two designs in one

Sometimes I think each issue of Knitty is a challenge whereby knitters have to pull inspiration and recombine the pattern ideas to make something totally new. Or, as many of my knitting friends would tell me, I think too much.

It's hard to ignore coincidences like this, though. I've been wanting to make one of those cardigans with very long fronts, sort of like shawls with sleeves, and Knitty featured one called Daedalus in its Spring + Summer 2011 issue. I loved the shape, the instructions, and the faux cable border. Even though I liked the staggered eyelet pattern called for in the original design, though, I thought it was a shame that there wasn't a feather pattern. I've had a thing for shawls with feather patterns ever since I saw a magnificent example of one someone else had made at the Naked Sheep.

As it happens, in the very same issue of Knitty, there was a shawl pattern called Lilah that featured lace feather motifs. Again, the original pattern is goregeous, but it was just one of those peanut-butter-and-chocolate moments where two separate things combined very well.

I decided to just keep the faux cable pattern at the top of the Daedalus cardigan (instead of the top and bottom as in the original), and use the Lilah feathers for the rest of the body and the sleeves. To make things symmetrical, I knitted from the centre back on a provisional cast-on for one half of the jacket, then from the centre back again for the other half. The feather motifs were lengthened to match the pattern repeat length of the faux cables, the faux cables were mirror imaged to make knitting from the centre back easier, and the sleeves were knitted from the top down instead of side to side as in the original.

Hardly took any work at all. No, really, it didn't. The feather motifs all have a central part where you just repeat the same pattern row X amount of times to make up the length, and the Daedalus schematic clearly shows how big the sleeves need to be (and they're just plain rectangles, so no shaping to recalculate).

I decided that the final feathers should be twice the length of the overlapping ones. Because of how the motif transitions work, the final row of feathers is slightly longer than the second-last row — perfect. Here's the body drying on the floor after being stretched out with blocking wires (the light-coloured short lines in the cardigan are waste yarn which was unpicked to create armholes):

I did a little bit of fudging at the centre back so that the flip line where the lace mirror images is a true flip, instead of being half a stitch off as in "normal" knitting in the reverse direction. Since I rotated the working of the sleeves by ninety degrees, I set them into the body of the cardigan using a three-needle bind-off.

The finished cardigan is wonderful warm to wear, but light and comfortable.

Should mention: the yarn is Tove by SandnesGarn, and it was only five dollars a ball at Romni. It's not the softest stuff in the world, but I've just been wearing a t-shirt under the cardigan and it's been fine. It comes in lots of colours, and is a heavy fingering/light sport weight. The dark colour rubbed off on my hands when I was knitting it, but since washing and block it's behaved itself.