I knit a black cardigan. Am I crazy? Maybe. Was it worth it? I think so! Knitting a sweater takes me a long time. My average is about a year. This CustomFit Inlet Cardigan by Amy Herzog took me a year and half to knit. I am a slow knitter, but I am also not one of those knitters who knits everywhere all the time. Mostly, I knit in front of the TV. We have been remodeling our house and were without a living room for six months, so my knitting really took a nose dive. It also didn’t help that, at times, I just wasn’t that into this project. Fellow knitters warned me that knitting with black yarn sucked, but I really wanted a hand knit black cardigan. I mean, it would go with everything, right?
CustomFit Inlet Cardigan by Amy Herzog
Harrisville Designs Highland yarn in black
I’d never knit a CustomFit sweater before, but was inspired by Tasia Pona’s on Ravelry. The whole concept of CustomFit patterns is really cool. You basically just knit a gauge swatch and then enter that info along with your measurements in the CustomFit Pattern Generator and it creates a pattern written specifically for you. It even lets you you choose the sweater construction (set-in sleeve or modified drop shoulder), silhouette (a-line, tapered, hourglass, half-hourglass, straight), sweater length, sleeve length, and sweater fit (close, average, relaxed, or oversized).
Amy Herzog Designs/CustomFit is no longer run by Amy Herzog, but someone else has taken it over and is keeping the site going. I bought my pattern before this transition, but the website experience looks the same. I get the feeling not much has changed.
My customizations included set-in sleeves, hourglass shaping (even though based on my measurements it didn’t end up amounting to much), the shorter length, and average fit. Up to this point, none of my sweaters have been “cropped”, but I often wished they looked better with dresses, so that’s why I chose the shorter length for this one. Turns out this sweater pairs well with most of my wardrobe, so I think the length was a fine choice!
Reflecting on the last year and half of knitting this sweater, there were a lot of hiccups. I tend to wind as I go since I have a swift and ball winder. The remaining unwound skeins of yarn sat in a handwoven bag on the floor of my studio for almost a year. When I went to wind them, the yarn tore in multiple places as I was winding it. Apparently, carpet beetles had gotten in and eaten the yarn, so that yarn had to be tossed. I got lucky in a couple of ways though. 1) It turned out it was easy to color match the black yarn even though it had been so long and was a new dye lot and 2) The sweater was not in that bag, so it was fine.
Then, at the end of March, I got COVID. I remember thinking that the silver lining was that I was finally getting some knitting done. That was when I was knitting the sleeves and they turned out to be WAY TOO LONG. I had no idea how to shorten sleeves that were knit from the bottom up without re-knitting most of the sleeve, so I thought about leaving them like that. Then I watched this genius video on how to shorten sleeves. Cutting into the sleeves was a little freaky. I wish I had documented it, but I probably didn’t because I was so nervous when I was doing it. It ended up working like a charm though!
I like to finish the button bands by hand sewing Grosgrain ribbon to the button band, but by the time I got to this step I was so over this sweater. This pattern calls for nine buttons on basically a cropped sweater. In hindsight, that seems like a lot. I could have altered the pattern to have less buttonholes, but that will have to be something I do for the next version of this sweater, if I ever knit it again. I also could have redone the button band—and I thought about it—but I had to overrule my inner perfectionist on this one.
Sometimes you just need a little space from a project that gives you trouble. I actually love this sweater now. It really does go with just about everything. I’m already starting to forget about all of the little imperfections and get back to just being proud that I made something so awesome.
I know I always say it, but this might be my new uniform!