Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blue and pink hand-knitted cardigan

This is another thing unearthed in my winter woolies sort-out, that hasn't been photographed or written about here...
I do feel a bit silly for having forgotten about all these things... but here we go.
I started knitting this cardigan while I was expecting Sam, and then managed to finish it shortly after he was born, thus making it now exactly seventeen years old.  It's been worn a tonne, as you can imagine, like any casual garment is... I think I've even taken it camping.  Which now I think of all the work I put into making it immaculately and perfectly finished seems kind of sacrilegious... woops  Since this sort of big patterned knitted cardigan became very unfashionable some years ago I kinda stopped wearing it so much.  Although I think as I am wearing it today with a mini-dress and textured tights moderns it up a touch, brings it acceptably into this decade, yes?
It is knitted in the intarsia method, so each of those strips and little triangles of colour is knitted with its own separate little ball of wool.  I can remember knitting it; with masses of little balls of wool on their individual cardboard winders dangling off the back, occasionally getting caught and twisted up with each other, and painstakingly sorting them out, looping the old ball over each new one as each new colour block came up.  I was such a DIY-er (er, still am, I suppose!) I even made my own winders, cutting them out of old cereal boxes, refusing to buy the little plastic ones you see in knitting shops... they had little slits cut in them for the wool to sit through so the balls stayed neatly wound up and wouldn't unravel while I was knitting... 
In the best hand-knitter's tradition the cardigan has no knots in it.  All the loose ends are either spliced or woven in, or stitched in an interwoven method in the closest joining seam.  I learnt these finishing methods from my friend J, also a keen knitter, who had taken on work knitting for some big Australian hand-knit range... not sure which now, it might have been Jenny Kee, maybe not.  She had been sent instructions on how to properly finish off a hand-knit garment, and obviously knots were one of the biggest no-no's.  I'm ashamed to say we had both been knotting up until then... but we learnt from these fantastic instructions.  Since then I've always scrupulously stayed away from knots in any hand-knitted garment.

Cardigan; handknit by me, from various shades of Patons 8 ply pure merino wool.  The pattern was from a Patons pamphlet, no. 1105
Dress; Burda 8511 with modifications, purple raw silk, details here
Tights; Metalicus
Shoes; Francesco Morichetti, from Zomp shoes
below: the "wrong" side showing the intarsia knitting method with each block of colour a distinct and separate block with no loops of yarn across the back.  All the ends are interwoven into the joining seams, and there are absolutely NO knots!

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