[roadside cardigan]

November 21, 2010

On July 17 we posted our very first entry on this blog. Incidentally, on that same day I started knitting a cardigan for our friends’ [a] & [i]’s baby which was due in August. Last Tuesday, 123 days and 38 blog posts later, I finally finished it:

Even the non-knitters among you will have gathered that this is a rather long time for knitting one lousy tiny baby cardi. To give you an idea of just how slow it actually is, here’s a list of things our dear friend Nadia – ittybitty on Ravelry – has knit in those same 123 days: 5 cardigans, 2 sweaters, 2 cowls, 1 hat, 1 pair of socks, 1 pair of fingerless gloves, 3 children’s cardigans, 9 baby cardigans, and 2 baby blankets. That makes a total of 26 (in words: twenty-six) items. And did you notice the nine baby cardigans?!

So, what took me so long? Well, prepare for an epic tale in the vein of, say, Moby Dick – or Don Quixote

As you’ll probably know by now, I’m still relatively new to the fine art of knitting, and in July I had just successfully finished my first attempt at lace knitting. So after what had seemed like an endless series of yo, k2tog, ssk, 2yo etc etc, I decided my next project was going to be more easy and relaxing. I was going to do a plain baby cardigan in simple garter stitch. But then ambition got the better of me and suggested that pure garter stitch would be too simple and, erm, beginner-y. So I figured I’d need to add some sort of extra difficulty to the project, a task to overcome in a prowly way: I was going to add stripes!

After the cast-on, things went well for the first couple of weeks or so… By then I had finished approximately one third of the cardigan’s body. However, by then I was getting bored by knitting garter stitch and annoyed by knitting stripes. Also, other, more urgent things – like writing a conference paper – came up, so one evening I put my knitting aside, and when I next picked it up again two or three weeks had gone by. At that point, our friends’ baby had been born, and even though I’d had the good sense to cast on in a 3-6 months size, I began to feel a certain pressure to finish the garment as quickly as possible. Soon enough, though, another problem appeared on the horizon…

I was knitting the cardi with leftover yarn from [m]’s stash, and an initial calculation had convinced me there was going to be enough yarn for my purposes. Unfortunately, I never have been too good at math: Pretty soon it became apparent that my calculations had been wrong. Mind you, there was plenty of red, a sufficient amount of blue, but the purple, alas, the purple was inexorably coming to an end. So I had to order more yarn. Which took two weeks to arrive from Denmark. In the meantime, the baby had been growing and so had the pressure to finish the damn thing. I hope you excuse the cursing, but at that point of the story my feelings towards the cardigan had taken a turn for the hostile. The garment had become the White Whale to my Captain Ahab, it had taken on the guise of an enemy deliberately trying to make me fail, and finishing it seemed like an enormous task I was never ever going to complete.

There was, of course, only one mature and rational way to deal with that situation: Avoid looking at the thing and pretend it’s not there! This actually worked well for quite a while. Then, all of a sudden, it was nearly November, and the baby was nearly three months old. And remember, we’re talking about a cardigan in a 3-6 months size

Ok, the rest of the story is less than spectacular. I finally sat down and knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. Did a bin-off. Sewed on some buttons from Aunt Fanny’s button box.* And now, here it is, the [roadside cardigan].

The name, by the way, is derived from the fact that the red I used for the cardigan is a colourway called Poppy. Where I come from, in late spring and early summer, there will always be loads and loads of poppies growing by the roadsides, creating vast red bands interspersed with the blue and purple of cornflowers. This photo may give you an idea of what I’m talking about, though, admittedly, it wasn’t taken at a proper roadside but along a garden path in my parents’ backyard:

Note the out-of-focus cornflowers in the background...

Somehow that’s the kind of image which came to my mind when knitting the poppy-purple-blue cardigan, so that’s how the project got its name. And to underline the meadow-y aspect, I even used some green yarn for sewing on the buttons:

Pattern: [roadside cardigan] by: me [read the full story here]
Yarn: Holst Garn Supersoft 100% uld [colours: Poppy, Aubergine, and Sapphire]
Needles: 3mm
[More project details on Ravelry]

* I mentioned Aunt Fanny and her button box a while ago in one of my project notes on Ravelry, but I’m not going to go into detail about her here. She might be a worthwhile subject for a future blog post, though…

3 Responses to “[roadside cardigan]”

  1. nadia said

    first of all, the cardigan is really lovely ! perfect choice of colors, stripes are well thinking, and i just LOVE the buttons sewn with green yarn !

    that said, i’ve to admit i’m a little suprised by the list of my knitting production. i knew i was addict, but not that much ;)

  2. janet said

    The garter stitch. I’ve grown to love.
    The stripes. Smashing.
    The buttons. With history and humor.
    The bestest part? The green yarn….and the blogging. So glad I’m not the only slow knitter. Yours has led to a perfect and wry little sweater.

  3. Janet Margolies said

    another Janet chimes in (janknit1) on Ravelry — wow !! this is wonderful and I am going to mimic your stripe style in a baby cardigan soon. You are very talented — hard to imagine you are new to the craft — but with ittybitty as a friend, you are a lucky one indeed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: