A year and a half ago, I started and completed a cardigan. I never took photos, which is really unlike me with sweaters. It wasn’t because I wasn’t pleased with it, or didn’t wear it, as I was and did (and do). I just never got around to it—until today!
This is a total copycat cardigan. Case in point:
Guess which one is mine… yeah okay, perhaps the Cath Kidston label and machine-knit stitch size gives it away!
When we were in Dublin in Spring of 2014, I bought a cardigan at the Cath Kidston shop. A boxy, comfortable cardigan in a soft red cotton. I really loved it, and when I got home, I set out to make a similar but hand knit version, in a heavier wool. So I picked out some aqua-ish blue DK weight from my stash, and set to it.
In the end, I copied almost every detail. I worked out the alternating bands of seed stitch, eyelets, and reverse stockinette, I did seed stitch button bands, and I even made the sleeves slightly too long with folded back ribbed cuffs, just like the original. It was really fun to copy a favorite, I have to say! I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the process.
It wasn’t hard truthfully, as it’s not like I was trying to recreate a lace stitch or something like that (probably outside of my skills). With the stitch patterns figured out and some knitting math, that’s all I really needed!
I measured every detail of the original (body width, length, how far down the neck line came, how wide and long the sleeves were), compared it to my gauge in the stitch patterns, and worked myself up a pattern to recreate the original. I love to knit sleeves top down where possible but in this case, I knit them flat (both at the same time on one long circular needle), so that I could line up the pattern across the sleeve cap and the upper body. That took a bit of finagling and frogging back the very top of the cap if I recall, but the result was worth it.
And then I topped it off with vintage buttons. Kind of hard to match a slightly variegated yarn (a bit more variegated than I usually go for), but these worked nicely!
The only thing I didn’t account for is that even though I’d swatched, the reverse stockinette bands reeeally wanted to grow when the whole cardigan was blocked, so the sweater grew a bit out of control. But since it was superwash yarn, I threw it in the dryer and it shrunk back to size. The fact that it was superwash yarn was primarily the reason it grew, so it was both the problem and savior! And it was possibly the first time I’d ever actually thrown my knitwear in the dryer. Not something I’m eager to repeat!
Frankly, there’s really not much else to say about this, especially since I finished it so long ago! I don’t wear boxy sweaters much except the dead of winter, and it’s the dead of winter right now, so when I put this outfit on (pairing it with my Ginger jeans and the blouse from my grandmother’s square dancing set!), I thought “Hey, let’s actually photograph this sucker!” And so I did.
Right now I’m finishing up two cardigans at the same time, which sounds funny, I realize! But actually it’s because one I had to temporarily pause the first one that I’d started long before Vianne was knit (Katharine Hepburn by Kathy Zimmerman in a sport weight lovely forest green wool from St. Denis, a yarn line that was sadly discontinued) while I waited for some some vintage buttons to arrive in the mail. So in the meantime, I started another (a cropped, second version of the vintage Ten of Hearts cardigan in a bright red Wollmeise DK). Now the buttons are here, and both now only need sleeves and button bands. ‘Tis the season for lots of knitting!
cardigan – made by me (Ravelry project page)
vintage blouse – was my grandmother’s
jeans – Ginger jeans, made by me
vintage belt – misc.
Litewood cactus brooch – Match Accessories
earrings – Desperate Beatnik
shoes – BAIT Footwear Emmies