Cashmere Jubilee

Posted: July 23, 2010 in Ramblings
 
That is the name I gave to this Alex-sweater, first real attempt at machine knitting, project, because it looks sort of like a cherries-on-fire theme.
 
There’s quite a saga to this one.  Want to hear it?  Of course you do!
 
This is the same yarn combo as in the center (largest) machine-knit bag in the picture below.  Alex really loved that bag and asked me to make him a sweater with those yarns.  OK, fine.  I had no real plans for them.  So I cast onto the machine and started knitting.  These were two yarns stranded together, both laceweight 100% cashmeres from Colourmart.  One (orange) was called Aragosta and the other (pinkish) was called Marchesa.
 
As I knit it became clear that I was going to run out of Marchesa before finishing the garment.  (It was slightly thicker, and therefore less yardage per cone, than Aragosta.)  To help forestall any weird design issues that might result, I decided to knit one really long rectangle and then cut a steek for the neckline, instead of trying to guess at the finished length, start a front piece, and (possibly) run out of yarn.  So I machine-knit a really long rectangle, as wide as Alex needed for a sweater (plus ease to allow for shrinkage during finishing).  I just kept going until there was no more Marchesa left.  The rectangle was long enough.  That’s sorted.
 
When it came off the machine, there was a garbled section near the rear right hem where several stitches had dropped and made a bit of a mess.  I cut a piece of faux leather and sewing-machine-stitched it behind the hole in the garment to keep it from fraying further.  (Couldn’t see how to fix the stitches with any knitting technique.)  Purchased the racecar patch and sewed it on the front side, over the mess.  So, that’s sorted.
 
Now it was time to cut the steek for the neckline.  Well, cashmere doesn’t steek nicely, so I first pinned out the area to cut, then zigzag-stitched around that hole, and then cut out the fabric inside the hole.  My original intent was to allow the cut strands to unravel down to the zigzags, to make a decorative neckline, but this looked like garbage, AND, it failed to cover up the zigzags…so this neckline was looking pretty bad.  Well, thinks I, why not machine-knit a collar and sleeves using the remaining Aragosta yarn plus some cherry-colored other cashmere I have hanging around?
 
Cast on the machine, knit a "thing" (supposed to be a short sleeve).  Started the second "short sleeve," finished it, took it off the machine, discovered the second one was only 1" long whereas the first one was 3.5" long.  Argh, scrap the sleeve idea.  I’ll make it a vest.  Hey, I’ll use the wider sleeve piece as the collar!
 
No dice; couldn’t get it to attach right.  By this point I’m out of the cherry-colored cashmere and almost out of Aragosta, so it was time to come up with another solution.  Luckily, I had a spare skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in a cherry red color.  I picked up around the sleeve openings and knit some ribbing, and then picked up around the neckline and knit some ribbing.  To conceal the mess from the zigzag stitching, I made this ribbing extra tall, and then folded it down to the inside and seamed it down.  Now you can’t see the mess!
 
I finally finished all this Macgyvering tonight and flung it in the laundry.  "Ack," I hear you screaming, "cashmere in the laundry?"  Well, the test piece – the pillowcase or bag shown below – responded very well to this treatment with minimal shrinking.  I didn’t really fear for that.  I’m not planning to throw this in the machine every time we do laundry, but the Colourmart yarns are oiled specifically for machine-knitting, so while they’re a bit gritty to work with, they bloom and soften beautifully in the wash.  So this was the Inaugural Wash.
 
After the cold water wash and tumble dry, we took it out and Alex tried it on…and VOILA, your favorite knitter has TRIUMPHED AGAIN!  All that monkeying around has resulted in a really nice little sweater.  It fits him nicely, it looks and feels good.  I wouldn’t hesitate this to show this garment to even the most discerning of judges (although I wouldn’t expect fulsome praise from them either).  I am happy with it, and pleased with my perseverance and knowledge of how to tinker with problems and fix them.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Cashmere Jubilee!
 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s