Autumn knitting – a tale of two cardigans

Back to Nanook

Nepal yarnIn October last year I started knitting a Nanook cardigan in lovely, squishy Drops Nepal. It’s knitted all-in-one, from the top down, which meant that I soon had a lot of stitches on my needle. The only problem was, at that time the only circular needle of the right size that I possessed was an awful thing with an inflexible plastic tube joining two bamboo points that smelt strongly of varnish. I’d bought a set of these 60cm (24”) needles very cheaply from China, because I wasn’t sure if I was going to get on well with circulars. I used my Chinese needles for the occasional hat or collar, but this was the first time that I’d tried to use one of them for a whole garment, and it wasn’t up to the job. Apart from anything else, as the number of stitches increased over the shoulders of my cardigan, it soon became apparent that a 60cm needle was far too short. So I put that project away and dropped strong hints that I’d like a decent set of interchangeable needles for Christmas.

Well, Christmas came and I got my set of KnitPro circulars. But by then I was well into other knitting projects, and when they were finished it was spring and I had no enthusiasm for knitting Nepal, an Aran weight wool/alpaca blend. Now, after 6 months of knitting in cotton and linen, I suddenly feel like tackling a heavier, woollier project again. Autumn is funny like that.

Shoulders of Nanook cardigan Nanook has come out of hibernation, been transferred to a non-smelly circular needle of adequate length and flexibility, and I am already below the armholes. I am getting through the yarn at a terrific rate though, and I’m worried that I’ll need to buy some more. Which presents a problem, seeing as the dye lot is unlikely to be still available after all this time and nowhere locally sells Drops since Arcadia Textiles in Elland gave up being a yarn supplier. If only I’d restarted the project a few weeks ago, then I could have tried to find a match at one of the Yarndale stalls selling that brand. Ah well. I will keep going until I run out, work out how many more balls I need and then decide what to do.

The lace collar is in a reversible stitch, so it looks equally good open or closed.  If I have enough yarn, I’ll knit lacy cuffs too and graft them onto the bottom of the sleeves – a necessary step, seeing as the scalloped edge is the cast-on and the sleeves are knitted top down, like the body.

I love the increases across the back and shoulders.  They are described as lifted increases, because the stitch in the row below is lifted up onto the needle and then knitted to create the extra stitch, and I don’t think I’ve done them before.

Back of Nanook cardigan

That’s my red row counter safety-pinned to the collar, in case you’re wondering.  I can never find it unless I attach it the the garment.  I know I could slip it onto the cable of the circular needle while I’m knitting back and forth, but I find that awkward for some reason.

Adrift again

Blocking Adrift cardiganIn the meantime, I have blocked my second Titus Adrift and taken a few photos before putting it away to be worn next summer. The weather is now so cool, with little power in the sun even when it is shining, that it took 5 days to dry after being soaked and then blotted in a towel prior to pinning out. I’m happy with it, although it still has quite a firm, linen-ey handle. At Yarndale I had a good feel of a scarf that had been knitted in the same Bergère de France Bigarelle and was surprisingly soft and drapey, so I’m expecting my cardigan will also soften once it has had a proper wash.

Side view of Adrift cardiFront view of Adrift Again cardigan

About yorkshirecrafter

I live and work in West Yorkshire.  I've always enjoyed crafts of all types, from woodwork to lace-making.  I also enjoy anything mathematical, which makes knitting a favourite pastime, especially complicated designs.  I've been advising businesses and industry on environmental matters for 30 years and also have an interest in green living, especially where it saves me money. I live with my husband and our Maine Coon in a 100-year-old cottage that constantly needs something doing to it.  Fortunately, I enjoy DIY too.
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