FO: DROPS Design 88-4 Cardigan

by exercisebeforeknitting

DROPS Design 88-4 Cardigan

Pattern: DROPS Design Cardigan 88-4 (Ravelry link here), 37″ size

Yarn: Queensland Kathmandu DK Tweed

Needles: US 3 for the cabled ribbing, US 6 for the stockinette portions

I made many, many modifications to this sweater. As knitting patterns go, DROPS and Phildar both seem to have an unhealthy obsession with bound off decreases and sewn-on edgings. Perhaps a more experienced knitter out there could help me understand why these techniques are better than ssk/k2tog decreases and picked up stitches. This pattern calls for bound off decreases at the neckline, the sleeve cap and the armholes. The first time around, I did as I was told. If my camera lens hadn’t broken in the process, I would present you pictures of the neckline’s ugliness with those stair-stepped decreases. I reworked the neck several times before I decided to rip the stockinette parts of the sweater and redo with ssk/k2tog decreases, as you can see from my previous post. Isn’t that much cleaner?

DROPS Design 88-4 Cardigan

As for the neckline itself, I ended up picking up 138 stitches and knitting a garter stitch band, which is what I thought the pattern called for when I started. It is always so hard to see details in DROPS photos, the price, I suppose, of a free pattern. It turns out that the pattern calls for a curled reverse stockinette band. In general, I find reverse stockinette bands look a bit sloppy and I thought a garter stitch band would both look cleaner and match the garter stitch button bands.

DROPS Design 88-4 Cardigan

I also ripped the sleeves because they were way too wide, in spite of my gauge being dead on. Because I reduced the width from almost 15″ to 12″, I had to knit a long sleeve cap in order for the sleeve to fit in the armhole without puckering. Not to fear, good old Pythagoras and some algebra came to my rescue and the sleeve went in perfectly.

While I absolutely love this sweater (and the yarn), there are a few things that I find a bit dissatisfying. First, I knit the 37.5″ size for a 35″ chest and no matter how many times I blocked this sweater to size, the cardigan puckers at the buttons. If I were to do it again, I would simply use more buttons. I think any ribbed sweater would pucker with only four small buttons. Secondly, the first button is not placed until 4″ up. As a result, the bottom looks a bit funny when buttoned up, as you can see in the picture above.

I also think I would consider making the 37.5″ size for the cabled ribbing and switch to the 33″ size for the top. I think the top is a bit too wide for me. When I put it on, I make an extra effort to pull the sleeve seams up to my actual shoulder line. They’ll stay there without a problem but I wouldn’t have to think about it if the shoulders were an inch or two narrower. You can see what I mean in this picture if you’ll forgive me for looking like such a goober.

DROPS Design 88-4 Cardigan

While I love the cabled ribbing, I would likely only drop down to a US 5 needle next time around. The pattern calls for the ribbing to be knit on 3s while the rest of the sweater is done on 6s. Frankly, the ribbed pattern shrinks up so much that I doubt the needle difference would be a problem. On the contrary, I imagine it would make the sweater easier to block. Unblocked and unstretched, the cardigan measured 22″ around at the waist. There’s really no question about blocking – 22″ is not meant to stretch that much when the garment is held closed with a mere four buttons.

There’s another finished sweater waiting to be blogged but it’s black and you know what that’s like for pictures. Maybe when Aaron’s off from work next week I’ll get some worth saving.