Posted by: Kate | January 21, 2008

Handle With Care

I finished a sweater last night.

I hereby solemnly swear not to put it in the washing machine. I don’t even plan to bring it in the same room as any major clothes-washing appliance, just to be on the safe side.

I’m happy with it, though it’s a more tentative, distrustful happiness than the Hedgerow Coat, seeing as how that one didn’t have a happy ending. But it’s big and comfortable and will do well as a midweight somethin’-somethin’ to throw on for work.

I know, I look pinched and uncomfortable in these photos, as though I’ve been asked to smile for my firing squad. I tripped over a basket of clothes last night and landed on the bedroom floor; as far as I can figure, I haven’t added to the existing injury, but I have backslid a bit in the “Oh, I’m starting to feel better” category. So I am feeling pinched and uncomfortable, it hurts to reach up and fix my hair, and I don’t have the patience for retakes. Just ignore the face and focus on the sweater, OK?

The pattern is the Salt Peanuts cardigan by Veronik Avery; it’s in Interweave’s “Best of” book and is also available free online if you register. I was looking for a simple, easy-to-knit project. I did not find one. I read the instructions before casting on, but in a superficial sort of way; it wasn’t until I was ready to do the shaping on the fronts that I realized it is the Hardest Thing I Have Ever Knit. I had to write out line-by-line directions for about 50 rows because I was simultaneously shaping the armholes, neckline and collar, all at different frequencies. Decidedly not mindless, but the sleeves and the back were easy enough.

My only change (and this is a big deal for me, following a pattern!) was yarn substitution – I used Cascade 220 merino and am smitten – and an extra repeat at the cuffs and hems. I’m wishing I’d done more increasing at the collar, too, for more of a shawl-collar look, but I don’t wish it enough to rip back and redo it.

And if you’d be so kind, I’m seeking input here. The pattern calls for bits of ribbon to tie the collar together at the base, here:

But I’m leaning toward cannibalizing the clasps from the ill-fated black sweater and using those instead. Whaddaya think?

As an aside, if you ask your husband – well, at least, if you ask mine – to take a photograph of your general chestal area, he’ll giggle, and comply quite happily.

While we’re at it, a close-up of the motherhood pendant Willem got me for Christmas, with birthstones for me and each kid. I’d like to get his in there someday, but it can wait until we send it in for any future applicable birthstones, assuming I can ever stop injuring myself and start practicing on the baby thing.



  1. Your knitting is beautiful! I love the necklace as well.

  2. Kate that’s a beautiful sweater. I’d leave the ribbon out though. There comes a time when we’re just too damn old for that shit & you don’t strike me much as a frou-frou kinda girl. If you do put the ribbon in though, be sure to get one of those giant bows for the top of your head to balance it out.

    Gorgeous pendant, too. Surely you’re looking forward to filling it out with more stones.

  3. That is some very fine knitting. Not that I know anything about it, but it certainly looks like a difficult project.

  4. Beautiful sweater and the color is gorgeous! I like the ribbon pictured in the pattern photo, but the clasp might be nice, too. I’m horrible at visualizing, so I’m not much help.

  5. Nice top!! The sweater’s nice too… Sorry, Willem & I must be on the same wavelength.

    Seriously though, I do love the sweater and for you, would vote for the clasp, especially since you’re going to be wearing it to work. I am coveting your Mother’s pendant. D has been interested in getting me something along those lines since Olivia was born, but that is the first piece I’ve seen that I really love!! Mind you, you have better birthstones than I do too – I really wish I’d had the foresight to have an April baby!!

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  6. Awesome sweater my girlfriend. But I don’t picture you as the ribbon kind. But I detest ribbons and ruffles on general principle. Your kids will want to untie the ribbon whenever they get the chance.

    If you can conquer the complex knitting pattern, I can handle my poetry paper……..I think.

    Your and falling, BBB and falling, me and you know……..what a week!!!!

    Gentle hugs.

  7. Oh, I love your Salt Peanuts. I started her a few years back and frogged due to various reasons but I’ve always loved this pattern and yours looks great!

  8. Totally cool sweater! I am so jealous and impressed! I like the idea of your clasps from the ill-fated sweater.

    And would you stop falling down already? You need to heal, not re injure yourself. (((((Kate))))

  9. Beautiful. Utterly beautiful.

  10. awesome job, and I love the pendant, my mothers ring broke just before christmas… maybe if I drop enough hints I can get a replacement 😀

  11. LOVE, love love love the sweater. I would re-use the clasps from the ill-fated sweater. I thought those were really great looking on that one. I wish I had an ounce of your talent. (sulking with jealousy over here….)

  12. it looks great. Ribbons seem fussy to me — if this is for work, go clasps.

    Good for you doing a hard one!

  13. give that clasp a new life! I love the sweater. you knit a sweater already?

  14. Clasp rules ok?

  15. Very cute sweater!

  16. so i might not be the first to say this but that’s a really beautiful sweater, Kate!
    nice job!

  17. Very nice job! Another thing I’d like to make someday 🙂

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