And then there was a cardigan …..

….. a very simple cardigan.

The idea of knitting a simple cardigan really appealed, because a couple of my everyday cardigans had fallen by the wayside, and because I was still in ‘I want easy knitting’ mode after spending so many hours working on an heavily cabled sweater for the man of the house.

It started with the yarn – Rowan Cocoon – which I loved from the first moment we met. I loved it for its lovely colours, for its bulky squishiness, and for its soft fuzziness.

That was a few years ago now, and because the yarn was expensive and I was sensible, I invested in a single ball in the loveliest shade of blue – a shade that was named for the sea and would have spoken to me of the sea even if I didn’t know its name. I knitted into a hat, which I loved then and I still love now.

Last year I spotted a pattern that needed just six balls of this lovely yarn. I searched for the best price, I placed an order, but when it came to time to knit I realised that I didn’t love the pattern quite enough, and I put the yarn to one side until the right pattern arrived. It arrived when I looked back through Rowan 42, in the shape of a simple, wearable cardigan called Neaty. The six balls I had would be the main colour and I just needed to source a couple of balls in a contrasting shade. That was easily done.

And that was how I started another simple garment.

20150812_182955I have to make a few project notes:

I made a size smaller that I would usually, because I knew that the yarn would drape and grow; and I made the sleeves a little narrower because they looked rather too wide in the magazine photograph. I also went for smaller buttons and buttonholes and more of them – eight rather than the four that the pattern suggested. All of that gave me the fit I was looking for.

I knitted the body in one piece. I pondered knitting the sleeved top down to avoid have to set in sleeves for a garment knitted in bulky yarn, but I didn’t. I wish I had, because I found it impossible to get the seams as tidy as I would like, and in the end I gave up.

The yarn is lovely, but it does shed fine hairs. That doesn’t worry me unduly – because I’m used to living with a dog who sheds hair – but I’m waiting to see how it stands up to being worn and handled before I say that I’d work with it again.

The yarn is at its loveliest in the 2 x 2 ribbing, and I think it would make cables. I know the pattern I’d like to knit, I know I could make it seamlessly, but I know that need garments for spring and autumn more that I need garments for the depths of winter, and so on to the ‘maybe one day’ list it goes.

Back to practicalities.

The yarn quantities in the pattern are slightly off. I knew from other knitters’ notes on Ravelry that I would need two not one balls of the contrast colour. I used all of one ball and a little less that a half of the other. What I wasn’t expecting was to have more than a ball of the main colour left.

The pattern is not badly written, but in a few places it is a little ambiguous, and because the stitch count isn’t given too often I had to do some calculations to make sure I was doing the right thing at the top of the sleeves. It wasn’t a problem, but it made me appreciate the extra trouble that many designers go to, to make things crystal clear.

The finished product isn’t what I’d call going-to-work smart, but it is what I’d call round-and-about smart.

That’s partly down to the pattern and the yarn, but it’s also partly down to me. Because it was easy I knitted quickly and I can see one or two stitches that are a little misshapen. And I nearly had a disaster at the very last. When I finished sewing on the buttons I couldn’t find my little scissors and so I picked up the big ones. And I accidentally snipped through a bit of the fabric, just above the bottom ribbing. I panicked, but I caught it before it unravelled too far, and I fixed it. The nature of the yarn and the fabric is such that I can see it when I look closely, but I don’t think anyone else would – unless they were a knitter with a critical eye.

My final verdict is that it isn’t perfect but I like it, and I think I’m going to like wearing it.

And I’m going to put my new cardigan away for the winter, I’m going to wave goodbye to this kind of knitting, and move forward with some more interesting projects.

Cables and colourwork ….

13 thoughts on “And then there was a cardigan …..

    1. It was the colours that first drew me to the yarn, and the other qualities match it. I’m sure I’ll be wearing this cardigan a lot, because I live with a man and a dog who feel the cold less than me, and so something warm but not bulky or cumbersome is ideal.


  1. It’s a lovely cardigan, Jane, and I do love the colours. And I don’t think anyone will notice the repair – they’ll just be impressed with your knitting skills! 🙂


  2. oh I think it’s lovely! The colour combination and simplicity are just charming. 🙂 I’ve just begun a guernsey-inspired jumper myself and am looking forward to all those inches of lovely stockinette in the round between the hem and yoke! However, I’n about to cast on the hem on for the third time, hmph. Sizing and gauge are both conspiring against me. 😉


  3. so cute. I started knitting again last year after a long time of not. I’m not brave enough to try something like this yet – more hats and scarves – but would love to at some point.


  4. So lovely, Jane! Yarns that grow do vex me…glad you had the chance to try going a bit smaller on this one. I adore my Tangled Yoke cardigan but it’s growing. That project was so trying that if I were to knit it for someone I would charge at least $4,000…which is ridiculous, but illustrates things nicely. I’d love to knit it again but smaller…one day.


  5. I’m envious of your knitting skills! I started knitting again two years ago when my sister fell pregnant and I decided a baby blanket was in order, and I have since produced some very simple jumpers, but I have yet to tackle a cardigan. Actually, I bought a pattern for a knitted waistcoat yesterday and am very excited to start it. Going over the instructions (from 1978!) was a bit sobering, though. There are some things I can’t make head or tail of! What do you do in those cases? Is there a magical website or blog that explains complicated vintage patterns to beginners like me?
    I like your knitting project posts by the way…!


  6. Lovely. I do love cardigans, just for mooching about in. They give great comfort. Though I am not sure I would necessarily knit one. You always have to have a mistake, that way it makes it special especially as no one else is bound to notice!


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