As you know, I had a design featured on Knitscene’s latest issue, Fall 2011. The Montview Cardigan is a round-the-clock cosy, tweedy, comfortable cardigan that can flatter your figure nicely.
I like to take photographs of the garments I make on myself (if the sizing is within reach!) to showcase the garment as I originally dreamed it. Here’s one of my takes:
Montview is clearly a very rustic looking piece, and whether or not you choose to use a tweedy yarn, the combination of reverse stockinette, cables and all over garter details evokes feelings of a rustic environment, so while you should always choose a colour that appeals to your complexion, I recommend a rustic pebble, a woody brown, a forest green… for a better feel of the season.
I made some notes during the design and construction progress that I think will benefit some knitters, so here goes it…
Montview is constructed in pieces – body then sleeves. But every one of these is also constructed of pieces, as the garter bands are created first with provisional cast ons and then picked up at the sides for the perfect seamless look.
As you know, picking up evenly is a difficult thing to do, so when I constructed it, right after finishing the band, I counted the ridges I had and placed provisional markers at the quarter and 3/quarter distance from the edge. This allowed me to know more or less when the fronts and back would divide.
If you’re as much of a knitting-neat freak as me, you will want your job to be not only easy but perfectly seamless, and for this, I recommend you knit the first and last stitches of the body throughout. This will create a line of garter bumps that will sneakily hide the buttonband pick up line as well as have a much better limited area for the sleeve to be set-in. However, don’t do that for the sleeves, as my seams in reverse stockinette stitch tutorial works best with regular reverse stockinette, without any special detail on the edges.
You can probably tell that the pattern has the decreases on the WS of the fabric, and the reason for it is this….. almost all the RS rows have cabling involved. I wanted to give the knitter a chance to ensure their cables are properly crossed, and then just decrease when doing the return row. Of course I only thought of this when I wrote the pattern down. I was stupid enough to do them in the RS, but I also knit the entire thing in 6 days, so who am I to call myself stupid :)
For the initial blocking, the princess seam lines will make this blocking in one piece a bit tricky. If you’re lucky enough to have an adjustable mannequin, give it the measurements you have knitted to and block it on the dummy. Otherwise, you’re advised to do it flat, folding the fronts over the back so the waist shaping is virtually undisturbed. Do leave a 2.5″ gap between the fronts, as that’s the area taken by the buttonbands.
Once you’ve blocked your main body, seam those shoulders and pick up for the buttonband. As a detail, I wrote down exactly how many stitches should be picked up on the flat edges, the neck slope, the back neck and opposite front. This makes the gauge swatch incredibly important, if your garter is very tight you may need to go up needle sizes to avoid the buttonband puckering. Same goes for loose garter stitch – you don’t want the buttonbands all floppy and frumpy, right?
Now, buttons. BUTTONS!!! Choose carefully, but you know what? At least size doesn’t really matter here, because no buttonholes were made! I’d recommend you choose your buttons and pick up your snap fasteners at once, and then place the fasteners before the buttons. Reason being that those are the important ones, the ones that keep your jacket closed. What I did with the sample garment was quite simple. Thread a vastly different coloured sewing thread on a sewing needle and make long stitches along the ridges created by the garter stitch all in one row, vertically, in the centre of the band. Find the same row on the opposite side and do the same.
That’s your vertical line upon which all the fasteners should be centered on.
Now, place the first and last fasteners where you want them to be. Measure the space in between, divide into 5. That result should be the distance between the centre of each snap fastener. Repeat on the opposite side. Sew the fasteners. Sew the buttons on the public side…. Try it on and admire it. You’re a kick-ass knitter who just finished the garment that took me the longest to plot and write. Thank you for making it!!
One last bit of advice…. how about skipping the waist and bust shaping altogether and making it longer for a man?