Jun 9, 2007

May I Present: The Hot Lava Cardigan

You have been patient dearest reader, and I will make you wait no longer.
After about 3 weeks of knitting on and off, plus 1 full day of blocking, my Hot Lava Cardigan made its debut in our photo studio yard on Friday.

Hot Lava Cardigan 001
Pattern: Hot Lava Cardigan by Blue Alvarez Designs
Needle: US Size 10 ½ (for collar) and 11 for sleeves and body
Started: May 15, 2007 / Finished: June 4, 2007

If you’ve perused my sidebar lists, you’ll see that this is one of the items on my “I Can’t Wait to Make These” list. I couldn’t add it to my progress bar list of course, because that would have spoiled the surprise. This shrug (it doesn’t really strike me as a cardigan) has been on my wish list for more than a year. It’s actually one of the first projects I downloaded from the web and stashed away to make. The only delay all this time has been to find just the right yarn – enter Noro Iro.

Hot Lava Cardigan 002
Yarn: 5 skeins Noro Iro, Color # 43?
Purchased at Knit NY in January 2007
Retail ~ $19.99 per skein (I won yarn money in Atlantic City – hee hee)

Noro’s Self-striping blended yarn is 75% wool and 25% silk, and if you’ve ever felt Kureyon or some of the other Noro yarns, you know that that little bit of silk can make the difference between “mmmmmm” and “yes, it’s a gorgeous colorway, now get it off my skin!!”. But I digress.

This yarn was mostly great to work with. I have to qualify that because the fiber itself was wonderful. There wasn’t too much slubbiness so my gauge stayed on track most of the way through. And the colors flow well into each other. That is until you come across a knot. And in 5 skeins of this, I came across at minimum 3 knots per skein. Uh huh. You know what that can mean for a sweater knit in the round that you’re cruising along with – unexpected and unwanted stops and starts.

Two things about the knots: On the one hand, it didn’t allow me to predict color changes in the striping as I would have liked. But I gave up a notion of perfectly symmetrical sleeves and fronts right from the beginning, so that was fine. On the other hand, coming across my first knot jolted my memory about using a felted join. Because these are all natural fibers, I was able to undo the knots, wet the two ends of the yarn and rub them together to felt them – then I just kept knitting away. Well, the major triumph here of course is that I used this SAME technique for joining a new ball of the yarn. And what does that mean? I only had THREE ends to weave in when I was all done. Beauty!

Hot Lava Cardigan 005
Sleeves knit using the Magic Loop method (very clear instructions!)
Shoulders/shrug knit back and forth on 24” circular
Back and front of the bolero section knit in the round on two 24” circulars

The other technique this sweater allowed me to really put to the test is blocking. It would have been difficult to show this in before and after shots, but trust me when I tell you that the shrug part of this was cutting off circulation and airways. After I blocked it, I could breath and smile and love it again. If you make this, you'll definitely want to try it on as you go - the shrug needs to fit well across your back, and the bolero section needs enough increases to fit around your back and curve just right toward to front to avoid curling. Knit and learn darlings, knit and learn!

That's all the news that's fit to print. If you're considering this project, do let me know!

P.S. I shared some of your compliments with hubby regarding the photos of my CPH, let’s just say he was VERY happy to get out in the yard and snap pictures of this project yesterday. Thanks you guys!!