Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Home Depot Cardigan, or I am not a designer!

Disclaimer: I am not a designer!
No, I am much better at following directions than at writing them up.  Normally, I find a pattern for my next project somewhere (on Ravelry, in a book or magazine), then find a yarn for it, make a swatch, and if the gauge is the same or close I begin working on it.
However, sometimes, my starting point is a yarn. I had this yarn – Naturelle Chunky 14 ply, 100% pure New Zealand wool – in my stash for a while. I bought it for a winter cardigan that I never made. This year I decided to finally use it for another jacket. 
Cardigan is a staple of my older daughter’s wardrobe. She wears them everywhere and with everything and is constantly looking for a new one. And I try to provide her with a new handmade cardigan as often as I can. So I took this yarn with me to Florida hoping to find a good pattern for it.
There have been so many amazing patterns for big oversized cardigans from chunky yarn on Ravelry! I have a whole board on Pinterest full of them.  Yet, none of them asked for the same gauge (11 st. x 14 rs in 4” on size 7 mm needles) and I either had not enough or too much yarn for all of them.
So, after spending long hours looking for a matching pattern I decided to improvise it myself.
I repeat: I am not a designer! It just happened... One long afternoon that I had to spend in a Home Depot with a designer who worked on our kitchen cabinets I just visualized a cardigan and all of a sudden drew a sketch of a pattern. I call it “A Home Depot Effect”, it happens when you look at lots of different design options and materials for a long time. I don’t know about you, but I feel an urgent need to make something with my hands from scratch.
This is how this project got its name.
My first swatch was just white. And I didn’t like it. Looks like a cheap acrylic yarn. Boring.
Fortunately, I brought a bag of Cascade Kid Seta with me in four different colors (don’t ask me why I had this bag in the first place – it’s a long story). I took two slightly different brown threads of Kid Seta, added them to the white, and – voila! It doesn’t look cheap anymore. Far from it.

From the very beginning I wanted cables on this garment. Cables are my obsession “du jour” and they usually look classy and very British.
The cardigan was finished in a week. Thick yarn and big needles normally lead to quick results but in this case my impatience was my strongest motivator. I couldn’t wait to see the finished garment. And now you can see it as well.

Yes, there are some things that I would change and do differently next time but overall I am rather pleased with the outcome. Basically, I managed to incorporate everything that I wanted (long warm cardigan from chunky wool with cables and pockets) and use up quite a lot of stashed yarn in the process.

I summoned my inner Kim Hargreaves, found a belt, and used it during our photo shoot. If Kim’s books taught me something, it is the importance of a belt for quality pictures. Of course, the cardigan can be worn without a belt.


Since I am thinking about using the same pattern again I decided to write it down. 
Again, DISCLAIMER # 150 – I am not a designer! All the details are on my Ravelry page. All the charts are here (yes, I made charts for the first time in my life and I am really proud of myself!)
Chart A

Chart B




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