Saturday, 21 May 2011

New cardigan

freya cardigan 2 by hallucygenia
freya cardigan 2, a photo by hallucygenia on Flickr.

New cardigan! Pattern is Freyja from Knitting Iceland. It's knitted out of Plötulopi, which is unspun wool. The wool fibres have been arranged in a long strand. The fibres are long enough, and grab onto each other enough, that this does work for knitting, as long as you're gentle with it before it's knitted. After it's knitted it seems to behave just as spun wool.

The observant among you will have noticed that this garment does not yet possess one of the essential characteristics of a cardigan, to wit an opening down the front. This is not an oversight on my part, but part of the pattern. The cardigan isn't worked in the way normal for British patterns, which is to knit the back, both fronts and both sleeves as separate flat pieces, and then sew them all together. This knitting is seamless - the back and front were knitted as one big tube and the sleeves as smaller tubes. All three were joined together at the underarm level, and then the yoke (with the flower pattern) was knitted, with a decreasing number of stitches to make it fit the shoulders. This knitting in the round has several advantages, not least that you don't have to worry about making the front and back pieces the same length. However, in order for this to become a cardigan, it is going to have to be cut open down the front.

Yes, you read that correctly. I am going to take a pair of scissors to my hard work. This is not quite as reckless as it sounds: the process is called steeking (steek is pronounced to rhyme with eek) and is common in Scandinavia, where they know a thing or two about woollens. I am informed that, as long as the edges are reinforced first, the wool fabric will stick together well enough to allow a hem to be put in.

I have never cut my knitting before. I hope it works. Most of the instructions available on the internet recommend having a stiff drink at some point during the proceedings; I think the important thing is to have the drink after cutting, rather than before.

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