December 13, 2013

The knitted thing

It's finished! The combination of me and the knitting machine really did it this time!

As I told you in the previous post, I set out to knit this cardi from the Margriet Knitting Show magazine (a yearly knitting special from the makers of Dutch women's magazine Margriet) from 1956. 

I should mention that technically, this is not a cardigan. In the pattern description, Margriet calls it a "dressy knitted blouse" and in the commentary next to the photograph they refer to it as an "elegant evening sweater". They also mention that it's best made in black. 

My version is altogether more casual. Although I have half a cone of black yarn in the same gauge, I decided to use this beautiful deep burnt orange.
I also didn't put the bias cut woven hem and neckline on. Those are supposed to go over the knitted edges but I didn't have any matching fabric. And I decided against the hem band at the very start because I thought fabric might not be as stretchy as the knit.

This is a rather shapely cardigan/blouse/sweater which made me worry about the fit. My bust-waist-hip ratio is fairly close to that of the Dutch 1950's sizing tables, but from my experience with a Marion sewing pattern, I learned that I may be a bit taller. 
And then there was the pattern description which didn't include a test for vertical size and described a lot of the knitting in centimeters rather than in rows (and you can't really measure the length of your work on a knitting machine because it is stretched out by the needles, which makes is look shorter). So, when I started knitting, I counted on my test square how many rows went into a centimeter and went from there.
And obviously, I couldn't really test the whole thing until I had knitted everything, blocked the pieces and sewed them together.

And I was not disappointed. In fact, the fit is rather close to what you can see in the original picture. The sleeves could have looked better if the sleeve heads were just a little higher and more shaped, but that's the pattern's fault. I made one real mistake while knitting, which was making the buttonholes half the described size. Which just meant I had to find small buttons. 

To keep the front opening straight in the fitted bodice, you have to attach a length of 4 cm wide grosgrain ribbon along the front edge. And then cut the buttonholes in it and finish them by hand. It doesn't look very neat on the inside but it works. 

This is not a very typical 1950's garment but it doesn't look 'standard' either. And I think it suits me.

Oh, and I noticed while knitting and looking at other 1950's knitting patterns, that the front and back of this garment, and indeed of almost all the other ones as well, are shaped in exactly the same way (apart from the neckline, that is). That may be normal to experienced knitters, but to me, a knitting newbie and experienced seamstress, it was a bit odd. 

And it means this thing can also be worn back to front. Which I kind of like as well.
I'm very happy with this first real knitting project and I'm already eyeing up potential next projects. 
And I will do a post about the technicalities of machine knitting as I know them next week. For the benefit of those of you who are (like I've been for a long time) interested in, but ignorant about knitting machines.

P.S. My apologies for the big pictures which don't fit in the template. Blogger has weird issues with uploading pictures right now, so they only look right in the original size.


  1. Please do. I have three knitting machines that I'm itching to use, but also a little nervous. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and try to put together a simple sweater.

  2. Seconded! I've been trying to figure out my knitting machine for years!

  3. Seconded! I've been trying to figure out my knitting machine for years!

  4. Great job! I love the colour. I had no experience with machine knitting, it must be more difficult than hand knitting, when you can try on your piece of clothing during the process and make adjustments.

  5. This is fabulous! What an amazing job - I cannot believe this was your first project!

  6. This is a very impressive first project. I would like to hear your perspective on machine knitting vs. hand knitting. I have never used a machine, but I am very curious. I think this is a fabulous garment that really suits you. You are so talented!

  7. fantastic for a first project, you are inspiring me to check out knitting machines.

  8. Love it! Perfect fit and impressed about your talent