Warning! This story may restore your faith in the human race, or at least the knitters.
- Pattern name: Cveće Cardigan
- Published in: Nowhere, at least not yet 🙂
- Designer: Yours Truly
- Yarn: Bouton d’Or Perenne (in Camée)
- Needles: 3.5mm wooden circular
- Finished: July 2021
I have been feeling a bit guilty and selfish, always knitting for myself and never for my daughter. Okay, not never, I knitted her a baby sweater and tiny little pants before she was born, and socks right after. Oh, and a neck warmer last winter… But still, I felt like it was time to make her something special too – and to make it a win-win, use some of my stash / leftover yarn. That’s one reason that knitting for babies and toddlers is so much fun – the projects don’t require much yarn, so there’s a good chance that you can just go to your stash and start the project right away! And in my case, without decent calculations or careful preparations, of course.
I had been sitting on few skeins of Bouton d’Or’s Perenne (in beautiful Camée colour) that I “inherited” from my step-mother, when she did a massive konmari-type decluttering to her stash some years ago. I had always admired the beauty of the yarn, and I had been waiting to find “the right project” to use it for.
The yarn is (or was – sadly it’s discontinued) a sport-weight blend of 70% wool and 30% Linen / Flax, which gave it a bit of a rustic look and feel. So I thought it would be perfect for a little girl’s cardigan.
Well begun is half done
Off to work! I draw some hasty designs and took few approximate measurements, made a swatch to finalise the calculations – and I was ready to go! Or so I thought…
In this cardigan, I wanted to hero the yarn, so I wanted there to be a lot of simple stockinette stitch, but also a touch of something fun and cute. I discovered the perfect flower stitch that I wanted to add to the hem, the sleeve cuffs and the neckline. But in order to make the petals go upwards, I had to knit the cardigan bottom-up (I much prefer top-down). A bummer, but I could live with that.
But then I realised, that if I wanted the cardigan to be mostly stockinette stitch, I would basically have two options:
1. purl every other row – which for me would take like 50% of fun out of knitting (I really don’t like purling), or
2. boldly take on steeking, i.e. cutting the work open once it’s ready and thus turn a sweater into a cardigan.
Ahter thinking about it for like two seconds, I made a decision: heck yes I would steek it! What an adventure!! I had actually been looking for a project to steek ever since the summer of 2020, when I watched the mind-blowing episode of Knit Stars (season 3) with the Master of Steek Anne Budd taking you through the process step by step.
So I started to knit. And oh boy, it was wonderful. The yarn was just running so smoothly in my fingers, and stitches were flying off my needles. At times I would just stop and admire the sheer beauty of the fabric.
Then the worst happened: I ran out of yarn. Just before the yoke.
A saving grace from Belgium
In a state of panic I contacted the LYS where I believe the yarn was bought from (FiinaNeule), to ask if they would happen to have a leftover skein somewhere, but without luck. I checked out all yarn-shops that have an online shop if they would have the Perenne – but no. I tried yarn-sub to see if there was even the slightest chance that I could find some other yarn that I could finish the work with – but with slim results. And as the last, desperate act, I checked from Ravelry all the people who had stashed Perenne in Camée, and contacted them to ask if they would sell their skeins.
Now, I never EVER thought that anybody would answer my Ravelry messages, let alone sell me their Perennes. But to my immense surprise, a saving angel from Belgium answered my desperate call. In her kind and sweet message, she explained that she felt my pain in a way only another crafter could, and that since she had no use for the skeins, she would be happy to send them to me.
And here comes the part that almost brings tears to my eyes: she didn’t want to sell me the yarn, she wanted to give me the yarn – with one condition:
That one day I would pass the favour on to another knitter in distress.
Unfortunately, by the time her package reached Finland, I had already returned to Serbia for the spring. (NB! Sending stuff from one EU-country to another is significantly easier and cheaper than sending something to non-EU country. So I took my chances and gave her my Finnish address) However, my joy of receiving the skeins when we returned to Finland this summer was by no means lesser than it would have been in the winter – quite the opposite, actually! I had been thinking about those skeins and my Belgian Angel so many times over the spring, that the package had in my mind become something of a divine relic, my Lost Ark. But getting to finally open it exceeded all my expectations.
In the package there was not just the Camées, but also two skeins of another purple colour, since she wasn’t sure which one was the right one. My heroine, this beautiful soul from the land of beer, chocolate and fries, had sent me two additional skeins of this precious, rare yarn. And as a finishing touch, she had slipped a beautiful greeting card with a lovely message to the package – which I immediately put on my wall. There it will remind me every day, that despite how rotten the world may seem, there are some really good and warm-hearted people out there.
Worth the wait
What do you think was the first thing I did after we returned to Belgrade from our summer trip to Finland? Yup, I dug the little cardigan from its hibernation, sent some love and good vibes to Belgium, and took on finishing the project.
I must admit, that when it was finally time to steek the piece, I felt a wave of hesitation, just before my scissors cut through the work. What if I ruin it?
The thought of messing it all up was less devastating when there was yarn from my own stash, but now I felt responsible to everyone involved in my little “yarn-venture”: my Belgian Angel, my parents-in-law who claimed the yarn package and kept it for me, my husband to whom I had been going on and on about the beauty of the knitting community… But then I forced myself to remember Anne Budd, firmly commanding me to just cut it, and believe that the world won’t end there.
Surprise, surprise – the world did not end. Quite the opposite: steeking was FUN!! I literally felt like going to my closet and cutting open all of my sweaters (luckily I managed to stop myself). But that’s how pleasing it was!
Where this story ends – for now
The cardigan, that I named Cveće (“flowers” in Serbian), is every bit as cute as I imagined it would be. The simple design highlights the beauty of the yarn – as it in this case especially should! And still it’s not plain or boring – the little flower motifs make it playful and interesting. As a final touch, I added buttons with little teddy bears on them – and I think they are just perfect for it.
So now, after so much waiting – waiting for the right project, finding more yarn, waiting for the yarn to arrive, waiting for getting the yarn and the cardigan to the same place – I’m super-duper eagerly waiting for the autumn, so I can finally see my daughter wearing the Cveće – and send a picture to my Belgian Angel.
Happy Knitting, everyone!
P.S. If you ever need a knitting favour, please don’t hesitate to ask! I owe the universe a big one, and I intend to pay forward the kindness that was shown to me.