So, you know all the fun I had knitting the boyfriend’s Charmed Sweater? Well, it seems I’ve decided to set myself another Herculean knitting task.
My little brother will turn 30 at the beginning of June. Yes, yes, I know 30 is not little, especially when the brother in question is well over 6 foot and built like a tank, but whether he likes it or not he will always be my little brother.
The brother has not asked for a sweater, this is all my idea, so I shall have no one but myself to blame when it all goes horribly wrong. But for one reason and another I have the urge to bundle him in some woolly goodness. However, unlike me, he doesn’t really get cold (see earlier ‘built like a tank’ comment) so big jumpers are definitely out.
So, several weeks ago, after I had rendered him immobile with a Sunday roast dinner, I suggested a cardigan. I then showed him various designs, patterns, things I had knitted, and quizzed him on his views of all of them. Once I explained what the hell DK was, he conceded that, yes, a DK weight cardigan sounded good. And he liked the idea of a few simple cables.
As to his other preferences, he does not like hoods, collars, or anything too bulky or textured. Button bands are often annoying as he’s never cold enough to actually use them. On the one hand this is brilliant, as it means I can omit a great many twiddly details but, on the downside, it makes finding a pattern even more difficult.
I’ve returned to trusty New Lanark for the yarn, this time opting for the DK Natural Blend in Pebble, a mid-grey, with his approval. I’ve measured both him and the cardigan he was wearing at the time, and am slightly drowning in maths.
I knew that most of this was going to have to be done on-the-fly but I wanted to try and find some sort of base pattern that could help me get started. After hours on Ravelry, I tried the Summer Tweed sweater, by Heidi Kirrmaier, as a top-down raglan. By knitting the V-neck version and then simply not joining it together, I could make a seamless cardigan. I pretty much followed the pattern, adding two simple cable panels on the back.
On Monday night, I divided the sleeves and body. And last night I realised my gauge is off and the chest is too small; the measurements for the two fronts are the same as the back, so there is no room for a button band; and even if I add a button band (without buttons) I worry the fronts will curl.
I think I can correct the gauge difference simply by making a slightly bigger size, so I ripped back about three inches of knitting, to do some more raglan increases. But working out how to amend the fronts, and what to do about the button bands, is making my head spin.
Obviously I can do fewer increases on the fronts (but should these be deducted from the V neck shaping or the front shaping?), and leave an inch or two for a button band, but I’m still not convinced they will lie flat. And something about the whole thing just doesn’t quite seem right and I don’t want to frantically knit a 44″ sweater that turns out to be crap. I am full of ‘meh’ for this cardigan.
Obviously I’m never going to get it done in time for his birthday, a little over two weeks from now, but I want to be able to show him what I’ve got so far. He could do with a little knitting mojo and I seem to have mislaid mine.
So, what are the options? I could pick up where I’ve left off, and continue with the original plan. I could rip it out and start again bottom up, with a pattern of my own devising Zimmerman style, knitting a button band as part of the front to help keep it flat. I could choose another pattern and try and modify it slightly – Emilien without the hood or zip; or this without the stripes and less fitted; or Ranger with a different collar (and possibly no texture?) although there comes a point where it hardly seems worth using a pattern if I’m going to deviate from it so much.
Maybe I just need to have a chat with the brother and see what he thinks, but any other ideas would be gratefully received at this point.