I showed my friend Cindy how to knit a while back because she wanted to make leg warmers to match the fingerless gloves I made her, and she's been having fun ever since. We laugh when I agree with her when she says "I knit like I read… once I start I have a hard time putting it down!" She came over the other night with a shawl she knit while traveling for the holidays. The mission that evening was "show me what blocking means" (ah! the next step along the knitterly path!) so we sat down to block her shawl.
Having the paraphernalia out helped me along the way to blocking my cardigan. Which I did, grateful that I treated myself to a set of blocking wires last year. The wires made easy work of lining everything up and making sure tension was even along the various directions. I measured myself for the dimensions of the rectangle of stockinette stripes, but fudged the top part into looking proportional because I wasn't sure what the most useful dimension was to focus on.
In the end, after a thorough steam blocking (remember, it's acrylic) it turned out all right! I wore it out the other day and was pretty comfortable. I really like the length it ended up and am even 95% happy with how it lays in the front. The button bands have a bad habit of flipping out near the bottom and I think will benefit from stabilization with some grosgrain ribbon, which I bought yesterday. I've decided against putting buttons and buttonholes in. Maybe I'll change my mind and do a couple right at the top but I like it as an open cardigan. I swear I'm not just being lazy! If it fit looser I'd probably do the buttons all the way down. I've read that you can use a sewing machine just like normal if you're careful about stretching and there is ribbon or some other stabilizer on the back, so we'll see. My guess is that even though I blocked it out a little bigger than me, the spring in the yarn still won out and it came back some. Still, not bad for a freshman effort.
I'm really glad I chose to do the color changes as written in the arm band ribbing, which I was considering making just solid navy, and also happy with the choice to do the bottom and button bands in solid navy. For the button bands I picked up about 100 stitches along the front edges, 2 for every 3 rows. Actually 99 and 104, but I can't tell the difference and wasn't going to rip out the second one to make it the same. Still don't know how that happened. I added a single crochet row along the top and bottom edges of each button band with the tail from binding off. The ribbing was pulling in a little bit and this helped even it out to meet the other ribbing edges neatly.
There are a few things I'm not wild about. For example, the increases in the body shaping show *really well* in the persimmon color. Also a couple places where I joined yarn are pretty obvious to me, again in the persimmon and not the navy. If I made this again I'd do like some other folks and add some sleeves, maybe 3/4 length since these short caps do little to flatter my arms. There are so many other great patterns to try though, that I doubt that will come to pass.
I do like the texture of the reverse stockinette, the interest of the yoke, and how mixing in the navy helps me wear this pretty coral color without looking red in the face. Also, the knit rows at the color changes between the purl stripes are super nifty. I have to say there were plenty of times along the way when I was skeptical about how this would turn out, regretting my decision to go off pattern and make it a cardigan, or just wondering if that yoke ribbing was really not going to be super saggy when all was said and done, but I'm glad I perservered. The rest of the details are on my Ravelry page, but here's the basics:
Needle: size 6 and size 7 circulars
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Solids in Dark Country Blue and Persimmon