Thursday, September 17, 2015

Improv: a cardigan DIY

 
 

 

All it takes is for me to feel chilly for one second, or for a cloud to appear in the sky, or for me to be reminded again about walking in leaves or in one of those early, decorative snowfalls where there's no wind and the flakes are sparse and friendly, and your cheeks get a little rosy, you know what I mean, and bam, a cardigan goes on the needles. Usually gray.

It's not like I don't have a bunch of gray cardigans already. But this is what we do, isn't it?

There's no pattern for this cardigan, and I didn't even write down what I did, but I made it my new favorite way, which is to just cast on some stitches at the neck, increase for awhile at the raglan seams, then knit the body until I'm happy with how long/big it is. Sleeves follow in much the same way, where I just decrease occasionally until they are the right length. Button bands are added last, and I don't even want to worry about button holes, so I just crochet a couple loops on at the very end and then scrounge up some buttons from the stash. Honestly, this is such a great way to do things. Try it, really. Working improvisationally, whatever your chosen medium, is the best way I know to grow creatively, or as an artist, and also, it is really unbeatable for getting what you want out of your efforts. I wanted this cardigan, and nobody had designed it yet--always there is a shawl collar or a hood, or the cables are honking, or it hugs the derriere a little more than I can handle, and yes, you can always modify these designs, but then I wonder, why don't I just dispense with the modifying altogether and do what I want?

For years and years, I cut my own hair (I know, my hair is all over the place. Don't hold it against Morgan, who does her best now, but she has her work cut out for her) because otherwise there was all kinds of explaining what I wanted and trying to find somebody who understood me and who I was/wanted to be, and then they would give me a haircut and it would be kind of too good, if you know what I mean. Too neat, and I am not neat, and I didn't feel like myself, so I always hacked at it a little with the nail scissors after I got home, and then I thought, why the heck am I paying for this at all? I already know what I want and I'll just do it myself. So I did, and it was just fine. Actually, I'd still be doing that now if I didn't hate cleaning up the bathroom afterwards, and besides, I love having somebody else wash my hair. It's worth it just for that. Anyway, the Fall 2015 Cardigan is done, worked in Paton's Classic (probably close to 1800 yards) Grey Mix on US 6 needles. It--of course--fits me perfectly, and is just exactly what I imagined when I drew this:

 

The cardigan is done, but the hair is a work in progress. I feel armed against the cold now, in a way I somehow didn't before. Ridiculous, but there you have it.

 

32 comments:

  1. Oh it's lovely! The length is just right, the sleeves look long enough to hold onto it needed (I've a thing with sweaters or jackets, I want to be able to hold the ends of the sleeves xD ), and the whole thing just looks like Fall (and being ready for Fall). :D

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  2. You are so talented. I love the cables and the finishing trims as well.

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  3. Loooove the neckline. And the long sleeves, eh?! But as for improvising...oh jeepers, as usual, standing in awe here ;-)

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  4. Nice! I know what you mean about that pull. I knit a greenish cardigan every September!

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  5. Fabulous and talented to just knit without a pattern xxx

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  6. I wish I could do that I really do, but I have no idea of how to visualise shapes that you need to make a cardigan - or anything else. No spatial awareness skills and hardly any maths. I just don't understand shapes and I don't understand how to mirror shaping for the other side which sometimes patterns get you to do without telling you how. I had an explanation once on ravelry about that, but I just couldn't understand and I really did try. It's a shame because I knit quite nicely and can do it forwards, backwards, left and right handed and a assortment of national styles (mostly really rather useless in the scheme of things) but the what's and how's of putting it to any good use without following a pattern really do just fry my brain. I made some wrist warmers once to my own pattern and that just about did for me.

    I love your new grey cardigan and you look great in it. Grey is such a good colour!
    Sara

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  7. Beautiful. I haven't yet progressed to sweaters, but some day.....

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  8. I just love this sweater even my color. I so wish I could do this create a sweater without a pattern. I suppose if I took the time to learn or maybe if someone did a nice post explaining it all in easy terms. Either way a gorgeous sweater.

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  9. I just love this sweater even my color. I so wish I could do this create a sweater without a pattern. I suppose if I took the time to learn or maybe if someone did a nice post explaining it all in easy terms. Either way a gorgeous sweater.

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  10. Impressive, I am in awe of your talent, beautiful.

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  11. Bravo, Kristen! How grand to create a cardigan that is really, truly yours. I am impressed by how quickly you knit...as well as your designer talent.

    Happy Autumn! xo

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  12. Your sweater is exactly perfect! I love everything about it - the length, the color, the cables, the finishing details. How absolutely liberating it must be to create your own knits. BRAVO! I'm envious ... and I do love your hair - you wear it with much aplomb!

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  13. that is just beautiful. It is still quite hot here although we can feel Autumn in the air we haven't seen much of it as of yet. I am not worried though....I just know it will blow in quite fiercely overnight very soon and then I will have my sweater time.

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  14. Great cardigan and great hair. Jo x

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  15. The cardigan is fabulous and so is your hair. I love that you are very aware of what you want and you go for it.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  16. It's lovely - you're very clever (and I love the cabling)

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  17. Wow! No pattern? I have a lot more knitting to do before I can bang out a sweater improvisationally! A scarf? Yes. Likewise, a baby blanket, a hat, mittens, okay, but a sweater?......mmmm, not yet. And the hair? I cut and color my own. But it is not a challenge to keep it all one length, one color. Someday maybe, I'll have something a little more artful, but for now....y'know. :)

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  18. Your cardigan is gorgeous and it is YOU! The neckline is what I like, simple. Your hair is so pretty! I wish I could get my curls/waves to look so pretty. My hair has always had a mind of its own!

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  19. Love - cardie and hair!! Clever you! Jen

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  20. very clever designing the cardigan, i just love how simply you did the cables! any chance of a pattern? (nudge, nudge) just love it! it's very flattering to you & your hair is lovely too!
    loved the photography too; well done!
    thanx for sharing

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    1. Thank you so much! My hair is a constant battle. Re: pattern--I made no notes at all, so I'm afraid not. This thing was completely made up as I went. You can do that, too, though! :)

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  21. The cardigan is so pretty and looks very cosy to wear.

    Corine

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  22. You are so clever!!! It looks gorgeous, so cosy, the type of cardi that will go with anything and everything.
    As ever your creativity and productivity amaze and inspire me Kristen!
    Gill xx

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