My handy hint for this post is don't bleach your knitting. Seems like common sense? Who on earth would bleach knitting? Yes - I did. I use a white spray bottle labelled "Water only" when I am blocking knits. My cleaner uses a white spray bottle labelled "bleach" for cleaning the main bathroom. I picked up the wrong bottle, didn't think to read the label and gave my knits a thorough spraying. Eventually my brain kicked in (knitters are not supposed to lose brain function) and I realised my mistake.
My frantic yells, brought my son running, and we removed the pins as quickly as possible. All I could think was Noooooo - I don't want to knit three sleeves and two yokes again. I dumped the knitting in water, and kept rinsing and changing the water. Until it dried I was on tenderhooks. Somehow, the pieces survived and although the pink yoke is a tiny bit lighter, I don't think it will matter. The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Harmony which has a light fleck to it, so I think I am ok as long as it doesn't disintegrate later. Luckily, my husband had diluted the bleach quite a bit, because I am super allergic to it.
My three cardigan project is almost finished. Just have to sew on the yokes (very tedious - I'll need a good audiobook) and knit the side and neck ribs. I managed to find good buttons on my last sewing and yarn shop outing. I was also looking for beads to match the ones on my shawl. We went to six shops, but eventually I found good matches. Does anyone else have trouble matching buttons? We have so few shops left which sell knitting and sewing supplies. We had to go to the other side of town to find what we wanted.
How to customise designs
It is my ambition to design and publish my own patterns. So far, I have only published two, though a large percentage of my knitting doesn't follow a set pattern. I often take elements of several patterns and combine them. Also I love putting in my own choice of texture, lace or cable stitches. By changing several elements you end up with a unique garment.
For these cardigans, I spent huge amounts of time looking for stitch patterns I thought would work well. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, finding knit designs and stitches I like and think may be useful. I hope it will be a good resource for others.
It is surprising how few patterns will fit into the front of a child's cardigan. I wanted to put the same pattern into the yokes and side panels of each, so they would have some commonality, but still be individual. This put quite a restriction on how many stitches the main design could have, after allowing at least two bordering stitches.
I charted the red pattern, and the hearts, but found the leaf pattern too complicated to chart. If I had a different personality, I would probably knit some squares for each pattern. Being me, I just went ahead. I thought that the pink hearts would be quite wide, but I really wanted to knit them, and I hoped they would work out more in proportion when the cardi was finished.
I probably wouldn't publish these patterns, as the side panels of the red cardi were 10 rows long, while the cable pattern was 16 rows long. Too confusing to chart I think. The pink hearts were 20 rows long, so that worked better.
In retrospect, the mauve leaf pattern would have looked better with bordering stitches, but then it wouldn't have fitted into the front panels.
When you are designing, you need to think about how many stitches are in the front of the cardigan, and how they will fit in relation to the shoulder seams, the front neck and underarm cast offs. Sometimes I chart the panels on graph paper, to check how they will fit.
Here is candid photo of my design process for the aran sweater for my grandson. I was quite pleased with the result.