Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Crocheted Cardigan, the Sequel

Earlier this year I'd crocheted a lilac cardigan for my granddaughter from the 2014 Roseline Cardigan pattern by Sylvie Damey, available on on Etsy. (See my post for 1/13/16.) I'd used a U.S. size H crochet hook and a size 4 on the pattern. My granddaughter was just over three years old then and it fit pretty snugly on her without much room for growing. Nevertheless, she loved it and wore it very often. Fortunately, the style was such that the front was not intended to overlap and the sleeve length was meant to be three-quarters. It was not obvious that it was verging on too small. I promised to make her another one soon, in a larger size. 

I used the same Jojoland™ TONIC a 85% acrylic 15% wool blend yarn, but this time I reversed the colors, picking the rose color I had used for the accent on the first cardigan as the main color on this second cardigan and the lilac as the accent. I went up two hook sizes and one pattern size, this time using a hook size J and a pattern size 6. I had most of the cardigan completed and sent my daughter a photo of work in progress to do a measurement check on sleeve and skirt lengths.

Things were going along swimmingly until I had the nagging feeling that I might run out of yarn. At one point I had started a baby blanket out of this yarn with individual squares in different knitting stitches. I'd decided the yarn and pattern were not a good pairing because the heather tone of the yarn camouflaged the stitch detail of the knitting. Now I needed that yarn.

But when you rip out knitting, the yarn is all crinkly and does not work up well in the next project unless it is smoothed out first. The only way I know to do this is by washing it. My mom used to wash and reuse yarn all the time. She would wind the yarn in a loose hank, similar to how it is sold before the consumer makes it a pull skein or winds it in a ball, and tie that hank in several places. Then she would fill the sink, submerge it, squeeze the excess water out in a towel and drape the hank over a hanger to dry. I was in a hurry. I wanted this cardigan finished and mailed before her 4th birthday and I would be leaving in two days to go out of town.

I ripped out the knitted blanket square and wound the yarn snugly, stretching it over a plastic shoe box lid.  I then saturated it by holding it beneath a running faucet, running my fingers along the strands to smooth and straighten them. I held a blow dryer very close and kept it moving over the strands to dry them.

It worked for the most part but, because one side of the yarn was up agains the plastic surface, the yarn was still a bit damp to crochet with. I wound it into very loose balls, put them in a lingerie bag and used the blow dryer to direct the flow onto and through the balls of yarn to dry them more thoroughly and evenly.

Any minor residual moisture went away as I threaded the yarn up and down between my fingers on its path toward the hook and I was able to be up crocheting late into the night. The next photo shows how little yarn I had left at the end. The wonky colors are because I took this photo sometime after midnight when the lighting was not all that great.

I sewed in all those pesky loose ends. There were not all that many because the cardigan and sleeves are made without side or underarm seams. Whenever I can, I just crochet over the loose ends as I add on yarn. But sometimes, like here where I was finagling to distribute stitches along a side edge, it is far easier to sew the loose ends in later. Note the distorted orangish color tones indicate it is still the dark hours of nighttime.

The next morning I blocked the skirt and sleeves of the cardigan. Blocking shows off the shell stitching to much better advantage.

It is time consuming but it is worth pinning out edged loop of that picot edging along the front and bottom to show it off.

I pinned out the loops on the picot on both sleeves, also, before steaming them.

And here is the finished cardigan. I had some more of the same oversize buttons I had used on the first sweater and put them on this one as well. My granddaughter had really liked them and could be independent buttoning them. And, yes. I did get it mailed off before I left on my trip and in time for her to get it for her birthday.

This just texted from my son-in-law... She liked it!

Now I will share this completion with the Let's Be Social #147 group.