Despite learning to knit when I was really young, I never really thought of knitting anything other than accessories. Sweaters just seemed so daunting!
After finishing my Pseudo Shibori Scarf though, knit with 3.5 mm needles and kidsilk, I felt like I was ready to tackle my first sweater. Unfortunately, my tendinitis hit just after finishing the scarf, so I didn't knit at all during my grade 12 year. After I graduated, I slowly got back into it, and found that I was okay so long as I didn't knit too much at once.
I knew that I wanted to make a cardigan, and I've always loved all of Andi Satterlund's patterns, so it wasn't hard to pick out a pattern. I ended up going with the Marion cardigan, because it was mostly stockinette (aka simple), but had enough shaping and cables that I would learn something new and not get bored.
When I first downloaded the pattern and read through it, I almost gave up then and there. I had no idea what so much of it meant - short rows, cables, picking up and knitting, yarn overs... it was pretty overwhelming!
I ended up just looking up videos on every stitch that I wasn't sure about, and practicing until I felt reasonably comfortable with all the stitches. I'm glad I picked a relatively simple pattern, because it still felt like I had so much to learn!
The yarn I picked is Colour Adventures Sweet Aran, in the colourway Midnight Blues, which I bought from Wool and Wicker in Steveston. It's 100% superwash merino, and comes in lots of colours. The yarn itself is a little pricey, but I didn't need very much so it didn't end up being too expensive overall. I don't know if I would buy it again because since then, I've found cheaper yarn of a similar quality, but it is quite nice to work with, and really comfortable to wear!
I also bought a set of interchangeable needles, which is a great investment if you plan on making lots of sweaters (like I do!). It makes it really easy to change the cable length as needed, and you never have to transfer stitches to holders - instead, you just take off the needles and screw on these little stoppers at the ends of the cables. When I was knitting the upper front and back, I used a 24" cable, then switched to 32" when I connected it all. When I knit the button band, I went up to 40" (or possible 47", can't remember). For the sleeves, I bought a second set of 5 mm tips, and used both circular needles with 24" cables. I tried to use the magic loop method first, but I found it really awkward to use for the short rows at the sleeve cap.
Since the yarn is hand-dyed, it recommends alternating skeins, which I did throughout the body. At first, I didn't know the best way to do this, so I just tied a knot and knit with a new strand every 2 rows. About 10 rows in, I realized that I would have way too many ends to weave in if I kept going like that! Instead, I just kept all three skeins attached and just picked up a new one every two rows, similar to the way I imagine you would do colourwork (although I've never done colourwork, so I can't say for sure). I didn't bother alternating skeins when I knit the sleeves because I wasn't sure of the best way, and I honestly don't notice any difference, so I probably didn't need to have alternated skeins for the rest of it. Oh well!
Over the summer, the knitting went pretty quickly. I made lots of mistakes and had to frog a lot, but I kept going pretty steadily until I finished the main body of the sweater. In September, though, I pretty much stopped working on it altogether. I did actually find some time to knit, but I couldn't figure out the short row shaping at the shoulder. I knew that I needed a solid chunk of time to sit down and figure out what I kept doing wrong, and I just never seemed to have that time. Instead, I worked on a hat in little bits and pieces, and didn't really touch the sweater until I was home for Christmas break.
Once I figured out the short rows, the sleeves went really quickly, and I finished this within a couple weeks of the start of the winter semester.
The next part that took me forever was, of all things, buying buttons! I really wanted to go to Rubans Boutons to find them, but when I finally found an afternoon free to go to Rue St. Hubert, it was one of the coldest days in February! I literally just ducked into the first store I saw that sold buttons, and found some that matched surprisingly well. They're nothing all that special, but the colour is a perfect match, and I like the simpler buttons because they keep the focus on the cables.
It took me so long to buy the buttons that I actually started wearing it without buttons for a while! I think it looks good unbuttoned as well, but you can see the cables better when it's buttoned up, so that's probably how I'll wear it most of the time.
I am so proud of this cardigan, but it's definitely far from perfect! First of all, it could be just a little bigger. Despite swatching and measuring my gauge, my gauge when I actually knit this was a little tight, and I never checked it along the way. It's still very wearable and comfortable, but if I want to wear anything bulkier than a camisole or thin t-shirt underneath, it's a little snug.
Second of all, I really need to work on casting off loosely. The cast-off edges at the bottom edges of the body and the sleeves are tighter than they should be, and this makes the sweater ride up a little. You can see that in the photo below.
Another part that I need to keep looser is the part between the two needles that I knit the sleeve on - I was so worried about it being too loose that I overdid it a little, and ended up with a little bit of a ridge going down my arm where they stitches are way too tight. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who notices, but if you look closely you can see it a little in these pictures.
Overall, though, I'm really, really happy with this cardigan! I love the colour and really suits my style. I've already almost finished my second sweater - hopefully I'll have it finished while it's still cool enough to wear it!
Ravelry notes are here.
Thanks for reading, and happy Easter!
Cardigan: Me-made (Marion Cardigan)
Camisole: Mom-made (self-drafted)
Skirt: upcycled from an old dress