Not Martha

I’m knitting a sweater: The End.

the sweater: Ribby Cardi by Bonne Marie Burns
the yarn: Cotton-Ease in charcoal

I’d like to say I started wearing the sweater the moment I got the zipper sewn in but the truth is I started wearing it a few days before that as it was just the perfect layer to bring along, zipper or no. I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s cozy and I know I’m going to love this sweater even more as the dark weather closes in around us here in Seattle. It’s a good layer to bring along because it acts like a jacket but bunches up like a scarf. I have to admit I went from treating it gingerly to tossing it into the back seat of my car with surprising speed. This is a good sign.

I opted for a black zipper, I really wanted a two way separating zipper and they don’t come in all many colors in the shops, so black blended in the best. I needed a 24 inch zipper but it seems they don’t come in sizes less than 26 inches, so I had to clip off the top. I wrapped the edges of the zipper in a soft black cotton twill tape, and I stitched the zipper in by hand using a nice feeling silk thread. It’s not very tidy looking from the inside, but it’s holding up so far. The zipper doesn’t feel scratchy or irritate the skin on my neck at all, yay.

The cut off top ends of the zipper were predictably scratchy so I wrapped them in some leftover twill tape which created a zipper stop at the same time.

Last notes:

  • The arms are too long, my own fault.
  • The body is too long to be cute while I’m standing but it’s a good length to cover the lower back while sitting (in restaurants and such).
  • The neck does choke a bit when zipped all the way up, like every fleece I’ve ever owned. I wonder if I can make the next neckline a bit wider. I think I might like the neck a bit higher.
  • I think I could safely go down a size, this one has plenty of room. (Overall, unfortunately, it looks like I’m wearing a sweater two sizes too large for me.)
  • The tubular cast on appears to look a little stretched. I’m going to look into alternative ways of doing this to see if I can find one which is more stretchy.
  • It’s not as heavy as I expected it to be.
  • I’m wondering how it will react to being washed. I’m planning on throwing it into the washer in a large mesh bag, and drying it flat on my drying rack.
  • Zipper source: has lots of colors of plastic two way separating YKK zippers, and you can order them in custom sizes. A few people from the Ribby Cardi Knitalong weren’t completely happy with the zippers they recieved (though, in a few cases it seems like they were expecting a smaller nylon zipper instead of the molded plastic). I’ll probably order an orange zipper to go in my light gray sweater, and if I make a brown sweater I might get a light green or blue zipper.
  • Zipper source: Amy left a comment on a previous sweater post pointing us towards, which carries fewer colors of molded plastic zipper, but if you order a metal one you can get a neat-o ring pull zipper slider. (Unfortunatley not available for two-way styles, whaa!)
  • I bought my soft twill and black zipper at Nancy’s Sewing Basket, and I also checked Seattle Fabrics for zippers, they had pretty much the same stock as Nancy’s (though they had two shades of pink 36″ separating zippers).

(Left over ball of dark gray Cotton Ease, new light gray Cotton Ease, and some lovely soft Berroco Comfort in brown.)

Despite considering never making a sweater again because damn it’s a lot of work, I already have the light gray Cotton Ease yarn for version #2 where I’ll be knitting the body in one large piece and both sleeves in the round. I’ll do a size smaller, and the sleeves and body shorter. Before I start that, though, I’ve got a little experimenting to do.

I also made an impulse purchase of some chocolate brown Berroco Comfort yarn, which is awesomely soft and doesn’t seem squeaky at all, thanks go to Maggi for finding it at Bad Woman Yarn here in Seattle. I’m hoping the Comfort will make a nice, warm, soft, lightweight sweater that fits perfectly and doesn’t pill, I’ll let you know.

all the sweater entries:

· comments [30] · 09-10-2007 · categories:knitting ·

30 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Angela // Sep 10, 2007 at 6:19 am

    I am using the Berroco Comfort for a blanket project right now and it is really great to knit with. No squeaky, a little more give than I expected and so very soft. I think I will have to get me some of that chocolate. My LYS didn’t have that color.

  • 2 Sandra // Sep 10, 2007 at 6:33 am


  • 3 ks // Sep 10, 2007 at 6:52 am

    I’d love to see a photo of it on a body.

  • 4 Dr. B. // Sep 10, 2007 at 7:16 am

    Congratulations and thanks – as always – for the links to useful resources.

    And I’m with KS. Seeing it on a person would be great. Long arms and all.

  • 5 Marissa // Sep 10, 2007 at 7:19 am

    This looks so nice! I wish I could read crochet instructions better, maybe I could make a wearable sweater!

  • 6 paola // Sep 10, 2007 at 7:40 am

    The sweater is great and looks even better in person. I am in awe because i)it is so beautifully finished it looks like you bought it in a shop and ii) your post indicates that it was begun in June 2007.

    Any sweater finished by me would have been begun in June 1997 AT THE LATEST.

