BE MINE Cardigan

My first machine knit garment, I am impressed. And in love...

I started BE MINE cardigan in february, so this is a project I've been working on for a while. But it was SO worth all the work! I learned so much knitting this cardigan on my knitting machine, which I have since december. Naturally, I immediately wanted to knit myself a garment on it!

To start with, I drew up a shape and defined the design.
BE MINE is a wrapped cardigan with a nice waterfall look when worn open. Something light and delicate that matched the great soft merino and silk blend yarn I had picked.

I was so excited to finally use the machine for something "real" and not just for some experimenting pieces. Of course I had to figure out the right stich size and tension first in order to make a swatch. Once I figured that out, I made a little piece that included ribbing and stockinette to measure gauge from.
My main problem was that the ribbing that always came out quite wavy and it didn't go away with washing or blocking. So, I made more swatches, so many swatches. But eventually I got it right!
Gauge: 30 sts/ 40 rows in stockinette! Yay!

Then I started knitting the back (the first piece of the cardigan I made) and I encountered the next troubles. The machine lost some stiches in the middle of the row! What?! So, I had to rip back.
But after these and some other initial difficulties, the 6 single parts of the cardigan knitted up rather quickly using my Doumatic 80 machine.
I blogged about this project in progress before.

After I seamed the back, fronts and sleeves together (what seemed to never getting finished), I made a 140cm collar piece. That was fun somehow! Back and forth, back and forth on the machine and less than an hour later the collar was ready :) (see picture above)
 So, now I had to decide which side (stockinette or reverse stockinette) to use for the collar. Originally, I had planned to use reverse stockinette, but I had to see the actual collar to get the right impression.
So, I simply pinned it onto the cardigan on the dressform to have a look.


 As BE MINE cardigan uses a minimalist design with a lot of stockinette, I then stuck to my plan and went for the reverse stockinette. And I think that's definatelly the right decision! It makes the cardigan more interesting and visually completes the design. 

Knitting this cardigan mainly in stockinette stich also allowed me to focus more on the machine and learn a lot while knitting the its individual pieces.
Just handling and operating the machine, increasing, decreasing, casting on, binding off, simple things like that. Wow, was I busy (and excited) when knitting the sleeve caps! :)

For those of you that aren't as familiar with hand knitting machines (turned out I wasn't either until I got my own! :) ):
It's so much hand manipulating the stiches, so it still takes its time knitting on a knitting machine. (even though you are much faster compared to hand knitting) But you need to prepare the entire row before you knit it at once, unlike in hand knitting where you are knitting one stich after another and you always can have a look again what stich to use now (for inc's or dec's for example).

In the end, I added two "hidden" buttons, one on each side. Then I sewed on two loops that I crocheted in simple chain stiches to pull over the buttons and close the cardigan invisibly.
That's a very nice touch I think. :)

I so so LOVE my new cardigan!!! I am everytime so amazed by its softness and how well it fits! That's something really cool about machine knitting! The machine totally sticks to the gauge, no matter what, the entire time. What you're calculating in the beginning comes out at the end.
In hand knitting you're not always 100% within gauge. That's just how it is and that's also what gives handknits a little more charm. Of course if you're getting too far off, you'll eventually have to rip back. (or otherwise your sweater won't fit right) We've all done that. Or on the other hand, sometimes you think to yourself: Meh, I'll just block that out a little bigger, it'll be fine.
With the machine, calculations become even more important. But for now, like I said, I am simply amazed by the fit this produces!

I really impressed myself with this cardigan! I'm just over the moon how it turned out! Especially since it's my first one. I love it so much!
It's so light and so soft, perfect! The 30% silk in the blend also add a tiny bit of shine, which I like very much. The yarn is very luxurious, a silk and merino blend. I used all yarn for the cardigan up, only 14 grams are left :)

I'm going to make a matching scarf, so it's going to be a set with the cardigan.
I bought two cones of the same yarn. For both I chose the same violet shade. But for the cardigan I chose to add a little pink (that cone is gone now), and for scarf I added a maroon shade to the violet (my second cone, still waiting to be knitted).
Well, looks like I already planned my next machine knit project! :)

I totally loved to share my first machine knitting experience and my excitement with you today! Hope, you liked seeing this project too. Of course you can also find this project on Ravelry!

I wish you a wonderful and hopefully sunny weekend!

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