Finally. I completed one of the most challenging projects I have done to date. No, it’s not an Orenburg shawl, or an Alice Starmore fair isle, or even a Norah Gaughan geometric masterpiece. It’s a simple kid’s lace cardigan, but one that I worked out totally from scratch, entirely my own design from stitch pattern to construction to detail, trying to flesh out a very particular picture of it I had in mind. I was so wrapped up in it that I totally forgot my blog’s FIFTH freaking anniversary back in November!!!!!
Voila Arohi’s cardigan, the end result of many, many swatches, maths calculations and frogged versions:
I mentioned earlier that I first started with this lace cardigan from Knitty, but just couldn’t get the lace pattern to flow, or the gauge and yarn to work. I wanted to use the same yarn, plus I wanted a more intuitive lace repeat, and, if possible, a seamless raglan.
I picked a simple leaf lace motif, the same I had used for the kiri shawl, and cast on from neck downwards. Since the leaves have a fixed number of stitches and I wanted to avoid any bands of stockinette if possible, this was a bit tricky, but it worked out beautifully in the end. I started with one leaf each for the fronts and sleeves, and two for the back, and the leaf shape blended neatly into the raglans, as well as the tiny v-neck:
The best part of all, however, was that the pattern continued seamlessly even at, and past, the raglan joins at the armhole. Figuring this out without gaping holes or lines going awry was the hardest part. But honestly, my – ahem – nimble fingers apart, so much of this symmetry is inherent in the maths of lace patterns that you just have to pay attention and let the motif guide you. I was quite pleasantly surprised when I first realized how the leaves were coming together at the raglan join, then excited, terrified, and supremely pleased, in that order of emotions, as I worked out the decreases.
No doubt, this is old hat to anybody who’s designed anything mildly complicated, but hey, it’s my first time. Also, I badly want to write this pattern up, but my notes scribbled as I went along are now quite indecipherable, and I am terrified again of the calculations. The fact that the beginning of each round of the sleeves kept changing due to the lace pattern was a bit intimidating, and I have no idea how to write out the instructions, let alone graph it. But I would like to, just to learn the damn process, and note down some variations and such, so let’s see. Right now just seeing the leaves cascade down the raglan is putting a big grin on my face.
Pattern: Arohi’s cardigan (lace cardigan for a 3 year old)
Yarn: Adreena’s Supreena Pure New Wool, fingering, 75 gms, approx. 450-500 yards
Some random acrylic in deep green for the border, approx 75 yards?
Needles: size 4 (3.5 mm) circulars and DPNS
Gauge: 6 spi over stockinette stitch, using size 4 needles
Dimensions: total length 14″; length from armhole to bottom 9″; raglan depth 7″; neck 6″ wide; sleeves from underarm to wrist 9″; bell sleeves width 6″; chest 26″
I first chose a knitted border in pale green cotton, and then a silky black one. But the knitted border, despite the fact that I added it after the whole thing was quite ferociously blocked beforehand, bunched up the lace, and tightened the neck, in particular. So I went with two rows of a more relaxed single crochet edging, since only one was still causing the edges to curl.
This one is all ready to be sent off – and you know you have a good pattern with you when you immediately want to make another one! I think my next one will be in cotton or acrylic, simply because I think these might retain the blocking a bit longer. But this one is whisper lightweight, and I hope it fits the little girl well.
This is a personal milestone for me in my own relationship to the craft and my understanding of how it works, no matter how simple it might objectively be – so it’s quite appropriate that even if a bit belated, it should mark five years of this blog, and my adventures in knitting!