound to happen based on this great experience and result. I am overall very pleased with the fit and the way the yarn looks and I hope it will wear well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't pill too much. Aren't those smocks just lovely? And as I already said, I really adore this neckline! It sits beautifully in an unbroken line. I guess I do indeed feel so pretty wearing this!


P.S. I felt a little awkward having pictures of me taken like this as I'm really not used to it!

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