This summer was cool and grey, almost everywhere we went. Germany, Holland, Brugge, Trier. Cool and grey and I began to crave a sweater and warmth, especially in the basement apartment./ Rather paradoxically I was thinking a nice grey colour, since so many of the sweaters I’ve lately been attracted to are grey. It was Rainer’s idea to try red – and he was so right.
I wanted a swingy, comfortable, classic cardigan with a little bit of urban attitude. I was several thousand kilometers from all of my design-your-own books, so I had to really sit and think it through before I scrounged around on the internet. Intrigued by a number of round-yoked sweaters I’ve been seeing lately, especially Garter Love by Knittingdropout, I found a basic online tutorial and set to knitting. I gave myself about 3” ease because I’ve got a lot of things that fit snugly and was craving a bit of swing around the waistline.
I cast on in the basement apartment, but it was knit mostly on the road to Vienna and Budapest, hence the name Paprika. It’s the first sweater I’ve knit with wool smaller than worsted weight, but this sport-weight superwash merino was like heaven. Lana Grossa is my favourite yarn company, and this Cool Wool 2000 didn’t let me down at all. I didn’t mind the small stitches because it was a tactile delight to work them, and the fabric they produced was so bouncy, so smooshy, so marvelous that I was constantly fighting an urge to start collecting every colour of the yarn. (Although I did go buy a few more colours right before we came home.)
I was looking ahead to fall, tabulating all the projects I want to knit in order to keep the extremities of my family toasty warm in the prairie winter, as well as Christmas projects, and I realized that the best thing would be to get it done before we left Germany. Or I wouldn’t have a sweater for me til spring, and as I am both the knitter of the family and the coldest person in it, that seemed silly. I worked at it as often as I could while we weren’t touring palaces and galleries.
I did waist shaping, but it turned out to be unnecessary. I ripped back and took out the increases for the hips and kept it straight from there down. I could have just knit it straight without the waist decreases as well, but there was no way I was ripping back a second time to reknit the entire body for a small issue like that. I finished it the day before we left but the blocking had to wait for Canada and my bedroom floor. After blocking, the sleeves were too long, and so I cut them and bound off again, only to discover I’d somehow gone too short! So, picked up stitches along the bottom of each sleeve and added a bit of length. Which is apparent in the pictures because I haven’t had time to block that little bit into submission…I completed the sleeves while we were on the road to Winnipeg, so fitting for a sweater that was so involved with traveling.
The neckline was really stretchy and kept almost sliding off my shoulders, but after I whip-stitched some bias tape along the inside, it stabilized.
The yarn is to die for, the colour makes me feel somehow more like myself (like my soul is partying at the thought of it), and the swingy design is perfect for my life. The idea of a cardi that fastens only at the top is certainly something I’m going to be coming back to, once all the knitting I want to do for the loved ones in my life is done. Tempting examples include Asymmetrical Cabled Cardi, Shalom, Calvert, and Soft Linen Feather and Fan.