I finished a sweater for me! This is not something that happens every day.
Project: Tappan Zee Pulled Taffy
Pattern: Tappan Zee Cardigan
Designer: Amy King
Available: FREE! on Knitty.com
Yarn: Decadent Fibers Pulled Taffy in Red Hot Pepper
I bought this yarn on spec back in June, at the 20th (and final) Granite State Knit-In. I’m sorry to say that a LYS had brought all their merchandise and were selling it off at 2-for-1 because they were closing their doors. I’m glad to say I found two skeins of this astonishing fiber, each normally $35. I decided to take a leap of faith and buy both — almost-a-sweater for $35 was too good a deal to pass up.
Once I had it home, it proved to be a bit of a challenge. First of all, though it claims to be DK, it really feels and knits up closer to worsted. Also, it turns out that 980 yards is not quite enough to make most things, at least not in size large-enough-to-fit-me. I finally settled on Tappan Zee — a pattern I queued in large part because I love the eponymous bridge! I used to drive back and forth from DC to Boston fairly frequently, and every time I saw signs for Tappan Zee it made me happy. Try saying it aloud — you’ll be happy too!
Swatching told me three things: first, I should expect worsted-ish gauge. I decided to follow the pattern for a proportionately smaller size, which ended up working great. Second, blocking the swatch told me that this yarn would bleed dye something awful. This turned out to be a good thing, because the fully saturated color was a bit much — I prefer the toned-down color after blocking. Third, the fabric is also appreciably softer after a good wash-and-block, which reassured me while I was knitting — the WIP sometimes felt a bit crunchy and oh-my-god bright red and orange. Thank goodness for swatching to tell me the truth.
One thing I changed in the pattern was the armholes. I really hate tight, binding armholes, so instead of casting off for the arms, then bridging the gap directly, I chose to cast on a handful of stitches under each arm. I must have goofed the math a bit, because my sleeves ended up a little ruffled — too much fabric up there. It bothered me at first, but my knit group claims they like it, so I’m slowly coming around.
I was about two dozen rows shy of the official “start the edging” point, when I noticed that the yarn ball hand dwindled to an ominously small size. I got out my new and wonderful super-accurate digital scale and weighed the ball before and after the next two rows … and discovered I had barely enough to finish the edging, but only if I started it RIGHT THEN. As it was, I had to rip out the swatch in order to bind off the last few inches. I think the finished cardi is long enough — any longer would have been odd, actually, which implies I shouldn’t have been doing quite so many rows in the first place.
The luckiest part of this project was that I found the perfect buttons. They seem as if they were dyed-to-match — and they were cheap, and they were the first ones I saw at the shop, and they came in a set of three!