Just under three months later, it’s done.
I kind of finished it twice. I first finished it a week ago, and I was so excited about being able to wear it to the Knit Night North Christmas party I sewed on the snap closures and buttons as fast as I could and wore it. A few days later I undid all the closures and buttons and sewed them on better; the snaps are still so stiff that I worried that the fabric would pull, so I secured them better and I’m much happier with it now.
There is so much to love about this cardigan. Apart from the fact it’s my first ever garment, it’s also incredibly well-designed and well-instructed, even with the limited space that most knitting magazines give for patterns. This only cements, to me, the genius of Ruth’s patterns, and why I think everyone should be knitting her designs.
Where this pattern succeeds and others have failed to get me to make a garment is I think in the cabling. I can get addicted to cables, and I develop the mentality of ‘oh, just one more cross…’ very quickly. It also gives me something to chase after, which makes the going easier and quicker.
I started with the 43″ size, and then decreased to the 39″ to accommodate my more hippy figure, and it’s resulted in a longer garment as I did the decreases accordingly and didn’t try to do them quicker. I like it this way: hip-length things have always looked good on me, especially if it’s well-fitted. Which this garment is. It also gives the cardi a lovely drape, especially when I wear it unbuttoned.
Princess seams shape the body, the decreases and increases done on the wrong side, which is brilliant because you can’t see them, and also the reverse stocking stitch hides it all so well. The reverse stocking stitch background also gives a lovely platform on which the cables really pop out and make themselves known.
All the garter stitch details – the lower band, the cuffs, the button and neckband – are wonderfully squishy. Especially around the gorgeous collar. Garter stitch, folded over, is possibly the squishiest thing ever. The collar is shaped with short rows, and as a bonus, in garter stitch you don’t have to pick up all those wraps! You just keep going and you get a superb result.
I’d previously never seamed anything before, garment or not. Luckily, Ruth helpfully furnishes her blog with seaming tutorials which makes the job incredibly easy. She also dedicated an entire blogpost to this design, with handy tips and tricks. If every designer did this, we would all be fearless.
While this is my first garment, I will say that the construction has totally convinced me of seams. Yes, I know. I think working in the flat, certainly for a cardigan, means that you can divide up the work much more easily, and you know you can stop at the end of a row. I think I might have keeled over from sheer boredom if I’d had to knit for miles and miles round and round and round.
Seaming also gave me a break from the knitting. I got tired of knitting the buttonband at one point and decided to spend the rest of the day seaming up the sleeves, which was kind of therapeutic, in a weird sort of way. The break gave me the impetus to get on with the rest of the band, because it really meant that there wasn’t much more to do!
Setting the sleeves was a daunting prospect, but thanks to Ruth’s precise maths and my (luckily) good and exact gauge, there were no issues at all. Everything fit into place perfectly: no rucking, no tugging, no fixing. I could never have been more pleased.
I found the buttons at Loop, much to my relief. I didn’t really fancy having to go on a massive button-hunt. The warm black ceramic gives warmth to the colour of the cardi, and are light enough to not weigh down the band but still strong. Again, having a garter stitch band makes it easy to mark a straight line on which the buttons go. That and lots of coil-less safety pins.
The fabric is glorious. It was a sunny but very cold day today, but I didn’t feel the least bit chilly while getting these photos taken, especially considering how deep the cut of the cardi is. It’s great on its own and it layers very well under a coat.
I think the only bit that I wish I could have done better were the sleeves. They came out a little long, but then given what I said about the squishiness of folded-over garter stitch, it isn’t a massive issue. Plus the extra length keeps my hands warm.
I’m very proud of this project. Not just because I actually finished something so big in such good time, and not just because I’ve finally accomplished the one thing that has always eluded me, which was knitting an actual wearable object that wasn’t an accessory.
But I am so proud – so very unspeakably proud – to be able to call such a talented and brilliant designer my friend. Thank you, Ruth, for something so beautiful and so intuitive, and for being so inspiring and encouraging.
Pattern: Montview Cardigan, by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud (www.rockandpurl.com)
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed Aran in Dusty SH728
Needles: 5.0mm for the body, sleeves and bands, 5.5mm for casting on the lower band and casting off of the body, 6.0mm for casting on the cuffs and casting off the button and neckband.