August 12, 2015

22 Vogue Knitting and How I Became A Knitter -- Leora Schlanger Cardi







It's official. I've returned to the (magazine) fold from whence I came and Vogue Knitting is back in my world! After finishing this very-most-awesome pullover from Fall 2014, I couldn't resist and moved right on to Leora Schlanger's #26 Cardigan from Spring/Summer 2015.




You see, while I laud Vogue Knitting for its role in my birth as A Crazy Knitter, my patience was tried for a few doozy years there, and I admit to letting my subscription founder.

Do you want to know the silly way I started knitting?  Circa 2004, while I was living in Manhattan doing my Ph.D at Columbia University, I meandered through the Union Square Barnes and Noble and came upon this odd section which I can only refer to as "seasonal". There I found shelves and shelves of plastic pouched knitting kits by Suss Cousins, a Swedish knitwear designer for Hollywood films.


Just finding this photo on Google is exciting!

Now, I was always that crafter kid in school. The one who fastidiously put together wooden dinosaur skeletons or slaved over paint-by-numbers (which turned out to be mostly religious Last Supper-y forgeries because the most complicated kits were always pious). And yet -- even though my grandmother knitted, I never thought to ask her how or ever really seemed to care.  I remember the slippers and dolls she made, I even remember her asking for a pattern and yarn to knit me something while she was in the hospital during her last days. THAT would have been an honorable time to start knitting, Dayana! Shameful I know, but I suppose so much good has come out of the influence of a mass-market book franchise that I should just accept the workings of fate.

That kit had horrible horrible instructions. In fact, I brought it on a small vacation that instead of ending in romance, ended up with me alone and obsessed, up till dawn trying to figure out the Ikea version of the knit stitch.




It was only when I got home and learned that the internet was --HOLY MOLY-- the most gigantic resource, that I was able to figure it out.  Well, sort of. I still knit my first Suss kit garment rong. The purl stitch is twisted the whole way through, yikes! That's how I learned my favorite knitting quip: "IT'S A DESIGN ELEMENT, PEOPLE."


(Ah, youth.)

After I had gone through 4 of the kits, I decided to strike out on my own and I meandered to the magazine section of B&N. There I spotted this lovely lady on the cover with a tank top that was going to be MINE.


VK Spring/Summer 2004

I used my best acrylic (let's save the start of my stash for another day, shall we?) and managed, having fixed my purl stitch.  My seams are atrocious.  My end weaving is abominable (the ends are actually coming out of each of those woven cords in the front).  But it was Vogue Knitting instructions at their errata-laden finest, and I loved every second of it.





Well, that was a long segué into my Vogue Knitting renaissance, wasn't it? Let's talk about why I had to cast-on #26 Cardigan (oh VK, how I love thy naming scheme) immediately.




First, I wanted to stash bust. When only half a sweater uses fair-isle, you've got a good chance to use that annoying intermediate amount of stash: too much for an accessory, too little for a sweater. That's the solid red crochet cotton.




And shhh I HEAR YOU, I know you are laughing at the clownish yarn that makes up the rest of it... it's kind of awful! But I was walking through (now defunct) Zeller's and there was a whole bag of the crazy stuff for $10, only because it had no labels. All I had to do was walk down the aisle with labelled stuff to ID it as the sketchy Bernat "Satin Sport Ombres". Ultimately, this yarn is really poor quality stuff. It fuzzes, fluffs, pills -- every word under that thesaurus section. The colors are outrageous, and of course it is space-dyed for wacky pooling.




ETA: Some of you have asked how I got my elbows and bust to match. You might be interested in my post on Planned Pooling. This yarn is space-dyed by a machine and therefore has a very predictable pattern.  Just start your sleeves at the same point in the color sequence and you are good to go.

The original uses Koigu. Beautiful gorgeous Koigu -- I knew I was not going to replicate the beauty of the original with this Bernat nonsense. So why do it, you ask? Well, I don't let crappy yarn get in the way of what I really love about knitting: the process. My spidey sense detected a fascinating construction, and I wanted to figure it out.  It didn't matter with what! Are you apalled?  You say, "All this work for a bad yarn?!" You know, if I did knit way less than I do, I probably wouldn't buy crappy yarn ever and make all my garments in the best I could afford.  But I am a little machine, and my budget and desire to make crazy things has to overwhelm quality in the end.  KNITTING IS JUST TOO MUCH FUN TO WAIT FOR A BUDGET.

I get it if you have a different outlook.





The Construction:  The body is 3 pieces like a normal cardigan, but the back piece is actually a wedge that increases steadily from a narrow strip.







