WIP: Lumley

I finished the back of my cardigan yesterday. It has been a really quick knit so far - every time I sit down to work on it, the rows fly by - and it has been very satisfying too. I have not been knitting many garments this year for a number of reasons, so I'm extra-excited about knitting this one. To remind you of the stats: Pattern: Patsy by Kim Hargreaves Yarn: Rowan Baby Alpaca DK in "Cherry Red"

It is my first Hargreaves garment, but I suspect it will not be the last. Yesterday I sat thinking about my old blog post about plain knitting and how much I encouraged everyone to embrace plain knitting. Hargreaves must think along the same lines, because her designs are based upon the most basic stitch patterns: moss stitch, ribbing, stocking stitch, garter stitch .. but then she throws in little details that elevates the designs from being run-of-the-mill to actual gems. My current cardigan project has a few of Hargreaves details: the increases and decreases are cleverly hidden; the shoulder section gets an unexpected moss stitch pattern; the fronts have elegant tiny picots running up the button-band. The pattern does not scream to high heaven about its 'knitterliness' (this pattern has always frightened me with its loud 'knitterliness' as has this one) but there is much knitterly pleasure to be found in the fine print.

As a consequence of finding pleasure in the details, I have allowed myself to dwell over the finer aspects of knitting too.

I started knitting one of the fronts and began by exploring which cast-on method would be best. Yes, I know it is a bit late to ponder these things after having finished the back, but I felt like experimenting.

My preferred cast-on method is the longtail cast-on, but I tried out a couple of other methods to see which one would give me the neatest edge (and picot). The knitted cast-on is many people's favourite, but I found I had to knit the first row through the back-loops just to get an even-looking edge. I suspected the cable cast-on was going to provide the best-looking edge, but while it was neater than the knitted cast-on, it was less flexible than I would have liked. I swear I was two seconds away from attempting the Italian tubular cast-on (the bane of my knitting life!) .. but I ended up going back to the longtail method. Montse Stanley's The Knitter's Handbook is my go-to reference book for knitting techniques and I think she lists more than twenty cast-ons. I shall investigate.

As for why I'm calling the Patsy cardigan "Lumley" it should be fairly obvious..