I’m happy to share my latest knitting project! This is a little vintage-style short-sleeved cardigan or bolero, however you’d like to think of it.
I came up with the design for this cardigan myself. I knew wanted a fitted little vintage cardigan or bolero. I knew the yarn I was going to use. I knew roughly what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t for the life of me decide on a stitch pattern to use! I kept waffling and waffling.
Ysolda commented on Twitter with a great suggestion. Pick two numbers: one would be the number of stitches over which a repeat of the stitch pattern is worked, the other would be the number of rows over which a repeat of the stitch pattern was worked. I pulled 6 and 4 out of my read end hat, sifted through one of my Japanese stitch dictionaries, and settled on a lovely stitch pattern that kind of reminded me of a starburst. The repeat was over 6 stitches and 4 rows. Perfect! I loved how it look swatched in the DK weight I was planning to use, and I was on my way.
I based the shape around a vintage short-sleeved cardigan that I own, and knowingly made a stupid mistake. I copied most of the measurements, including a much shorter armhole. I typically knit mine to a depth of 7 or 7.5″, and this was closer to 6″. Of course, it didn’t occur to me that I’d actually like a bit more room in the armpit department of the vintage one, and transferred that same issue to my own. Oops. Actually come to think of it, I knowingly made two stupid mistakes. I also knit the sleeves about 1″ longer than they need to be. Going back to the original vintage one that inspired this… yep, it too has slightly-too-long short sleeves. They should hit just above my elbow, not in the crook so that they wrinkle up when I bend my arms, but no big deal.
In hindsight, I think I’d like this about 2″ shorter to be more of a true bolero, hitting at or above my waist. While knitting, I couldn’t decide if I was going to go for long sleeves or short, and for long sleeves I really prefer that extra bit of length. But I decided on short sleeves, in part because the stitch pattern was both slow to work and rather straining on the hands. So the shorter body length would have been nice for more of a bolero look, but the longer length isn’t bad. Next time, I’ll decide on short or long sleeves before I dive in.
I actually started these sleeves 3 times… one with the stitch pattern, knitting the sleeve cap out from the armhole, but I didn’t care for the way that looked with the stitch pattern along the armhole edge. So then I ripped out, and started one in plain stockinette. A few inches down I tried it on and decided nope, I really did want the sleeves in the stitch pattern. So I ripped that one out, and knit the sleeves flat at the same time, and set them in. While I do often love to knit sleeves top down from the armholes for my bottom up sweaters, it’s not always the option that wins.
Something that’s a little different is the neck band, and I really love it! Both the vintage cardigan that inspired this and a vintage pattern I found online had a neck band that didn’t go entirely around the neck to the edge of the button bands, giving the neckline almost a Mandarin collar kind of look. I knit the neck band longer than the button bands to accentuate this. I think it looks quite sharp!
All you have to do to get the same look is simply start and end picking up stitches for the neck band closer to where the button band and the body of the cardigan meet. Pick wherever you’d like that’s aesthetically pleasing to you. You really don’t see this look on a lot of cardigans and it’s quite a nice touch that takes no extra effort whatsoever! I’ll definitely repeat it in the future sometime.
The yarn is Wollmeise DK, a DK weight that I have several colors of in my stash and you see me knit with a lot. I love that it’s a nearly electric chartreuse. One of those colors that seems like how could it possibly go with anything, except I often manage to integrate it into my outfits, so I knew I’d get a lot of wear out of it. It was hard to match buttons to it, but the vintage 60s ones I used go nicely, even if they lean more green. They’re nice and bold, just like the cardigan.
The tiki brooch is the result of two of the resin pieces I showed in my last post! Tikis that I molded from vintage charms and then re-cast, hanging from a glittery bar. I also made the earrings, too, which I particularly love.
I wore this outfit Saturday night to go out with Mel and our friends to a tiki-themed dinner show, which was fantastic! I knew we were going for awhile, and as I was finishing up the cardigan, I actually planned the brooch and the earrings in mind to wear with this outfit. I matched them up with a root beer Bakelite beaded necklace, and Bakelite bangles.
The ay-may-zing skirt and the top are from the Oblong Box Shop, and the 40s wedgies (which killed my feet, arghhh) and purse are vintage. Both are things I’ve had so long, I can’t even remember where I got them.
should have Photoshopped out where I dropped a piece of corrugated plastic from Home Depot on my ankle, ouch!
Mel wore a vintage jacket and a Sun Surf rayon Hawaiian shirt, along with vintage shoes from the 20s or 30s.
Thanks to our friend Eric for getting the only photo of Mel and I together that night, at Tiki Terrace. And while it was totally unplanned, and hard to see in the dim photo below, we were quite well coordinated. It was the perfect night to take my new cardigan out on the town. We all had a ball!
Anyway, I don’t mean to downplay my love for this cardigan with my earlier little quibbles about it. I swore off knitting short-sleeved sweaters some time back since I rarely wear the ones I have, but I realized that I do wear short-sleeved cardigans. It’s just the pullovers that usually sit unloved. So I know I’m going to wear this a lot!