  • 7 karin // Sep 10, 2007 at 8:24 am

    so so beautiful and I went and started one over the weekend due to your fine inspiration. I am knitting the body in one piece as well. This may be obvious to you but it took me a good half hour to figure out: start with left front, then back, then right front. Only skip two knit stitches at each seam, four total (not four total per side). Good luck on number two!

    Good luck on number two!

  • 8 gaile // Sep 10, 2007 at 8:38 am

    I made this too. and now I’m selling it. I was never in love with it, and honestly thought that the pattern really needed revision because um, where are the shoulders supposed to go? It pulls, and while it looks great on some people, I need a better defined shoulder or I look even more shoulderless than I am. Glad you like yours!

  • 9 megan // Sep 10, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Gaile – What do you mean when you say “it pulls”? And I’m not clear on what you mean about where the shoulders are supposed to go, I’m very curious about your concerns.

    ks and Dr. B – This is the best picture I could get of myself wearing the sweater. It doesn’t show the length of the body, but you can see how overall this size looks large on me.

  • 10 caitlyn // Sep 10, 2007 at 9:19 am

    It looks wonderful — great job!

  • 11 chrispy // Sep 10, 2007 at 9:45 am

    The cotton ease is intended to throw in the washer and dryer with no ill effects. It is for easy care. Cottons take an insane amount of time to air dry.

    If you still have your swatches, practice washing them to get the feel for it. Especially if you still don’t feel comfortable machine washing and drying.

    I made a sweater this summer from cotton ease and I have been washing & drying it all summer with no ill coming to it.

  • 12 ks // Sep 10, 2007 at 10:03 am

    It looks awesome on!

  • 13 Ashley // Sep 10, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Yay! It looks great. So good, in fact, that I’m reminded that I really want to make this sweater for myself!

  • 14 Sonja // Sep 10, 2007 at 11:46 am

    I think it looks great! Sometimes I like a sweater that’s a little big and looks like it’s stolen from your boy. Very nice!

  • 15 Eliza // Sep 10, 2007 at 11:49 am

    This is great to see; I made myself a cardigan a year ago and haven’t gotten the gumption up to sew the zipper in. You’ve made it look not so hard, so maybe i’ve just got to take the plunge! Thanks for showing the details!

  • 16 kelley // Sep 10, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    wow, i’m impressed. was it worth the work?

  • 17 molly! // Sep 10, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Good work. It looks great!

  • 18 megan // Sep 10, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    kelley – Yes, it was worth the work for me because I cannot wear wool and I have been having trouble finding a simple cotton or acrylic cardigan that closes high up at the neck. And now that it’s done it really didn’t seem like a whole lot of work knowing I’ll get a lot of use out of it.

  • 19 Haven // Sep 10, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    You must be so proud, looks great.

  • 20 Carolyn J. // Sep 10, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    You could also have knit a zipper garage, if you were feeling more industrious. But your solution is much easier.

  • 21 Jody // Sep 10, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Love it!! It’s on my list of must knits :)

  • 22 Chief Family Officer // Sep 10, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    I just wanted to say that I am sooooooo impressed!

  • 23 splatgirl // Sep 10, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    It’s really nice and impeccably, beautifully finished, although I would have expected nothing less from you. It’s great to hear/see of a successfully completed and loved handknit sweater. I’m always afraid of garment knitting for fear of spending a lot of time and $$ on something that is eh when it’s finished. And I’d love this pattern if I didn’t look like a troll in a raglan sleeve.

  • 24 Aimee // Sep 10, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Looks like a success! :)

  • 25 Kate // Sep 11, 2007 at 7:39 am

    It looks fantastic – thanks for all the zipper tips :) I’ve been contemplating this knit for awhile, and it may be time to start with the cooler weather starting.

  • 26 ex.libris // Sep 11, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Beautiful! I’m unreasonably proud when I crochet a blanket, but this is remarkable!

  • 27 anna // Sep 13, 2007 at 10:19 am

    It’s a beautiful sweater!

  • 28 Shelley Noble // Oct 1, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    Gorgeous and inspiring! I could never ever knit anything as complex as this but you make me want to go find sweaters at Goodwill and sew in zippers to make them cardis!

  • 29 Mary Beth // Nov 9, 2007 at 9:30 am

    My favorite stretchy cast on is from Meg Swansen’s Vogue Knitting article “To Start With…”. It was in issue Winter 2004/05, pg. 30. It’s called German Twisted Cast On (aka. German Twisted, Elastic Long Tail) & Meg details it specifically. It looks great with ribbing or cabling or anywhere you need a supper stretchy edge that snaps back perfectly. If you have access to the book Handknitter’s Handbook (Reader Digest) by Montse Stanley, you can also find it in there.

  • 30 Laurenisms » Blog Archive » Am lame, but still here // Jun 15, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    […] I have long meant to make the Ribby Cardi — it’s been on my list since I first started knitting; probably even since before I finished my first scarf. Then Megan made it and documented it very well, and I was inspired, though slow, obviously, to get started. […]

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