Dahlia Cardigan

I hate it.


Doesn’t look too bad from the back right?  I mean, you can tell there’s something a little bit weird about the neckline, but it could just be the way I’m standing, a trick of the light, something non-fatal to the awesomeness of the sweater right?  Wrong.
What the hell sweater!  How can that be your neckline.  What are you from the 80s?  You think it’s cool to be all off-the-shoulder?  Well it’s not the 80s and that’s not cool!  You’re a #$%^*@! sweater.  You should cover me and keep me warm.  Now I know that I altered you heavily, but really all I did was shape the lower body–under the armpits–to bring it around so it can close in the front.  I love this sweater from the armpits down.  The neckline is unacceptable.
Now that I’m finished with this sweater I realize why the neckline is so dumbass.  Because the back is one giant rectangle.  It is in no way shaped to account for the shoulders.  SHOULDERS!  Everyone has them.  It’s dumbass not to account for them.  The sweater needs a yoke.  It is impossible to give this sweater a yoke if you knit the back as written.  I would have to take the sweater all the way back to a giant pile of yarn and completely write my own pattern to create something I wanted to wear.  Le Sigh.
I always forget that even if some pictures look OK, you have to keep in mind that mostly people are posing for pictures and maybe they’re trying really hard to hide the dumbass aspects.  Well with the above photos I have done my best to show you exactly what sucks about this sweater.
The leaves on the sleeves are cute, but they can’t really compensate for the lameness.  I love the yarn, but I don’t think I can stand to frog the whole sweater just to get the yarn back.  Anyone want an ugly sweater?

I’m not dead… yet

A little over a week ago I graduated from law school.  BAM.  Juris Doctrate.  Me. Earned. Done.  Well… not really done at all.  See, graduating law school doesn’t really mean #$@* if you don’t also pass the bar exam.  The bar exam is a TWO DAY test that basically requires you to know ALLTHELAW!  I’m taking a class to prepare and it’s basically resulting in 10-12 hours of work every day 7 days a week.  So if you don’t see me until July 26th, that’s why.

Proof that Ryan and I both graduated.
Proof that Adam woke up early enough to make it to the 10:30 am ceremony.
Even though I have been in the black hole of bar-study land, I have still been knitting.  In fact, I get a lot of knitting done because there are 3 to 4 hours of lecture every day and knitting through the lecture is about the only thing that keeps me awake.  I’ve got a sock quite near completion and today I cast off my Dahlia Cardigan.

I hated was not fond of the front of this cardigan, so I used decreases and short rows to heavily modify it.  The magazine actually does not show any straight-on photos of the front, so I didn’t know I hated it until it started popping up in people’s finished projects on Ravelry.  Normally I have a one-year rule: never knit anything until the pattern has been out for at least a year that way all the mistakes can be found by others and it will become readily apparent if it looks terrible on actual people.  I didn’t follow this rule and cast on as soon as the magazine arrived.  I was about halfway through the back before I started to realize that I hated the front.
My desire was to turn it from the weird hang-y thing that the pattern creates if you knit it as-written into something resembling a traditional cardigan.  I will know to what extent I succeeded when it is dry and I am able to try it on.  It was too curled up after knitting to see how it would actually hang, so I really have no idea what I’m going to get.  I can already tell that the neck will not be 100% what I would have wanted, but I think to truly “fix” the pattern I would have had to write a completely new pattern (as opposed to half a completely new pattern.)


May marks the beginning of the second year of the monthly knit-a-longs at my LYS For Yarn’s Sake.  Each month the shop picks a project and hosts some time once a week to work on it, get help, trade advice and modifications–it’s lovely.  I haven’t participated in all of them but have done quite a few.

Last May it was Jared Flood’s Rock Island.  It’s extremely intricate double-sided lace.  I got about 12 repeats into the border–you need 71… I’m planning to go back to it now that school is over and I can focus on things like double sided lace.  Here’s what I have:

Pathetic, I know.

June was not a month I participated.  The project was the Radian Yoke sweater by Wendy Barnard.  I love this cute summer tee and plan to make it eventually, I just didn’t have the time or (if you can believe it) the right yarn.
July and August were devoted to the same project.  The Lissajous Socks by Cookie A.   I’m still actively working on these.  Actually, “actively” might be a bit strong.  “Reluctantly” is more accurate.  Now that the knit-a-long is well over I’ve only been working on them for an hour a week at sock hour at the yarn shop.  I have one complete and I’m almost through the big chart for the second one.
Turns out, slow and steady does NOT win the race.

September was also a month I participated.  And also a project I have yet to finish.  I’m also still working on my Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti.  This one is so close to being done I can taste it.  All I have left is the left front of the cardigan.  I don’t have a photo since finishing the right front, but I did snap one after I had finished the back and sleeves.  Hopefully I will be showing this off as an FO soon.

October was another intense lace project–the True Love Stole by Wendy Johnson.  This was a project that a lot of the knitters had a hard time getting into (the chart is a 45-row repeat!) and I doubt I’ll ever really sit down to make this one.  I do think it’s lovely though–just too fiddly for me currently.  Maybe someday I’ll want something really fiddly and I’ll come back to this one.
November and December were devoted to the Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers.  I didn’t get in on this project either because finals were just heating up for fall term and I didn’t have the time.
January was scheduled as a “catch-up” month and I spent some extra quality time with Dahlia–after you finish the lace back it’s a never ending sea of stockinette.
February was the first project that I actually finished (don’t judge!) and only because it was a hat.  The Rustling Leaves Beret by Alana Dakos was a nice quick knit and allowed me to use up some silk-alpaca handspun I was itching to find a project for.
Yeah for small victories!

