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It’s an FO!: Garden cardigan September 2, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Craftiness, Knitting, Look what I did.

You’ll be proud of me.  I’m proud of me.  For the first time in my life, I have started a garment with sleeves, and actually finished the blasted thing.  And it is this, the Garden Cardigan by Jennifer Thompson.  And it is scrummy.  The pattern’s not quite out yet, I was test knitting it for her, but when it comes out if you knit I think you’ll love it.  It was insanely quick, I finished it in about three weeks’ mostly-solid knitting, and I love it to very tiny pieces.

(Side note: interested parties might notice that the ludicrously simple floral A-line skirt I’m wearing in these pictures is a bit on the wonky side.  That’s because I sewed it, basically without a pattern, and never having sewed a skirt before.  It was an adventure!  I told you there’d be pictures…)

So let’s talk about this cardigan then.  It was knitted bottom up, raglan-style, which for you non-knitters means that I started from the hips and worked up to the boobs, then knitted the two sleeves separately from the bottom up to the shoulders, then put both sleeves and the main body very cunningly onto one pair of needles and worked them together up to the neck.

This is Clever With A Capital C, because it means that there were practically no seams, which means practically no sewing up at the end!  This is, by all accounts, a Good Thing.  It also means, rather cunningly, that the answer to the question “So when do the leaves down the front change direction?” is “Right at the very end, so it is both central and hidden by your hair, so fear not, there will be no need for you to twitch uncontrollably.”  Inorite?

It has adorably cute details, like this, on the cuff:

When the call for test knitters went out, and I saw the little leaf on the cuff, I squeed very loudly and started hunting through my stash for appropriate yarn.  Leaf motifs might just be my favourite thing to put on knitted stuff.  I love them very much indeed.

The pattern is excellent – succinct, easy to follow, with charts where appropriate and explanation where necessary.  I’ve learned a few things while knitting it: how to knit a raglan starting at the bottom, and how to cable two stitches without a cable needle very quickly and without dropping anything.  I’ve also rediscovered the importance of actually reading instructions, and using stitch markers where you’re told to, and counting properly.  It went surprisingly quickly, and I’m surprised at how professional the join looks on the garter stitch in the round, as well as how well-hidden it is.

And the yarn, yes?  It’s Ethical Twist organic wool alpaca DK, which is 80% wool and 20% alpaca and the sheep and the alpacas were all happy when they got sheared and hadn’t eaten anything particularly untoward.  It’s a little fluffy and haloey and right this minute I can vouch for the fact that it is very warm indeed.  Also it is undyed, so this is the actual colour of the sheep/alpaca.  It’s such a beautiful yarn, and I bought it at work, and have since put by another five skeins to buy in the next few days because it’s so lovely to work with.  And did I mention warm?  It’s September; these things are suddenly important.

And if you had any doubts left, Midge informed me yesterday that unlike many things I knit, This Is The Sort Of Thing She Might Actually Wear, Were I To Be So Inclined.  I’m keeping a close eye on it at present, though – I think I’m going to be wearing it a lot.



1. Flix - September 3, 2010

Wow. Well done. I never fail to be impressed, because although, I know for you, it’s all about the stitches and seems and such, for me I’m like – you knit a cardi? like, with your own two hands? Wow.

2. Roobeedoo - September 3, 2010

Ooh! Love that little leafy at the cuff! And very impressed by your start to Self-Stiched September (what do you mean you didn’t sign up?!) I need to knit a cardi or two but socks always seem so much… smaller. Sigh.

Fiona - September 3, 2010

If these weren’t the only things at all that I had to contribute, I’d definitely be getting involved! Next year, I’d love to join in. This year however I fear I shall just have to content myself with dabbling, and lusting after that pink gingham blouse you posted a few days ago! One day…

3. teacherface - September 3, 2010

Oh, I want that skirt! I have real trouble finding skirts that suit me so can I have thank one? 😛

I love closeup shots because they show just have even the knitting/stitching is. Great deal.

Fiona - September 3, 2010

You can easily make one yourself – I used this tutorial here http://www.cluckclucksew.com/2010/06/guest-post-vanessa-from-v-and-co.html and with quite a lot of ripping back, swearing and throwing an iron about the place it took me about three hours. Srsly. Apparently a lot of people get scared by zips, and I have no idea why. I’ve probably done it wrong, but still. Unbelievably simple.

4. Cheryl - September 3, 2010

This looks great. I love natural coloured wool 🙂

5. Ruth - September 5, 2010

Looks great! I kept thinking that I recognised the yarn, and then realised that it’s what I’m knitting Georgie (by Kim Hargreaves) in atm, and in the cream, will be Manu… at some point 🙂

6. Helen - September 24, 2010

I thought you looked familiar when I met you today – it’s because I read your blog and I particularly admired this cardigan 🙂

Fiona - September 24, 2010

It’s such a small world! And wonderful to put a name to a face, I love meeting people from Ravelry in person. An unexpected perk of today 🙂

7. Lucy - September 27, 2010


8. Morstan Mittens « de minimis - November 10, 2010

[…] The Ethical Twist from the mittens might be familiar to you as well – I used it in my Garden Cardigan over the summer, and the mittens are just as warm and snuggly as the cardigan is.  I’m […]

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