This allows the front to have that great diagonal drape!




To make the drape even better, short rows are used at the bust.  My clowny pooly yarn really shows it off well.  And look, the pooling even matches, a miracle!




Now, if I stand this way perfectly (don't blow!), everything looks great.  But the major issue with this cardigan is the open fronts.  They are stockinette, so they just curl inward... severely.  This is the natural stance.






I did modify the color a bit, there is a strange reverse stockinette part to the bottom that I didn't like... I made it all in stockinette and doubled it over until the bust.   It didn't make any difference to the drape.

So in comes my trusty stitch marker. Someday I might add a button and a loop? Still undecided.






Other issues to think about: the collar is really floppy.  For some reason it uses a much bigger needle. It's a nice lacy look, but I really wanted a collar than would stand up on it's own. You may want to go small and pick up way more stitches (but you'll have to recalculate the short row shaping).




Also, the sleeves were GINORMOUS. I didn't notice that until I had knit the entire thing and was swimming in it. But look:




I ripped it out (except I kept the cuffs and grafted them on later), and went to my top down, in-the-round, picked-up sleeve method detailed here. Much better, my goodness.




This was a ragingly fun garment to make. I didn't see the Himalayas in the original pattern, but I see them now with my bright Nepalese colors, don't you?







I may be a clown on a mountain, but I'm a happy one!


See my Himalaya on Ravelry








22 comments:

  1. the cardigan is definitely .... umm unique! We could all go back in time in ref to our stashes but luckily I've got senior centers nearby that want the "old" (ahem) stuff. I "purge" often!
    But I loved your process/blogging, and you know what? I bet the garment will turn out to be one of your favorite "knock around the house" things!
    Your "button" is the best!

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    1. Yes -- but darn, I already lost my button! :p

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  2. The pooling MATCHES. EVERYWHERE. Even on the sleeves.

    Consider me blown away!
    -- stashdragon

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    1. Yeah, I'm not quite sure how the bust came out the same-ish -- I mean, the ball went through fair-isle and short rows and somehow it matches?! The knitting gods were on my side. The sleeves were intentional, though -- just start at the same place in the ball color sequence and you're good to go. Sometimes yarn dyed by robots is a good thing!

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  3. Thanks for the high-energy, fun write-up on the sweater that grabbed me but that I didn't knit. Your use of the bargain yarn and your honest comments make for lots of laughter. On the serious side, I'm working on some top-down sleeves and appreciated the reference to The Emanating Sweater. I still have to re-read planned pooling. Keep knitting!

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    1. The Emanating Sweater turns out to be one of my MOST USED sweaters, and now I've used the technique 4 or 5 times. I have just read, though, of a new version. It's a book called Top Down by Elizabeth Doherty and it uses the same technique to pick up stitches and knit downward with short rows, but it does it in a more calculated way so it looks even better. Here is more info: http://quinceandco.com/blogs/news/55075267-in-depth-top-down

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  4. i loved the quote "vogue at its errata laden finest"...oh boy,did that hit the nail on the head... i had been gifted garbage bags of expensive yarn and boxes of knitting mags after a friend had a death in the family.some gorgeous gunmetal gray wool blend from italy deserved to be a special jacket....a search through those vintage mags yielded a bulky 3-button jacket with pockets and a stand-up collar.i had to gauge swatch a dozen times changing needles until i got gauge.this should have been ringing a dozen alarm bells,but i loved the stitch with the yarn,so i pressed on.the dang thing was knit in 8 or 9 pieces(!) and seamed together.i completed all pieces and began sewing,starting with shoulders.so far,so good....then the collar was sewn in place--i wound up with atleast 6 inches of neck opening than i had collar! i couldn't believe it! i checked the schematic and measured the pieces.they matched up,drawing to knitting,so what the heck was going on??? i pinned the sleeve caps into the armholes,to discover to my extreme dismay,that i had armholes atleast 6 inches bigger than the sleeve caps! no where in the pattern did it indicate,either in words or pictures,that i had to gather the pieces to fit! the seams on the garment in the pics were smooth and flat,no gathers! the whole lay of the garment would have been drastically alter if i persisted and forced the pieces to behave like the jacket i had so coveted...so,ultimately,i frogged--and to never knit a vogue pattern again before reading the errata,and not unless it was "very easy,very vogue"! and the yarn sat patiently,rewound and stored,until my search for the perfect pattern for it bore fruit...it will become carol feller's(stolen stitches)"iced" cardigan in due time.....:)

