I did it!
I finished the Empire Line Cardigan at long last. The official finish date was November 1, but that’s only because I had to sew it all up. The knitting was finished on October 30 (within my self-imposed deadline), and I gave the sleeves a couple days to settle on the blocking board.
This pattern was knit mostly to the pattern, except for a few mods:
When I first started knitting the sleeves for the largest size, I found they were knitting up far too wide. This is actually an issue I’ve found with previous Debbie Bliss pattern – they are often oversized. I wasn’t worried about the body, because the largest size only went up to a 40 inch bust. I’m a 44, so I figured I’d be ok there. But for the sleeves, I decided to go down to the medium.
I’m glad I did – they are perfect now. As I suspected, they came out a touch short, but that’s better for me. I hate it when my sleeves flop around into everything. I also like to wear bracelets, so these are the perfect length.
Another minor mod is the neckline. The pattern finishes it off with a crocheted picot edge. However, my crochet skills are, frankly, crap. I could have done a knit picot, but I was worried about running out of yarn. So instead, I picked up stitches all around, did one row of garter, and then a nice loose cast off. It’s not as fancy, but it’s tidy.
The last mod was not really intentional…
As you may recall, the cardigan is supposed to close with a ribbon threaded just below the bust.
However, once the sweater was on, that line was far too high. I’d have a ribbon going right across my boobs. It’s a problem I’ve run into with a lot of empire waist designs – they just don’t design for the well-endowed ladies.
I could have threaded it through lower, but there wasn’t enough length on the cardigan to make that work. So instead, I sewed on a simple silver frog clasp. I may put something a little fancier on at some point, but it works for now.
The yarn I used was Rowan Cashsoft DK. I got it on ebay years ago, from a woman who was liquidating her yarn store. It’s a merino/microfibre/cashmere blend and I used almost all of the 14 balls I had. It’s stupidly soft and was lovely to knit with, especially with all those cables.
The colourway is poison, and the pics are pretty accurate. It’s a very deep, dark burgundy, and I think it lends is self well to the mix of cables and lace. It will also pair well with much of my wardrobe.
The fit isn’t bad. I usually prefer a raglan, or round yoke, because I have very narrow shoulders, but this one isn’t too bad. It’s a touch wide, but nothing I can’t live with.
I also prefer to knit all in one piece with no seaming, but that’s mostly because I’ve always been terrible with sewing set-in sleeves. But this didn’t go too badly. I used a lot of pins and took my time, and they went pretty smoothly.
For a cardigan was started and restarted several times… and then took more than a year and a half to finally complete, its finish is pretty darn satisfying. And it’s nice to have a warm knit done just in time for the colder weather!