Wrap Up - The Vogue Knitting Botanica Medallion Cardigan

It's taken me a while to get to this post. Honestly, I think that the sheer fact that I had completed this sweater was both overwhelming and exhausting, and I needed some time to process it all.

This is the issue that started it all - the spring/summer 2009 Vogue Knitting. I was not a hugely proficient knitter, in fact, had really only knit two baby sweaters for Harrison at that point. But I was so captivated by the cover project (the cardigan is designed by Shiri Mor) that I was determined to learn how to knit it.

Learning was the word of the day on this project. I learned so many things on this one project alone:

1) That there are things called Errata (errors in patterns). And you need to check with the publication for corrections before starting a new project. This was particularly insightful after trying repeatedly to start the project and have problem after problem and learning that the posted errata included a correction for the second line of the pattern.

2) How to knit in the round with double-pointed needles. Coordinated, I am not.

3) Lace (sort of). Or rather, the beginning of what lace is - a lot of yarn overs. Which is what YO stands for an a pattern - who knew?

4) How to do a Russian Splice. Thanks to Keri, I learned how to join cotton in the middle of a round in a way that is seamless and without having to weave in the ends from the start of a new ball and the end of an old one.

5) Specialty stitches. Lots, and lots of specialty stitches. Okay, maybe not lots, but it sure seemed like it at the time. They included a [SL 1 WYIF, K1] - whatever that is, a cable, raspberry stitch, and Indian cross stitch. And while doing them over and over again as I knit the outer band was tedious, it was easy to see how thoughtful Shiri had been with her design that the stitches were worked from tight to loose, so as to contribute a natural curve around the centre medallion. Ingenious!

6) Having a life line isn't a bad idea. This was especially true at the end, when I didn't have one and some of the outer band needed to be ripped back (more on that later). And that a life line can also be more abstract - mine was The Purple Purl and all the fab people there who kept encouraging me to keep going, especially Jen and Miko and also my S&B girls, Lara, Karen and Esther, who especially as a knitter told me that I COULD DO this! Thank you so much.

7) Know when to seek professional help. After spending all this time knitting the sweater, the last thing I wanted was to screw it up in the assembly, so I arranged for a private lesson with Kate of Wise Hilda Knits so that I could learn proper finishing technique. I learned some really great finishing tips from Kate (which is why I love her as a teacher, having taken a few of her classes at the Purl before) and am looking forward to taking her finishing class so that I can learn even more!

And finally, some pictures:

The centre medallion, blocked.

The outer band, blocked. Note the extra bit left over...

Detail of the outer band and the Indian cross stitch.

Kate cheerfully ripping back the excess of the outer band while I distract myself by taking a picture (and the rest of the girls at the Purl give me oxygen!). I think between 4 and 6 pattern repeats were ripped back, which is roughly 4-6 inches, or 16-24 rows.

First finishing step was to fold over part of the innermost edge of the outer band and tack it down on the wrong side.

Finishing step two was to seam the top and bottom edges of the outer band together. I forgot to take a picture. After that though, was to attach the outer band to the centre medallion. We pinned first. Stitch markers were handy.

Luckily, there was a big, open space on the floor at the Purl where this could be laid out and pinned! (I took this pic later at home). The small space between the two blue stitch markers marked where the armholes would be. I took the advice of people on Ravelry who had completed this project already and decided to position the outer band seam underneath the armhole so that it would be covered when my arms are at their sides.

Once that was done, two rounds of single crochet were done around the armhole edges. A nice detail for a final, finished piece.

Close-up of the centre medallion.

And voila!

I generally don't wear it pinned shut (or with a crochet hook, for that matter). 

Botanica Medallion Cardigan by Shiri Mor from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2009. Size M/L. Knit in the yarn called for, Blue Sky Alpaca's Skinny Dyed Organic Cotton. (I had a skein and a bit leftover).