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    1. Oh no oh no! What a story. :( I have had many a snafu with VK patterns, but my problem is that I usually am one of the first to make it and I end up being the guinea pig that tries to save the poor souls about to dive in. This one in particular was TOTALLY off and I called the swimsuit coverup project Son of a Beach: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/dayana/21-lace-tunic

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  5. Hah! Loved this. I remember using an acrylic variegated "baby yarn" to knit a shrug...yes, it was "pinky-bluey", stretchy, and way off-scale--'cause. of course, I didn't swatch. (I didn't "get" swatching back then!) But I loved wearing that thing around the house forever when it was cold--I think I still have it stuck down somewhere!! Maybe I'll find that pattern and knit one that won't bag down to my knees! I really only learned to knit because I wanted to knit handmade socks, and I finally learned to do them. I knit less now, (just doing dishcloths and socks mostly, and less, because of arthritis), but I really want to get back into it more. I miss knitting different things so much, and I have a lot of yarn to knit up, books and magazines to dive back into (or get rid of!!). And, yet, I STILL think of buying more yarn---OH NO! I CANNOT, MUST NOT!! So--I think you've gotten me interested again--and yes, with your "Clown sweater!" Why should we wait 'til we've gotten that "perfect, too expensive" yarn" they suggest in the patterns---the yarn we can never afford anyway! We should just enjoy the process! Thanks so much!.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and oh man, I have a hooded poncho in some crazy pastel acrylic thick and thin from early in my knitting days. FRIGHTENING but I wore it all the time in the house, it was so comfy! (It is best for the universe that I never photographed it.) And: BUY ALL THE YARN! I don't know about you, but the thrill of finding an old bag of a yarn in a thrift shop or on a yard sale table is totally exhilarating and worth it even if I never touch the stuff again.

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  6. I so get that you wanted to use what you had!
    Right now I am thinking about maybe making Kaffe Fassett´s "Arezzo" out of odd balls and leftovers I have. Would it be as beautiful as the original? Probably not, but I know I´d really enjoy the process!

    Laril

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    1. Laril, you MUST you MUST! The project is very fun (just remember to be loose with your fair-isle bands). Most of the rows are one piece of yarn (as in you can't run them up the sides), so it is perfect for stash!

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    2. Thank you for the encouragment! I`ll post in the rowan group when I have something to show!

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  7. Diana, this cardigan is great. I would like to make a similar one, so inspiring!

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    1. Thanks Ute! It was so fun to do, really.

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  8. I have a subscription to Vogue Knitting too (well, they call it Designer Knitting over in the UK, but exact same mag) and this pattern went completely under the radar - it's so bland compared to your version. I love your mix of colours and attitude to knitting; it's so fun and refreshing. Another great knit!

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    1. Thanks my dear, and I am so flattered you think my crazy version is better than theirs. (yessssssss! and an arm pump)

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  9. Oh Dayana, I read your blog (alot) but mostly lurk and don't comment, this one brought me out of the shadows :) I knit alot of VK and could so relate to all your thoughts therein. And I love to try to make crappy yarn into something good...and sometimes I succeed! I am still not sure I am going to knit this sweater, just a little too fussy around the fronts for me I think, but the view from the back tempts me from time to time, and yours is spectacular, and also, you just can't beat Clown Climbing the Himalayas as a project name! Keep on knitting (I know you must) and blogging, even when you don't get comments, you are brightening someone's day!!!

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting and following Beth! Great things can come of crappy yarn -- start with low expectations, is what I say, ha! :D

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  10. Omg, I can so relate to your story. I started knitting around the same time and became devoted to VK even though every pattern I knit was full of errors. My favorite was the hexagon bolero by Norah G. So beautiful on the cover of VK but in reality knit up as a sloppy rendition of a bustier that Madonna would have worn back in the day! We just recently moved and I tossed most of those early f.o.'s, now I'm wishing I would have at least taken a picture!

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    1. Omg, I totally made that one too! They must have had 40 hairclips in back of the model holding up the excess. I remember sewing in snaps EVERYWHERE trying to get it to hang right. Yup, threw that away when I moved too... but I managed some photos in a position that forced it to lie alright. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/dayana/02-cabled-bolero

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    2. Dayana, I've found a few successful versions of this one on Rav! Try [klun's Cabled Bolero](http://www.ravelry.com/projects/klun/02-cabled-bolero) or [gusseting's TONOFWOOL capecho](http://www.ravelry.com/projects/gusseting/02-cabled-bolero). Needless to say, they made several changes which they've recorded on their project pages.
      -- stashdragon

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