I bought the Madelinetosh DK yarn for this newly finished cardigan on my birthday in 2013 at Downtown Yarns in Manhattan. It was day 2 of living there. We literally arrived in New York and the first thing I did after waking up the first morning was head to a yarn shop (it was my birthday after all). I snagged 5 skeins in the Oxblood colourway, and honestly that was so long ago that I don't really remember how I decided to begin knitting this Slant Special cardigan with it. I think I was attracted to the idea of the chevron pattern somewhat disappearing and becoming more about texture than pattern when knit up in a dark colour (it is so hard to photograph, though). I must have found the book at a thrift store, or my great aunt Franca did (I get a lot of great stuff from her that way). I then apparently saw this picture in the book and said, "yes, I want to knit that". It baffles me.
Nonetheless, I knit it and it turned out amazing. So, let me tell you about that process. It's a three-year story, so get a snack. I'm kidding, not about the three year part, but I'll make this snappy.
I knit the back first, and this is probably the only reason I finished it at all. After all that work I wasn't willing to frog it. Had I begun with the two front pieces there is no way I would have finished because that part of the pattern was maddening. The biggest complaints I have are that there were no charts and only one side of it is written out. The directions for the second half basically reads, "okay, now do the same as the right side but backwards". It was then that I realized why knitters read through a pattern before they knit it (Although, why anyone would think that it is okay to just flat out not write an entire section of a pattern is beyond me). I put it away for over a year before finally deciding to soldier through and write that part of the pattern out myself. I had three big pieces finished and could see how it was shaping up and wasn't overly thrilled so I put it down for another long while. When I picked it up again I decided pretty quickly that I didn't want baggy sleeves, nor did I want chevrons on them. So, I searched on Ravelry for a pattern that had a fitted sleeve using a similar yarn and gauge and used that pattern's stitch count to create my sleeves, knitting them cuff up. I decided to knit them in reverse stockinette - my favourite plain stitch. I loved how the first sleeve knit up but I was bored with all the purling so I put it down for another few months. I only got around to the second sleeve months later because I had learned about Portuguese knitting, and the easiest stitch with Portuguese knitting is the purl stitch - perfect for a reverse stockinette stitch. So, that's when I whipped up the second sleeve. 'Whipped' being the operative word - if you're a throwing knitter (english style) Portuguese knitting purl stitches is WAY faster, and super easy to pick up (I've never been able to pick up continental style).
To finish it up I knit the button bands and neck in a plain 2X2 rib. The buttons are copper-esque polymide from Urban Yarns.
It's by far my favourite sweater even though I knit the button holes too big (I won't be able to button it up until I reknit that part). I'm in love with the feel and look of the MadTosh DK, and it wears well so far, too (not too much pilling). One big downside is that because I knit it to fit my shoulders (as opposed to hang off them 80s style) It's all 'round smaller and I'm unable to close the top button comfortably, and it doesn't look good either, so I just won't ever be able to button it up that far. On the upside, though, it's the first sweater that I've worn where the sleeves are a bit long (I have really long arms) - and it feels amazing. When I first blocked it I was worried the arms were looking freakishly long, but it turns out they are the perfect length for wearing down or rolled up. Happy Janna.
Hi, I'm Janna. I'm a tapestry weaver, longtime knitter, and 2013 graduate of Concordia University's Fibres and Material Practices program. In my art practice I combine textiles and socially engaged media. Here on the VY blog I mostly share my knits, local events and about other local artists and crafters.