Aran Wrap Cardigan: finally finished

I have finished the Aran Wrap Cardigan. Actually, I finished it last month, but it was so close to the deadline for entering it in the state fair that there wasn’t time to take pictures. But the fair is over and the sweater is back in my hands. Since I’ve been posting all my triumphs and agonies about knitting this as I went along, there’s not much left to say at this point.

Aran Wrap Cardigan, front viewAran Wrap Cardigan, back viewAran Wrap Cardigan laid flat

I entered it in the “adult sweater, texture cardigan” category at the fair, where it got 5th place and the gentlest (vaguest) comments I’ve ever received on an entry: “Nice knitting of interesting style. This was a big and competitive lot.”

Aran Wrap Cardigan in display case.
At the Minnesota State Fair: very nicely displayed.

In comparing notes with friends, I see several people were told theirs was a large and competitive lot. As hand knitting continues to be popular, the Creative Activities building is straining to hold all the entries—along with all the other creative activities, of course. Maybe I should resurrect my counted cross stitch skills: I haven’t seen much cross stitch at the fair in recent years!

Aran Wrap Cardigan: the upper body

As promised, a photo of the upper body of the Aran Wrap Cardigan.

partial sweater

I picked up the stitches for the left sleeve this evening. The picking-up went smoothly enough, but the next few rows (yes, rows) are proving to be a bit tricky. They’re short rows. Only after reading four paragraphs of additional clarification from the designer that she posted on Ravelry did I finally realize that each row is longer than the row before it—pretty much the opposite of what I’m used to with short rows. Clever.

The end of the sweater diet

It’s been months since I’ve finished a sweater. This doesn’t mean I haven’t started any: I’ve got quite a few unfinished sweaters lying about the place. (No, I’m not counting them. Even if I kept the total to myself, it would still depress me.) Since others have tried yarn diets—refusing to buy new yarn until they’ve used up something in their stashes—I decided to adapt that idea. Enter the sweater diet: I told myself that I wouldn’t start another sweater until I finished one. Ideally, with piles of lovely yarn calling to me to knit it, I’d pick a UFO and burn through it just to get it out of the way and then reward myself with a fresh project.

It was a fine hypothesis that failed to play out in real conditions. Oh, I did make some serious progress on one sweater, but after a gazillion rows of an dull pattern stitch on a sleeve that refused to lengthen, I loathed it. So I got around my self-imposed restriction by starting non-sweater projects: hats, cowls, iPad sleeves. For their part, the sweaters refused to finish knitting themselves. Stalemate.

Therefore, I’m admitting that self-denial in knitting works about as well as self-denial in eating. Either I’ll feel like finishing those sweaters someday or I won’t, but I’m not putting the rest of my knitting life on hold. After all, knitting is supposed to be fun. I want to start a new sweater—I’m starting a new sweater.

This is the left front of the Aran Wrap Cardigan. The one photograph with the pattern in Vogue Knitting was pleasant enough, but uninspiring. I fell in love with the sweater after I saw it in person at a Knitters’ Guild meeting—in fact, when I saw the official photo for the first time, I wondered if it was the same sweater.

While I love the rich cabling, I’m also fascinated by its unusual construction. It’s basically a rectangular shawl with sleeves. But even though I’ve seen many other pictures of it on Ravelry and I’ve studied the schematic in the pattern, exactly how this is going to drape on my body isn’t clear yet. For instance, in the photo below, I think the left edge will be the left front edge of the cardigan. But the right edge will be where I pick up and knit the bottom half of the cardigan. And that giant “buttonhole” at the top is the left armhole, which means the part of the sweater that’s directly to its left is the left shoulder and collar.

Aran Wrap Cardigan: left front

Uh-huh. I think this puppy is gonna be a mystery in many ways up until the moment I put it on for the first time and look in the mirror.

The yarn is City Tweed HW from Knit Picks; the color is Blue Blood. I’m in love with this yarn. It’s been surprisingly wonderful to work with. Oh, sure it looks nice, and I knew that going in. But even when the package arrived and I could hold the balls, I didn’t guess at how soft it would be knitted up. The balls are actually kind of hard and stiff, but then the yarn becomes snuggly and cozy knitted up (the deep cabling is probably helping with this). And I figure it’ll be a warm sweater when finished, since whenever I get distracted with talking and leave it lying on my lap for a bit, my legs get noticeably warmer.