Today, as I walked along the garden trails that my husband had laid out, I held my breath and marveled at the beauty, the lushness, the shapes, composition, and vibrant colors. I knew that at this moment, a fantastic canvas spread before me, and the garden was at its peak. It was time again to take inspiration from its majesty and creativity. Last season I dedicated two articles to this paradise and featured knitted and crocheted pieces that took their colors or shapes from the hostas, epimediums, and other companion plants.(http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/knitting-and--crocheting-a-view-from-the-garden) (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/crocheting-and-knitting-with-green-magic) This year I focused on the the colors of the grasses, the heuchera, and the flowering bushes. The striped hooded cardigan for my granddaughter was one result. I have a crocheted shawl as well, but that will be the subject for another article
Since my granddaughter does not particularly like to wear hats in the winter, my son-in-law really appreciated a hooded cardigan I had crocheted for his daughter during this past winter. When I found the printed pamphlet from the Plymouth Yarn Company, Jean nee Worsted 1922 at my local independent yarn shop, The Yarn Barn, I knew that it was the perfect vehicle for the luscious lime and snow worsted from my yarn stash bins. This was a premier yarn (#4) from the Twist house line from Joanne stores. Since it was last year's yarn, I knew I had to knit or crochet with it because there was no more yarn in that exact color in the store. Also, I had to get started before I would not have enough yarn to finish a garment that would fit her. The pattern called for a contrasting rib of a third color, but I wanted to use a beautiful set of flowered pink buttons that would look perfect on the lime green background. My granddaughter is a petite 17 months old now in June., and the 2 year size would probably take her though most of the winter. We dressed her in the sweater for some photos for this article, and as you can see, it is plenty roomy. Instructions for a child 1 to 8 years are included in the pattern.
The cardigan is made in the traditional way with separate back, fronts, set-in sleeves. The hood stitches were picked up from the collar. I had pay attention to my rows as I switched colors every 8 rows to create the broad stripes. Everything went smoothly until I had to make the final ribbing that stretched from the bottom of the right front up to the hood, across the hood, and down the final left side. I counted the stitches I needed to pick up carefully and followed the instructions that called for an inch and a half ribbing to match the sleeves and sweater bottom. However, when all was done and blocked with ends woven in, the ribbing extended too far and was rather waffly. I had done such a careful job of sewing in the ends, and it was impossible to find them to take out the ribbing. Therefore, I had to cut out the ribbing, start all over, and pray that I still had enough yarn for the rib band. The ribbing on the fronts lay flat, but I had to cut down on the ribbing on the hood. By pinching and squeezing the hood rib, I estimated that I had to eliminate about 18 stitches. Also, I knitted only 2 rib rows (instead of 4) before making the button holes. In all I had 5 rows + the pick up line instead of the 9 in the orginal rib. Now, the ribbing lay flat and neatly circled my granddaughter's face. Frogging and making the change was worth the effort.
When you knit or crochet from a pattern, you need to keep a watchful eye. Designers have the best intentions and test their work, but sometimes the directions may not work exactly for you. Before sewing in all of you ends, make sure that you have made the correct decisions and that you can easily undo your mistakes. Also, do not be afraid to make that alternation that in your best judgement will result in a better fitting garment.
As spring turns to summer, I look forward to sitting on the deck to continue my handiwork. I have taken so many pictures. Although the natural world inspires me, it is hard to replicate the exact colors and textures. I am excited at the possibilities, the combinations, the patterns. I am never bored if I have yarn, needles, or hooks in my hands.