Exeter, onward

I’m in the final stretch of knitting Exeter. The back is done, one sleeve is done, and both fronts are done, shown here pre-blocking. The construction method the designer chose is one I haven’t seen before: you cast on for the full width of the front and knit the ribbing and pocket lining, then you divide it in half and knit the cable panel separately from the ribbed section and collar, which are done on a smaller needle for added stability and structure.

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It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that with all of the ripping out and recalculating and reknitting I’ve done on this cardigan, I’ll have knit the whole thing twice over by the time I’m done. I don’t mind redoing my knitting, generally speaking. I’m certainly not hurting for sweaters and since I’m on something of a mission to make fewer, better garments for myself, I’d rather put in the extra effort and end up with something that’s as close to perfect as I can get. Some of that extra effort on this sweater has been required because my row gauge is so far off from the pattern, so things like the increase rate of the shawl collar and the decrease rate of the sleeve caps have taken a lot of trial and error. But a whole whack of it has been pure boneheadedness, like when I left out an entire pattern repeat on one of the fronts or this buttonhole error:

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The ugliness of the one on the left had bothered me all along, but it wasn’t until 30 rows on that I realized it was especially ugly because I’d put it in the wrong place. See how the one on the right just disappears into the fabric? That’s because the hole cuts across a knit column and the tightly pulled edges disappear into the recessive purl columns. The one on the left is exactly the opposite. I tried to ladder down to fix it, but that wasn’t happening. And because that row of buttonholes is located below where the two halves of the front were split, I had to rip out the entire, completed cable panel, the pocket lining, and a couple rows of the bottom ribbing until I could redo the buttonholes. It was not ideal, but the only way out is through, after all.

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Lucky for me, I had a lot of help from this little monkey.

WIP: Exeter

One of the ways I’m choosing to be guided by my word of the year is to focus on a few core projects that may take longer to make and require more thought and attention, but that I’ll love wholeheartedly and want to wear to tatters. The first project coming under that umbrella is Exeter.
exeter-6-600x900The silhouette is similar to one of my most coveted ready-to-wear pieces of recent years, Everlane‘s chunky knit cardigan, but with a more knitterly stitch pattern and nice construction details like knit-in pockets.
main.original.585x0The yarn I’m using, Imperial Yarn’s 2-ply Columbia, s amazing, especially once it’s washed. It’s incredibly soft for such a sturdy yarn, has phenomenal stitch definition, and manages to feel both rustic and luxurious. I love how essentially sheep-y it is. I’m finding that I have less and less patience for the kind of heavily processed yarns that make up the bulk of the handknitting market, though that’s a rant that’s probably best saved for another time.

It’s a little heavier weight than Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, which the pattern is written for, so I’m following the numbers for the smallest size in order to end up with a medium-sized sweater. The back came together pretty smoothly and I was almost finished with the first front when I made an unhappy discovery: I’d left out a full repeat between the ribbing and the armhole shaping. (Since the ribbed portions are knit to a firmer gauge than the cable and lace portions, each of the front pieces is separated after the bottom ribbing, knit in two pieces, then seamed later.)
IMG_4548.JPGThere was nothing for it, but to rip back and reknit it.
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