Saturday, October 18, 2008

Climate-Appropriate Knitwear

I love my mother-in-law. I know that this goes against convention but hey, that's me. I'm a rebel.

So when I wanted to make something for her birthday, I wanted it to be really special. Last year, I had this crazy notion that I wanted to knit her a shawl. Looking back, this is crazy because I hadn't picked up my knitting needles in over ten years and had to go to the library to get a how-to book. Who knits a whole freaking shawl as a warm-up project? Also, I knit it out of acrylic. I know, not too classy but I wasn't the fiber snob that I am now. And she lives in the desert - Palm Springs California where winter is just one week long and it's not even a proper winter. She swears she used it when she would sit out on her patio at night. But I don't know... I think she's just trying to be nice.

Pattern: Sunspots Cardigan KK275 by Karabella
Yarn: KnitPicks Cotlin in Coral
Needles: US 7

The pattern uses a Barbara Walker stitch pattern called Sunspots. It's a fun knit - definitely not TV knitting. But so many errors in the pattern. Left and right are mixed up at one point and the charts for the decreases are completely wrong. I searched Karabella's website for errata and when I couldn't find anything I emailed them. Two weeks later I got a response telling me to email Berta K (the designer) directly. Nothing. So I winged it. I got out my trusty Stitch Motif Maker 3 and charted the decreases myself. The first chart I did is a little wonky although it didn't make much of a difference in the end result. It was so frustrating that for a pattern I actually spent money on I couldn't get any help on the errata. But I do have to say that by the end of this project, I was feeling pretty confident. Yeah, I got skills. I got mad skills.

As for the yarn, I had knitted with Cotlin before and liked it but I'm not sure if it was the best yarn for this project. I chose Cotlin because I wanted to keep in mind that the recipient lives in the desert. Cotton and linen are ideal fibers for warmer weather but the end result didn't drape as well as I would have liked. Too stiff. Maybe it will relax with wear.

My mother-in-law loved it. She called the Yarn Widower right away (I rarely answer my cell phone and often forget to turn it on). I knew he was talking about the cardigan when he said, "It beats the crap out of anything Nan used to knit." Cheeky.

Here's a crappy picture of me modeling it. I should have used the flash. And sat up straighter. And put on makeup. Maybe drop a few pounds. But hey, I still got mad skills.

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