March and April was another two-month project with a twist.  We got to choose to either make the Gnarled Oak Cardigan or the Wildflower Cardigan both also by Alana Dakos.  Some crazy women decided to knit both since we had two months.  In two months I didn’t even manage to finish the back piece of the Wildflower.  I don’t have a picture of my progress yet since right now it’s just a big slab of stockinette.  All of the fun is on the front of this one.  When I get something more interesting than a rectangle of stockinette I’ll show it off.
Now, year two is kicking off with a beautiful little shawlette from Ysolda Teague–the Pear Drop.  Do you think I will be able to finish within the month?

Now what?

I’ve been working on my Dahlia Cardigan every week at Knit Chat for quite a while (Since September) and now I’m not sure where to go.  I’ve known all along that I don’t care for front of the cardigan as written so the plan has always been to change it.

The cardigan is constructed in a strange way.  First, you knit a lace medallion in the round.

Then you knit two long strips that border the top and bottom of the medallion.  The strips are knit out from the center, so that you have live stitches on the left and right sides.

As written, after knitting the strips, you take the left and right side stitches all onto one needle and knit flat for a long time creating the draped rectangular fronts.  The sleeves are done as afterthought sleeves.  Meaning that as you knit, you put waste yarn in where the sleeve opening will be and later pull the waste yarn out and knit the sleeves from the live stitches.
Because I wanted to be able to try it on as a worked the fronts, I put the sides on waste yarn and knit the sleeves on first.  That way I would know how the fronts hang.
Now I’ve got both sleeves done (and the seams across the back have been sewn since the picture was taken) so it’s time to get serious and decide what to do about the fronts.  Since it’s knit sideways I can’t just steal the front of another cardigan that I like.  I’m thinking some combination of strategic short rows and decreases can get me to a more traditional cardigan look.  I think I’m just going to “try stuff” and see what happens.


Earlier this month I showed you the little boo boo I made on my Dahlia Cardigan.  Basically, I attached on of the back panels 180 degrees from how I should have.

Today was the day I decided to fix it.  To create the back strips you use a provisional cast on at the center and knit out in both directions.  To fix my boo boo, I started by unpicking one of the ends from the center so that I had two sets of live stitches.
I rotated the sides until there was no longer a mobius in the middle of my back.  Then I kitchner-ed the live stitches back together.
All in all, it took about an hour.  Not as much lost time as if I had to frog back to my original incorrect join.  I completed the right sleeve today and have just started the left.  Currently my fronts are on holders because I don’t like the original shaping of the front and I’m brainstorming how to fix it.  Suggestions?

Well Crap!

I’ve been working on my Dahlia Cardigan at knit chat for quite a while.   Here’s what I’ve got so far:

See the giant huge completely obvious problem?  This cardigan is constructed by first knitting the lace back in the round.  Then, because the lace doesn’t cover your whole back, you knit two strips to go on top and bottom of the lace to fill out the length of the back.  These strips are seamed to the top and bottom of the lace (as you can see, I haven’t sewn the seams yet.)  Then you put live stitches from the side on one long needle and knit the sides of the sweater out horizontally.  The sleeves are put in as afterthoughts, just like you would an afterthought heel.  Here’s the top back of the sweater:
No problem there, just need to sew the seem.  Here’s the bottom back of the sweater.
Yeah.  Oops.  Turns out, when I attached the strip that borders the bottom of the lace, I twisted it 180 degrees.  I made it a mobius.  Since my back is not a mobius, this is definitely a problem.  I can’t think of any solution other than ripping the side back to wear I attached the strip.  Hundreds of stitches and the set up for the afterthought sleeve all in vain.
Because I don’t want to deal with this obvious problem, I’m knitting the sleeve on the “good” side of the sweater.  Clearly I will have to do something about this eventually, but for now I’m just kicking myself and moving along like nothing is wrong.


I debated about posting about this since it’s not really far enough to have any good pictures, but this project is so heavenly I thought I would share the love.  I’ve been working on the Dahlia Cardigan for the past few weeks on and off and every time I pick up the project it’s pure bliss.

I’m not very far along because I have other projects that “need” to be done so I’ve been trying to be good and focus on them and only work on this every once a while but just look how lovely it is so far:


That is almost all of the lace panel for the back of the cardigan.  The lace is pretty simple but you have to keep track of where you are in the pattern since it is repeated 4 times every row.  The pattern starts with this fun bit a lace that is just the right amount of challenge, then changes to easy-breezy stockinette for the rest of the pattern with some interesting construction elements thrown in.

The pattern, as written, has long square fronts which look cute on some, but I’m not really into the flowing -front style that is so popular right now.  I plan to do some short-row experimentation and see if I can get a more typical cardigan style shaping.

The pattern is fun, but the real reason this project is heavenly to work on is the yarn.


This is String Theory Caper Sock.  Heaven.  This is hands down my favorite yarn.  Better than Malabrigo.  Better than Madeline Tosh.  It’s the perfect.  By clicking that link, and looking at the pictures above, you can see that their colors are absolutely amazing.  Sadly, what the pictures can’t show you is how amazing this yarn feels.  The yarn is 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon.  It’s so amazingly squishy and soft and snuggly and makes perfect plump squooshy stitches that just look happy.

The other two projects that I’m working on that “need” to be done sooner than later are some socks for my grandma to keep her feet warm this winter (she is having circulation issues and always has cold hands and feet) and a set of market bags for my mother that are long long long over due…  I try to work on those most of the day and just get a few guilty-pleasure rows of this cardigan in before bed.

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