I’m currently working on some commission knitting for a friend’s baby. As soon as she asked me to make a cardigan for her little girl I had to say yes. I mean even with limited time, a baby cardigan was sure the fly off the needles, right? Although I’m making some major progress this little knit has turned into a real eye opener. The first being that there’s not enough patterns out there for baby cardigans that have an all over lace pattern AND raglan shaping AND that’s also in fingering weight yarn. So after doing some gauge testing with — what else — Tosh Merino Light (in French Grey this time), I did some math (lots of math actually) and came up with a super-heavily modified version of Debbie Bliss’ Raglan Cardigan with Fully Fashioned Shaping from her Baby Knits for Beginners book. I started with the sleeves which were quick and easy. Also adorable, I couldn’t stop admiring how tiny baby cardigan sleeves are! The sleeves also served as a way to test out the lace pattern I picked, while also helping me solidify the gauge numbers for the body. Right now I’m working on the body portion (fronts and backs separated by ribbed side seams). Oh yeah, I’m doing this bottom-up…
Since the body is moving along I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and chart the yoke decreases now. Shaping while also keeping the lace pattern consistent is very new to me. This is the first time I’ve had to do the charting on my own. Thankfully, the Fall 2012 issue of Twist Collective came out last week and there was this very helpful article about shaping in pattern by Sandi Rosner. What luck! I used my charting software (Intwined Pattern Studio, more on that in a moment) to build the charts for each section. Below is a photo of my progress.
I’m so glad I charted this out because otherwise I might have made a big mess of the yoke. I really appreciated how the article made sure to stress that balancing the increases/decreases within the pattern also help to make sure you don’t have excess or stray increases/decreases as you shape the item. It sounds more confusing than it really is. I basically charted out the pattern then took a highlighter to the print outs to make sure I didn’t have any extra increases or decreases to mess up my shaping. All in all, a great learning experience.
As for the Intwined charting software, I have had it for about a year (maybe longer) and I still find it a little unintuitive. There are certain tasks I’d like to do that require a lot of maneuvering. However, for $44 it works pretty well and is several steps above using something like Excel to chart patterns. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do the charts I made today without a software such as this one. Down the road I’d like to try the EnvisioKnit software. I tried the demo and really enjoyed the easy to use features. For right now, the software I have gets the job done and that’s all that matters. I’m looking forward to seeing this little cardigan come together soon! :)