Bang Out a Carbeth: When Buttons Bite Back
We were thrilled last week, when Kate Davies heeded the pleas of cardigan-loving knitters and released a pattern for the Carbeth Cardigan. On the last official day of our Bang Out a Carbeth knitalong, Kate is back to tell the dramatic behind-the-skeins story of the gorgeous yellow sample she made.
February is ending, but a good knitalong is eternal. We hope everyone will continue knitting Carbeths–pullover and cardigan versions–and posting their glorious FO pictures over on Instagram at #bangoutaCarbeth. We’ll be watching.
–Ann and Kay
It was all going so well. I’d whipped up four samples, and created a pattern, for a pullover I really liked.
But wouldn’t a cardigan work just as well? A cardigan of similar cropped style and interesting yoke shaping? I thought it might. I began to knit one up.
There was more thinking in the cardigan: how to jiggle the order of button bands and neck; which stitches to place on hold, and when; a nifty seamless trick to turn the neck rib to a stable, sturdy collar; the 2-stitch i-cord that lent a slick finish to the front edges.
When I finished the cardigan–my Carbeth number 5–I loved it just as much as I did its four pullover cousins. I wrote the pattern and fired it over to my tech editor.
Now all that was needed was a good block and dry and it would be ready to wear. Perhaps my local swans would oblige once more for photography.
I’d already decided it was a great idea to attach the buttons prior to blocking. That way I could button up the cardigan, ensuring that the front edges could be blocked super-neatly to sit exactly as I’d like them to when worn.
I have a large button stash, which supplied me with several options. After mulling over my choices I settled on a lovely vintage set of 6, composed of an old fashioned bakelite-like material, in a rich, deep indigo hue. Beautiful vintage buttons! Blue and yellow! A winning combination!
Why didn’t I choose the two-tone square buttons? Why not those simple, elegant wooden discs? Why oh why did I select the vintage blue set? I asked myself these questions many times after discovering, upon removing the cardigan from its 20 minute cool-water soak, that the vintage buttons had somehow . . . bled onto the cardigan. Bleeding buttons!
I repeated such questions again, as I endeavoured, heart in mouth, expletives upon tongue, to remove the dark blue dye from the yellow cardigan. I removed the offending buttons. I soaked the cardigan in stain remover and cold water. I poured on warmer water. I poured on boiling water. I attempted to work the dye out. I worked so hard that the bands began to felt. A few hours later, I gave up. I had to face the music. There would be no swan dance today. And none tomorrow either. Carbeth number 5 was ruined and I had to start again.
So it is that the cardigan I am wearing in these pictures is Carbeth number 6. I love this one too, but I don’t know quite what I should do with Carbeth’s offending fifth incarnation, which sits calling to me sadly from the corner of my knitting room. As yet, I’ve found myself unable to discard it.
But believe me, I’ve thrown away those bleeding buttons.