The knitted chevron edged cardigan for infants and toddlers represented a challenge that would expand my kniting skills and play with my creative side. Although I have a considerable stash of yarn and a print as well as an online library of knitted and crocheted patterns, I still the felt the need of new inspiration. At these moments, I venture to my favorite independent knitting shop, The Yarn Barn, in Woodbridge, Connecticut. The proprietor lets me wander at will, but is always available to offer a new pattern or yarn to fill my knitting needs. My chevron pattern came from a booklet published by Classic Elite Yarns. Although the pattern called for four 50 gram skeins of Liberty Wool, the cost was prohibitive for a sweater that a toddler would wear for only a few months. Since I wanted the banded streaked effect, Arabella turned me to a selection of Toybox Candy by Plymouth Yarn. Two 100 gram skeins would easily do the job. I was pleased to select a colorway with ivory, dusty rose, and brownish grey that would look wonderful with my granddaughter's complexion and the clothes in her wardrobe. The featured buttons were outsize, and I was lucky to find the 1 inch dusty pink and polka dotted buttons at a local mega-craft store. They would harmonize with the sweater and provide an interesting pattern.
The chevron edging and color had drawn me to the sweater in the first place. With each of my projects I like to teach myself something new: a stitch, a technique, a pattern, a new type of yarn. While the ripple stitch is a crocheting mainstay, I had not yet attempted this technique in knitting.
The directions seemed simple, but I went along, I never seemed to end at the right place with the correct number of stitches left over. After several attempts at the bottom I was relieved to knit in stockinette for several inches.
The main body of the sweater is knitted in one piece. At the arm hole, the sweater is divided to construct the back and two front sides. The sleeves are knitted separately, stitched or crocheted up the side and inserted into the body of the sweater.
Since my buttons at 1 inch were a bit larger than the ones called for. I added two rows to the garter stitch button band. At this point I began the chevron collar and experienced the same difficulty I had with the bottom of the sweater. I knitted and frogged and knitted again. I was sorely tempted to abandon the piece and begin a project that was less frustrating. However, I knew that if I put the piece down to languish in a box of works to be continued, my granddaughter would have outgrown the cardigan before she even got a chance to wear it. At last I finished the chevron effect and knitted the rest of the collar in stockinette.
The pattern called for a three needle bind off for neatly attaching the collar. I dutifully googled the term and found a simple tutorial for the technique. I even mastered the process. However, the collar would not lay straight. I had to frog again, bind off the color edge and attach it to the body of the sweater with a neat crocheted stitch. I was quite proud of myself. I had mastered several new stitches and the chevron edge. Although the 3 needle bind off did not work for this project, I had another skill which would work for a straighter edge. My piece was ready for blocking before I took it over to my daughter's home the next morning. My son-in-law, Gabe, accommodated me, and we managed to get a squirming toddler into her new cardigan to pose for a few pictures.
Now that I had mastered the chevron edge, I would like to use the technique in future cardigans. This particular pattern tops out at 24 months, but I could substitute for a traditional ribbing on another pattern. However, I think I would prefer a simple band collar instead of the rippled effect. The sweater is comfortable and provides ample room at the chest and armhole. Although I took 1/2 off my armhole measurement, the arms were still too long for my petite granddaughter. The garter stitch band at the wrist makes it easy to fold up that part of the sleeve.
I can pat myself on the back for completing a challenging piece. Now I am ready to take on a new projects, a knitted scarf with a stockinette band that runs parallel to several inches of ribbon. It would be wonderful if I had the yarn in my stash. There are some special skeins just waiting for a creative treatment.