Cardigan, Christmas, Lace

A Kelmscott for Christmas

Yeah, I know. The title of this post makes it sound like a made-for-TV Hallmark movie. I can’t help it that the folks at Hallmark are marketing geniuses. Just let it go and settle into a comfy chair by the fire with some rum and eggnog and listen to my seasonal story…

Once upon a time last year, I found myself lamenting that I didn’t have a proper Christmas sweater. If I were a ‘legious-type person, I would say that this was sacrilegious. How-the-ever, since last year we went nowhere and saw no one for the holidays, it didn’t make no nevermind. But! There was destined to be a next year, with all hope of more regular Christmas-type activities and socializing and whatnot (which has sorta-kinda come to pass…damn, you Omicron!) Shortly after the un-holidays, I began plans to rectify this untenable situation.

First, the pattern:

Carol Sunday’s Kelmscott cardi has been in my Rav queue since it was published in 2009. Every time I browsed my queue and saw it, I would stop and sigh at it’s elegant, soft, sweetness.

It practically *screams* Christmas, don’t it?

Right. So, it took all of 30 seconds to choose a pattern.

Now, the yarn:

It had to be special. It had to be soft, but not fuzzy (I’m not the biggest fan of fuzzy yarn). And, naturally, it had to be red. The right red, a good red, a me red.

A modicum of typety-typing in the Google brought me to this:

Anzula For Better or Worsted in…wait for it…Madam.

80% merino, 10% nylon, 10% cashmere =100% lusciousness.

I couldn’t get all seven skeins from one place, so I bought up everything they had in stock at Webs and Purl Soho. I had it all in hand about mid-January 2021.

Fast forward to November…as I juggled a bazillion other projects, it dawned on my…I hadn’t started the sweater yet and Christmas was coming…and fast.

Okay okay, no worries. It’s worsted weight yarn on 4.5 mm needles (a welcome weight shift from the light fingering cardi I had just finished). Yup, lots of complex lace work. Yup, a big old collar that’s like knitting an extra body piece. Yup, worsted or not, I needed to get cracking.

First up, modifications. As this is a fabulous pattern, practically personally designed for my taste and figure, it didn’t need much. I decided to make a medium size all over, except for the fronts, which I would knit in size large widthwise, to ensure ample coverage over the chestal area. Calculate, calculate. Done.

Next, a plain back? I think not. Let’s add a few repeats of the lace work to the center back. Calculate, calculate. Done.

Moving along, extra long sleeves that I will just push up onto my forearms anyway? Nuh uh. Three-quarter sleeves now and forever. Calculate, calculate. Done and done.

Finally, as the yarn came from two different sources, in two quite different dye lots (hand dyes just be like that), I recognized that it would be prudent to alternate skeins of each dye lot every few rows. The skeins blended together nicely without any obnoxious pooling or striping.

Soon, the body pieces were flying off the needles onto the blocking boards.

Yeah, those are my cool new blocking pins I got from Jimmy Beans. Nifty, eh? Soooo much faster than fiddly little single pins.

Miraculously, there were no errors, no frogging, no changing of my oh-so changeable mind. It was simply knit knit knit, block block block, seam seam seam, and viola…

The apples, people…how about them?!

It’s so so so pretty, surely Knicole, you wouldn’t change a thing? Actually, maybe. Actually, probably. I feel like the collar is just a smidge on the skimpy side. The one aspect of my physique that I failed to account for was my broad, square shoulders. The collar, as knitted, just kinda sorta wants to pull a teeny tiny bit around my upper arms. If you look just right, you can see the lower edge in the front there curling up a wee bit. Is it bugging me? Uh, yah. A wee bit.

No problem, you say, surely that piece was picked up at the neck edge and knit out. You can just undo the bind off and knit some more on the…

Um, no. It was cast on at the outer edge and decreased into the neckline, then sewn on. It’s going to have to come off, get frogged, and reknit. Methinks rather than trying to alter the quite complex series of collar charts, I may just knit it on a larger needle. I’ll swatch it up the flag pole and see if I’m prone to saluting.

Anywho, that’s for later. For now, it’s all good and I’m content as a puppy getting a belly rub.

I hope you have a happy whatever your holidays look like. Stay safe. Connect with your loved-folks and eat, drink, and be merry (if being merry is your thing).

And as always, knit well and I’ll see you next year!



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