Classic Cardigan with Celtic Knot Cable

Hand Knits by Peg's Knitting Arnoldussen
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Celtic knot cable cardigan

13 January: Several years ago, I promised a sweater to one of my sons. We talked about it and decided on a classic v-neck cardigan that would dress up a shirt, shirt and tie, or turtle neck. He chose a navy tweed wool, sport weight. We also decided to add a nice Celtic knot cable, to take the sweater beyond just boring. I'm a little slow. Here goes, finally.

I'll place the cables on either side of the front opening, center back, centered on each sleeve, and maybe on a patch pocket or two.

So far, I've done the casting on and converted it to a tube hem. Even as a young knitter, many years, ago, I did not like the look of cast-on and bind-off rows on the edges of otherwise rich looking hand knitted sweaters. Therefore, I searched for a way to eliminate them and discovered tube hems. They are both sturdy and beautiful, so I always do them.

Tube hems can be created at the beginning or the end of a knitted piece. I not only add them in place of a cast-on row, but also use them to finish off collars, neck edges, pocket tops, and horizontal button bands.

Completed back of cardigan
Celtic knot cable

23 January: Grinding along, here we have the completed back, including a macro shot of the cable.

Click the small images to view larger ones.

26 January: I've gotten to that place where I'm anxious to see the finished project; therefore, I'm putting more time into this thing. I finished the right side of the front today, and then promptly sewed what I had together. It's been several years since I've knitted a sweater, and I'm painfully rusty. Moves I ought to know I've discovered have slipped from my memory, which makes me a bit nervous about this project. I don't want to end up with a dud.

Right front of cardigan
Assembled back and right front

When I start the left front, I will mirror the cable, as I prefer that look to the alternative. After all, the configuration of two fronts of a cardigan is mirror image; therefore, I want the cable to follow suit.

I've now got the ribbing finished for the left front plus a couple of rows of the main pattern. The second front piece is always so much easier than the first. All the calculations needed to get the v-neck shaping started and the decreases properly spaced were worked out during the right front, so now I can just breeze through -- I hope.

Working up the left side of front

27 January: The left side is progressing nicely. As mentioned previously, I'm mirroring the cable on the opposite front.

I am not using a pattern for this sweater. I designed and charted the cable some years ago, with the intent of applying it to this project; it's finally happening. I have a mental picture of what I want to accomplish filed away in my head somewhere, so as I knit, I simply do the necessary arithmetic needed to make my visual image come to life. Calculations are based on six stitches per inch as the gauge. That's the basis for every calculation, excluding the cable, which requires its own separate calculations.

Back and both fronts are now completed and sewn in place

28 January: It is very late evening. I have now completed the second front piece and sewn it in place.

Button band in progress

29 January: This type of button band takes forever. I've worked on it during every spare moment today. I'd like to get it to the first buttonhole, at least, because I want to purchase buttons tomorrow, and need to be able to size them correctly. I'll refrain from sewing them on until I've blocked this portion, because I so want to see if it fits my son correctly.

Celtic knot buttons

By the way, there's no deep, magical, mystical, mysterious meaning behind this Celtic knot or any other Celtic knot. Christian monks, who came to Ireland to convert the Irish, adapted the designs from more basic native art for which there was no traditional meaning. It was just decorative. Mostly, the monks also simply used their knots for decorations, though they attached some Christian meanings to certain styles. This sweater is not meant to symbolize anything New Age. If anything, it would symbolize that the Living God, the Lord, is eternal.

30 January: I finished the button band today and am currently blocking the finished body of the sweater. I will start a sleeve shortly. A trip to a local fabric store yielded brushed nickel buttons with a Celtic knot on each. Perfect! Jon was delighted.

Sleeve in progress

31 January: I'm making progress up the first sleeve. The body of the sweater is still drying from the blocking process. I'll do photos when the body is dry and the buttons attached.

1 February: Spent a couple hours knitting on the sleeve today. As for the body, the top towel seemed to be mostly dry, so I removed it from the sweater to let that dry out better. It's cold in the house so things dry slowly. I'm impatient.

Body of sweater during blocking process
Body of sweater is now completed

2 February: The body of the sweater spent a couple days drying. Finally, this morning, I was able to sew on the buttons and tuck yarn ends. Having been blocked, it looks so much better -- no longer crumpled and puny. I put it on Jon and it fits -- huge relief.

I did some macro shots of key seaming elements and the tube hem. The button band is seamed all the way around using mattress seaming. I left the stitches live at the back of the neck and used a seam that was part kitchener and part mattress just for that section. Shoulder seams are three needle bind off.

I've played around with many different sweater constructions over the years. When I want a finely tailored sweater, such as this one, I do not do the circular/seamless thing. Firm seams and set-in sleeves square and define a person's shoulders in such a way that is very flattering to the person. Further, a button band that's sewn in place prevents front droop. Further still, so often circular constructions place the neck opening at top-center of the sweater. However, the human body isn't exactly shaped that way. The human neck is set forward of top-center, lower at its forepart than at its rear-part. Likewise, for a garment to fit properly, the neck opening should take a dip into the front of the garment. So, this seamed construction takes all these elements into consideration, resulting in a very flattering fit, provided the knitter doesn't botch the measurements and calculations.

Side seam Shoulder seam Back of neck seam
Tube hem and button band seam Completed body worn by recipient First completed sleeve Sleeve seam

3 February: After a lot of fitting, measuring, comparing, I finished the first sleeve tonight. Glad that's over with. The beauty of the second sleeve is that one only needs to repeat all the shaping done on the first, provided one took good notes while knitting it. So, the second sleeve typically gets done much faster. The first sleeve is being blocked right now; the second sleeve is just being started.

One armed sweater

4 February: Blocked sleeve was dry this morning, so I sewed it onto the sweater. The seam is pictured above. The one armed sweater guy is modeling.

5 February: Finished and blocked the second sleeve today. Tomorrow, I will sew it all together. In the meantime, been knitting way too much, so it's time to catch up on all the things I've let slide: the bathroom cabinet hinge that husband broke, the button on his ancient Goodwill coat that is way too loose, the odor in the cabinet under the kitchen sink that is demanding a seek and destroy mission, some grocery purchases I made the other day that are still sitting on kitchen table. Sigh.

6 February: The sweater is finished and the photo is at the top. I've decided it's a success.

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