Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blue and pink hand-knitted cardigan

This is another thing unearthed in my winter woolies sort-out, that hasn't been photographed or written about here...
I do feel a bit silly for having forgotten about all these things... but here we go.
I started knitting this cardigan while I was expecting Sam, and then managed to finish it shortly after he was born, thus making it now exactly seventeen years old.  It's been worn a tonne, as you can imagine, like any casual garment is... I think I've even taken it camping.  Which now I think of all the work I put into making it immaculately and perfectly finished seems kind of sacrilegious... woops  Since this sort of big patterned knitted cardigan became very unfashionable some years ago I kinda stopped wearing it so much.  Although I think as I am wearing it today with a mini-dress and textured tights moderns it up a touch, brings it acceptably into this decade, yes?
It is knitted in the intarsia method, so each of those strips and little triangles of colour is knitted with its own separate little ball of wool.  I can remember knitting it; with masses of little balls of wool on their individual cardboard winders dangling off the back, occasionally getting caught and twisted up with each other, and painstakingly sorting them out, looping the old ball over each new one as each new colour block came up.  I was such a DIY-er (er, still am, I suppose!) I even made my own winders, cutting them out of old cereal boxes, refusing to buy the little plastic ones you see in knitting shops... they had little slits cut in them for the wool to sit through so the balls stayed neatly wound up and wouldn't unravel while I was knitting... 
In the best hand-knitter's tradition the cardigan has no knots in it.  All the loose ends are either spliced or woven in, or stitched in an interwoven method in the closest joining seam.  I learnt these finishing methods from my friend J, also a keen knitter, who had taken on work knitting for some big Australian hand-knit range... not sure which now, it might have been Jenny Kee, maybe not.  She had been sent instructions on how to properly finish off a hand-knit garment, and obviously knots were one of the biggest no-no's.  I'm ashamed to say we had both been knotting up until then... but we learnt from these fantastic instructions.  Since then I've always scrupulously stayed away from knots in any hand-knitted garment.


Details:
Cardigan; handknit by me, from various shades of Patons 8 ply pure merino wool.  The pattern was from a Patons pamphlet, no. 1105
Dress; Burda 8511 with modifications, purple raw silk, details here
Tights; Metalicus
Shoes; Francesco Morichetti, from Zomp shoes
below: the "wrong" side showing the intarsia knitting method with each block of colour a distinct and separate block with no loops of yarn across the back.  All the ends are interwoven into the joining seams, and there are absolutely NO knots!

19 comments:

  1. Oh wow, you knitted your cardigan (yes I know you knit) this is such a huge job with all those little balls of wool.

    The way you have styled it with the mini-dress and textured tights is perfect and wear it with pride.

    Looks like I need to do some you-tube searching for how to finish off a hand-knit garment properly. I still use knots but managed to keep them at the seams, not in the middle of the garment.

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  2. I don't knit so I think I am doubly impressed with the sweater. Your work is really amazing!

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  3. I am totally in awe of your handknitting skills, that jumper is totally amazing! And another vote for the styling too - with the clean and narrow lines of the dress and tights it looks super cool and retro, rather than dated, great!

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  4. Such patience! I'm afraid my one and only fair-isle hand knit had loops :< but no knots :)
    Beautiful cardigan, I love it!

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  5. I too knit and I've never heard of the intarsia method but it sure looks to be neat on the inside.

    You are so good not knotting your wool together. I used to splice the ends but haven't knitted anything for years until now, got lazy and just knotted them. I must remedy this as it does look so much nicer and is not hard to do.

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  6. It might be a little out of style these days, but it is pretty fabulous! I am impressed with your skill and patience. I am trying to knit my first pull over ever. It's just stocking stitch. When it is time for a new ball of wool, I tried knitting the old and the new piece of yarn together, but it looked a bit lumpy. So I have tied them together on the back! Sounds like this was not the best method. I'd better have a scoot around the net to see what I could be doing instead.

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  7. It's a beautiful garment. I can see all the hours that went into it. I think you've succeeded in blending it with 21st century fashion.

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  8. Fantastic! I still haven't finished my first cardigan that i started last year!

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  9. I love that you show the pattern used in every posting and am intrigued by how often it's the same pattern from another posting with an entirely different look. We all know that's possible but it's sometimes hard to follow through on and you do a fabulous job of creating very individual garments. Once you're done the MMJ series, postings of the same pattern/different looks would be really fun to see - if that appeals to you. I remain amazed that you can wear the same clothes from seventeen years ago. I doubt I have any in my closet because for me that's about 20 pounds and a lot of inches ago.

    I went to knitting last night - finally. I think I've been twice since January when I got a job. I had to refamiliarize myself with the project before I left - LOL - so I'd know what I was doing. That meant looking at the picture because I'd forgotten what it looked like.

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  10. We called those "Cosby Sweaters" (after Bill Cosby) here in the US. Very popular in the 80s! It's a work of love, for sure. Intarsia is so complex and your dedication to inner finishing is impressive!

    The tights and skirt with the sweater look great! I can see why you love the cardi so much.

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  11. great to see your sweater from the 80's. I spent many hours with my grandmother who was a fantastic knitter, among other things she made Christmas stockings with a multicolor design of Santa, tree and our names knitted it, with angora for the fur. Oh how I wish I had learned to knit from her! so now I admire anyone with that skill. I keep trying to learn but I think it is too late for me :)

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  12. Just by the way, 17 yrs ago was in the 90's, not the 80's...

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  13. wow that's a complicated knitted cardigan! I'm impressed, so much work and patience!:)I had no idea you're a talented knitter as well!

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  14. Your cardigan really takes me back. Before I had my daughter 15 years ago I used to spend my evenings furiously knitting up amazing creations, which were usually dreamed up in my head. Sadly some time in the mid to late 90's knitting become something only Nanas did so never being someone to let something go to waste I pulled them all to pieces and knitted amazing creations for my daughter out of them. I have recently just finished a hoodie for my 7 year old son out of the last of the undone wool.

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  15. A little off topic, but thank you for your comments on my blog. I would respond to them on there but it doesn't seem to want to let me for some reason. I keep having to log in when I am logged in already...bazaar!

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  16. Your cardigan is beautifully made, like all your garments - I am looking at close ups in awe at your detail work, be assured!

    I am a bit shocked at reading "knitting become something only Nanas did". Do people really only continue crafts if they are fashionable and carried out by "young" people?
    Nannas rule for great skill sets IMO. Maye I will learn to knit really well and master chiffon by the time I am a grandmother.

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  17. Wow, the work that went into making this...amazing!

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  18. Thank you!
    Kathy, a fair isle knit is meant to have loops on the back, as all the colours are carried at the back of the knitting throughout, and only brought to the front when they are used. That is the nature of fair-isle...
    The intarsia method is a different method of knitting, that is not meant to have loops!

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  19. Nice cardigan! And so beautifully finished. Your description of the little balls of wool in different colours reminded me of my one and only tapestry-weaving attempt. Very similar!

    I do like it as part of this outfit. I can't really judge as to if it is this century as I love handknitted things so much they always look wonderful to me!

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