Haven is almost done. I spent a couple of evenings knitting its wide, generously-sized ribbed collar, a process that I enjoyed as this is one of the most finely-designed collars I have ever encountered. First, radical increases occur after just a couple of rows, which creates a kind of roll, causing the knitted fabric to fan out over the shoulders very handsomely when the garment is worn. In addition, Kim Hargreaves has placed the more gradual increases that shape the collar not too close to the edge but about an inch in, tucked inside a reverse stockinette section.
I must say that the collar details were a nice touch after the rather pedestrian design of the cardigan as a whole. One of the very best knitting classes I ever took at Stitches West was a class taught by Maureen Mason-Jamieson, entitled "Collar-Obedience Training", where she covered these kinds of tricks borrowed from classic tailoring techniques at length. Since then I have often had to adapt Maureen's suggestions to patterns from books and magazines. This is the first time I don't have to do so since Ms. Hargreaves has done it so brilliantly.
As you can plainly see, the collar hasn't had its maiden journey to the washing-machine just yet, and the contrast between unfaded and faded cotton is striking, but I expect it won't show after a wash or two.
Ta-da! Two long afternoons of seaming have yielded a half-finished Haven. The sewing-up of this project is taking forever. Remind me of this next time I consider knitting a garment in reverse stockinette. I took pains to keep the first stitch of every piece I knitted in stockinette in order to make the seaming easier later on, but apparently that wasn't enough. I would consider keeping the first 2 stitches in stockinette along the edges next time, so that mattress stitch could take place between the 1st and 2nd one and truly disappear.
As it is, mattress stitch just doesn't do its magic in reverse stockinette. The seam remains stubbornly visible, almost like a scar on the knitted fabric. Fortunately, copious amounts of heat and steam applied right after the sewing help tremendously -- another trick borrowed from sewing that has made a huge difference in my knitting life. To wit, this bit of evidence:
Close-up of sleeve cap on the ironing board: can you guess which half has been steamed and which hasn't yet? Of course you can. I love my ancient Rowenta steam iron and I hope it sees me through many more finished knits as I continue to vanquish UFO's.