Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Angora Cardigan for Becky

I am always on the lookout for knitting patterns that I think will work well with angora or an angora blend yarn.  And I also want those patterns to be pretty simple--most of my knitting is done as I sit next to the girls while they do their schoolwork.  I have to be able to check their work using my manual.  A complicated pattern just won't work for me in this situation.

So it was definitely a case of love at first sight when I saw the ad for the Kid Seta Cardigan in  a knitting magazine published two years earlier.


For some reason, when you go to the Cascade Yarns patterns page, this pattern doesn't appear.  But if you Google the name of the pattern, it pops up. 

I just knew it would be the perfect pattern for a lightweight angora-blend sweater.  Becky and Charlotte fell in love with the pattern, too.

I decided to use the fiber from Fudge's baby coat.  Her baby fiber was absolutely ideal for spinning--extremely little webbing (tiny, tiny tangles at the ends of the fibers), which is quite unusual for a baby coat.  I spun one ply of her chocolate angora fiber and one ply of alpaca I got from a friend.  Becky loved the natural colors of the fibers, so I didn't dye the yarn.  

The pattern called for about 1800 yards of yarn.  However, based on my previous experience, I figured I could get away with less.  I spun 1300 yards.  I thought I might need a little more, but because I wasn't dyeing the yarn, I wasn't too worried about it.

I entered one of the two skeins I spun at that time in the Nevada State Fair.  It got second place in the blended hand spun yarns class.  I was competing with much more experienced spinners, so I was pleased with that result.

I had to adjust the pattern somewhat.  I still wanted to use the size 6 needles called for, but that threw my gauge off for the number of rows by about 17%.  However, it was such a simple pattern to alter that it didn't matter much.  That drastically reduced the amount of yarn I needed, but I still had to spin another 50 yards at the end.

It looks better on a real person than on the table.

The result of using an angora-alpaca blend is a very lightweight sweater--just 7.25 ounces--that is quite warm and so very soft. 

Charlotte is modeling for me, so the sweater doesn't fit quite right.  Becky, it seems, is never home.
I have already started making the same sweater for Charlotte and me to share using Phantom's baby wool.  However, I am making a few changes to the pattern that I wanted to make the first time around, but didn't dare because I was concerned I lacked the experience to make more substantial changes to a pattern.  I want to seam as little as possible.  It's not that I dislike seaming itself.  I really don't have a problem with it.  But I do hugely dislike counting rows.  So if I make it in one piece from the bottom to the armholes, then I don't have to count the rows.  Sleeves will be knit in the round and sewn in.  They will also be about two inches shorter.   I will use a three needle bind off to join the shoulders.  And I am using size 4 needles this time, but I am still getting the same gauge as I did with size 6 needles.   Go figure.

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