I’m back with my second Knit for Victory project! Today is the last day of the challenge, can you believe it?
It was actually a fluke that this project was finished before KFV wrapped up. All last week I was sick, and as I was starting to feel better, I started knitting up Andi Satterlund‘s Hetty cardigan. By the weekend it became apparent I was going to be able to finish it in time, so just under the buzzer I suddenly had a second Knit for Victory project!
This project marks a yarn milestone: have you ever had a yarn in your stash you loved so much that you had a hard time knitting it? I don’t mean actually breaking into it and knitting with it, but turning that knitting into a finished project. The yarn is Mama Blue Troika worsted, in the colorway Lagoon. It was dyed by someone who stopped dyeing a few years ago, and it’s always been just about my most favorite stash yarn. I tried to knit it at least twice, but fizzled out because the projects weren’t quite right. The color is just stunning, and it’s a merino cashmere blend, so it’s soft and cozy beyond belief. (Like, bury your face in it cozy.) You can see why I wanted it to be Just Right!
And finally, I got it right this time! I’m so happy!
I’ve long admired Andi‘s patterns, which all have both a modern and vintage appeal. However, this was the first time I’d actually knit one! And it literally just flew off my needles. I think it was the fact I was finally feeling better (and could do something other than lay around) coupled with a great pattern, worsted weight yarn and the excitement of knowing I finally had the perfect project for this yarn. So I knit this in 6 days. I know I knit fast (I’ve been asked how, but my answer is “I don’t know how, I just do!”) but even that’s pretty crazypants for me. All I can say is this yarn really wanted to be a Hetty!
Sometimes you have to trust yourself, and there’s one area in this cardigan that I didn’t trust myself: the length. And it’s a matter of construction preference that led me to this problem. Here’s why.
I tend to be a bottom up knitter. I measure and compare to my blocked gauge as I go, and use gauge and math only to determine how long to knit the body from the hem to the armholes. There is no “try on as you go” in bottom up knitting. After years of knitting sweaters this doesn’t bother me. If my gauge pre-blocked and post-blocked is ANY different (and it often is), trying on as I go doesn’t do me any good anyway, really, because what I’m looking at on my body is pre-blocked knitting that won’t be the exact same fit or length post-blocked.
Hetty is knit from the top down. And while I wanted the cardigan to hit at my waist, and I knew my yarn was going to grown in length after blocking, I succumbed to the lure of “try on as you go” and second-guessed myself. I was almost to the end of the ribbing, and my knitting was at the length I planned it to be according to how my yarn would react when blocking (i.e it was going to grow like a mofo because it’s a lacy pattern and worsted weight superwash yarn). However, when I tried it on, my brain convinced me it was going to end up way too short (even though I knew it would grow in length). So I ripped all the ribbing back, added 2 more inches to the length of the lace part and then knit the ribbing again.
And what did I get? You guessed it: a sweater that’s longer than I wanted.
Note to self: Self, do not try on as you go. Trust your math.
For those fans of top-down seamless sleeves, Hetty has that, too! I did notice that while blocking my cardigan I was being very careful not to stretch the pieces but accidentally blocked the armhole depth too small, so the sleeves were riding up a bit. However it’s now been re-blocked and all is well.
I love the buttons, too. Because I was knitting this so fast and then suddenly for an unplanned deadline (AKA making it a Knit for Victory project), I had to make do with what I had, so I used these vintage buttons in kind of an interesting dark gray/green/teal. I think they worked out nicely!
The only real way my version diverged from the pattern was that I made the shoulders wider (documented on my Ravelry project page) and used seed stitch for the button bands and neckband. Typically 1940s cardigans have button bands done in one of the following ways: knit as a thin long strap of 1×1 ribbing which is then sewn to the cardigan fronts, knit along with the body in garter stitch or seed stitch, or picked up and crocheted on after. The more common modern technique of picking up along the edge and knitting ribbing didn’t seem to hit the 40s, so I opted not to do it for my Hetty.
Instead, I took a cue from a 40s pattern in my stash that was worsted weight and featured 1×1 ribbing on the hem and cuffs like Hetty, but had seed stitch for the neckband and button bands. While the vintage pattern had the bands knit with the body, I picked up along the edges and knit them after the rest of the cardigan was complete, but before blocking. Since it’s seed stitch you’d never know the difference either way. And I’m really pleased with how it looks! I may have to do this on a future cardigan, too.
Here’s a secret little thing I do whenever I have an extra button, a tip I got from vintage cardigans: sew an extra button at the bottom, in case you lose on in the future!
I love this pattern so much that I may knit another one (that actually hits at my waist like I wanted this one to)! But I’m not going to complain. I love this cardigan so much and I’m going to wear the hell out of it!
And that’s a wrap for Knit for Victory!
Thank you to all the Knit for Victory participants. It’s been a great 3 months, and it all ends today.
100 people in the Flickr group, over 200 in the Ravelry group, and spread out over the world! There’s been so many amazing finished projects and WIPs. (And you still have until midnight in your own time zone to post your finished projects in either location.) Sweaters, accessories, you name it! Some of you were even inspired to finish projects you hadn’t touched in months. And very flattering to me, several of you chose to knit my Victory pattern as your very first fair isle project. This challenge has been a blast. I’m one very proud and happy vintage knitter right now!
Stay tuned in early February for the round-up of finished projects, courtesy of Rochelle. Thanks again everyone, and keep on knitting! ♥