The Base Cardigan

ETA July 2014: CustomFit Recipe now available for sale here! You can use the guidelines below, but it will be much simpler to generate an individualized CustomFit pattern for yourself. Also, learn more about the Recipe.

Thank you everyone for all the lovely comments, here and on Ravelry! I’m quite overwhelmed! And a big thank, again, to Julie for featuring me on Modification Monday on her blog.

There’ve been many requests for a pattern, so I’ll put up some posts on how to make this for yourself. I’ll start with guidelines on how to make the basic stocking stitch cardigan, move on to an overview of techniques used to knit the front-band/collar, and finally, do a post on putting it all together.

On to today’s tutorial!

Choosing the Base Cardigan

The cardigan is in simple stocking stitch; choose any favourite pattern. To get the same effect as mine, keep it as closely fitted as you can – I calculated for an inch of ease. If you’re new to adapting patterns, or just not feeling adventurous, pick a pattern which is:

  • Mid hip level
  • Closely fitting
  • V-necked, with a long, deep rather than short, broad V
  • Shaped at the back neck. This is quite important, though not crucial. If the back neck dips into a gentle U, the collar will fit into it and furl properly. With a straight nape, the collar with ride higher. Which is not the end of the world, but won’t give the same effect as mine.

Sleeves can be any length you think flattering.  Most importantly, choose a pattern which has a similar front-band/collar thingy attached! This can either be one that is sewn on later, or knitted with the body of the sweater. If the latter, just skip the instructions for the front-band, and make only the basic cardigan body instead.

You should end up with a basic cardigan with shoulders so narrow, they look like they’re going to fall off. Don’t worry, the shawl collar broadens to cover this gap!

Examples?  I used the ‘Cardigan’, ‘Adult’ and ‘Shawl Collar’ attributes in a Ravely search and found these. You get the idea.

If you’re more adventurous or experienced, just make a swatch with your desired yarn and knit up your own base sweater! The Fit to Flatter series is a great help, especially the last but one installment.

Yarn Choices

I used Malabrigo Sock, held double for the body and singly for the collar. This gave me a sturdy body, but a thin collar that showed up the crisp lattice texture beautifully. No matter what yarn you use for the body, be sure to use a skinny yarn (fingering weight or less) for the collar, otherwise the purl wedges won’t recede fully and allow the pattern strips to softly fold around your neck.

Next Up: Some Techniques

Meanwhile: My Carnaby Skirt is (almost) done! Instead of a flared A-line skirt, I made it closely shaped, added pockets and a waistband. I still haven’t decided on how to close the waistband, though. Buttons, hooks or re-knit it in the round and attach an elastic?


7 thoughts on “The Base Cardigan

  1. The cardigan and now the skirt is gorgeous. I would love to have a pattern as I’m not skilled in creating much. Give me a pattern and I’m great! haha…beautiful work. Hope you will share soon.

  2. This is simply beautiful and is what I’ve been looking for, fitted, with an interesting stitch. Is a pattern available to purchase? I’m not so clever as to create this.
    Thank you, Karen

    1. Hi Karen,

      I’ve linked to several patterns (available free as well as paid) which can be used for the body of the sweater. For the front-band / collar, I’ve posted detailed instructions in following blog posts. Feel free to ask me for any clarifications.

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