Monday, November 20, 2017

Knitting: Assam Cardigan in Tahki Tandem

This is a bit unusual for the blog in that it's not something I've sewn, but I thought it worth sharing: my mom knit me a sweater!

The sweater is so lovely, and just what I like to wear. A fabulous addition to my handmade wardrobe. I thought I would be remiss if I didn't show it off here.

The pattern is the Assam Cardigan by Laura Chau, a boxy, closure-less cardigan. It's got an interesting construction: it's knit all in one piece from cuff to cuff, then seamed up the sides and underarm. As a result, the rows on the bodice end up running vertically rather than horizontally. It has raglan sleeves and wide seed stitch bands at the front. 

The Assam is supposed to be knit with a few inches of positive ease, so, for me, my mom went with the size that results in a 44.5" finished bust measurement. We lengthened the sleeves to full length, a decision that had to be made up front because of the cuff-to-cuff construction.

The yarn is Tahki Yarns Tandem, which is an aran-weight variegated yarn made from a strange but fun combination of cotton, viscose, nylon, and acrylic (on Ravelry here). It's got a ton of drape, a nice sheen, and a little bit of fun metallic sparkle. 

The colorway is #003, Meadow, which I think has been discontinued. It's got a lot of acid green and yellow, as well as a ton of other colors, including bits of dusty blue, red and some metallic maroon. But, overall, it reads a yellowy green:

My mom had originally purchased it to make something for herself, which I was surprised about, as yellow and acid green are definitely not her colors. She's a black and cool jewel tones "winter," and yellow makes her silver hair take on a yellowish hue, which is not a good look. After spotting the yarn in her knitting bag, I convinced her that the colors would look better on me... Mwa ha ha! She kindly offered to knit me something from it, too, a double win on my part.

At some point, between when I tried on the partially made cardigan and taking these photos, the sleeves grew in length a bit. There seems to be a bit of vertical stretch where the rows run horizontally, but not much on the body, where the rows run vertically. I don't know enough about knitting to make an educated guess as to why, but it seems strange to me that that is the case. I would think there would be more stretch in the opposite direction!

In any case, I can fold the seed stitch cuff up and it still looks good! My mom says she can easily shorten the sleeves since that's where the project stops and starts. But I don't know if I can give up the sweater for that long!

My mom changed up the hem along the bottom by doing a band of 3-stitch seed stitch instead of what the pattern called for, but I noticed when trying it on is that the narrow seed stitch hem band tends to roll under. You can't even see it in the photos, so no big deal.

I love the sweater, though! It fits fabulously through the body, has great drape, and the yarn is so interesting that I could look at it all day. 

Thanks, Mom!


  1. Wow ... what a mom to knit you such a fabulous sweater!

  2. It looks amazing on you!

    If you've ever sewn non-elasticated knit fabric on the crossgrain, the effect is pretty much the same as what you've experienced with this sweater. Knits, by nature, stretch from side to side and spring back, but don't have natural stretch up-and-down and that's why they 'grow' with time in that direction- because there's no recovery to fight the effects of gravity. It's more dramatic with handknits because the fabric is heavier and pulls down more. This is why handknit sweater sleeves almost always grow with time.

    Fiber choice affects this, as well. Cotton and viscose are two very dense and heavy fibers with zero recovery. They will sag endlessly and not bounce back except when shrunk in the dryer or handblocked (squished carefully while drying flat) back into shape. Nylon is very light with a bit of recovery, but won't do much to counteract the other two. Because of the combined attributes of fiber and fabric structure, this sweater will continue to grow (and narrow) over time.

    I sew a lot of cut-on-sleeved t-shirts on the crossgrain in order to get a tunic length shirt out of one yard. This can often mean losing the stretch in the body, so I will cut the body a size bigger to compensate. The (on grain) sleeves are always nice and stretchy to accomodate my bigger arms, but losing the fabric's give in the bust area can be troublesome.

    1. Interesting. It's the opposite of what I would have thought. I would have thought the knit would stretch out more with the rows, so that on this sweater, the body would stretch out, length-wise. But it's the straight-grain sleeves that are the problem!

  3. Lucky you, that is just fabulous. My mum still knits for me and I am 44!. Jo xx

  4. It looks so good! Nice work, Momma!

  5. How wonderful! A very interesting construction, and the colors are just gorgeous on you

  6. I'm jealous... and off to Ravelry!

  7. This is amazing! I love the style of the jacket

  8. Really gorgeous Meg, your mum’s a treasure!

  9. Ooh! So pretty. I love the colors. Your Mom is very talented. You definately have a Mom to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!!😀

  10. You know what, mom? This color would look WAY BETTER ON ME than on you! LOL!!!! You're a lucky daughter, although I'm sure the fact that you've made so many things for your mom helps. ;-)

  11. Beautiful sweater! How lucky are you to have such a talented mom. Any chance she could use another daughter? It's starting to get cold early here in AZ