I’m not proud of myself, but I just proved Patty Lyons right.
My failure to heed Patty’s advice sent me into a total—although blessedly brief—meltdown, during which I sent out emergency DMs to the designer, Jeanette Sloan, and the sample knitter, Susan Mitz, asking them whether the back section was supposed to ruffle or had I knit it too big or blocked it too big or whatever.
The back was not supposed to ruffle, and I hadn’t knit or blocked anything to the wrong size.
I won’t tell you what I got wrong. I don’t want that mental error to infect your brain one little bit. But my mistake was based on an assumption I made about the placement of markers a certain distance in from the edges of both the sleeve and the body rectangle of the cardigan. The words on the page? They were just fine. Had I simply followed them, Jeanette and Susan could have gone about their day without my panicky cries for help.
Seaming the Mood Cardigan
I will tell you how I did seam my Mood Cardigan, eventually and perfectly, as directed by the pattern.
I steam blocked the sleeve section and the body rectangle to their correct dimensions on the schematic.
I placed a marker 8.75 inches (22 cm) from each end of the body rectangle. I placed a third marker at the center of the same edge.
I placed a marker 8.75 inches (22 cm) from the top of each cuff on one edge of the sleeve.
I placed a third marker at the center of the sleeve on the other edge.
(Placing center markers was not directed by the pattern, but I love a center marker, and it can do no harm.)
I laid the body rectangle flat on the table, face up, with the edge with the markers on it at the top.
I laid the sleeve flat on the table, with the side with the center marker face up, aligned with the center marker on the body rectangle.
Center markers: align!
I scootched the two pieces into position so that the two end markers on the body rectangle lined up with the tops of the two cuffs of the sleeve section. (This required very little scootching because the marked section of the body rectangle is the exact same length as the length between the two cuffs of the sleeve.)
I worked a mattress stitch seam to attach the body rectangle to the sleeve, forming the back of the cardigan. I worked the seam in two pieces, from the center marker out, because that is the way I like to do mattress stitch seams.
Ah . . . mattress stitch.
This is how it looked when the back seam was done, with the end flaps still unattached to the other side of the sleeve section.
I flipped the whole cardigan over to the other side, so that the markers on the sleeve were now facing up.
I turned the unattached end flaps of the body rectangle to the front of the cardigan and matched up their ends to the (green) markers on the sleeve section.
The yarn: Neighborhood Fiber Company Rustic Fingering, shade Cooper Circle, single-stranded.
And now the seaming is done, and I’m ready to pick up stitches along all three sides and work the mitered rib.
It was easy! I needn’t have worried! WORDS ON PAGE. NO ASSUMPTIONS. In other words, get out of your own way, lady. Let the pattern do the work for you.
A Tip on Placing Center Markers
I place center markers on seams (and sometimes even center markers between center markers) so that I don’t end up stretching or bunching the knitted fabric when I seam. It’s especially important on a seam like this one, which is a visible and very beautiful feature of the back of the cardigan. You want the back of the cardigan to hang dead straight, with no warbles from scrunching or stretching the fabric along the seam.
the magnificence of a warble-free seam. Photo by Sam Sloan.
When marking the center of the sleeve and body rectangle, it’s fine to fold each piece in half and put the marker on the fold, or use a tape measure to determine the center point. But if you want to be extra happy with your seam, after you do that, lay out the piece and count the repeats of the lace pattern that are between the end markers, and make sure that the center marker is in the exact center. For example, if you have 30 repeats of the lace pattern between the two cuffs, be sure that the center marker is between repeat number 15 and repeat number 16. This works whether you are counting the repeats horizontally (on the body rectangle) or vertically (on the sleeve). This way you know that you have the exact same number of stitches or rows on either side of the center marker.