Diary of my first cardigan
March 21, 2011
March 31, 2011

Diary of my first cardigan

Project info
Annabel Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge
Needles & yarn
Quince & Co. Osprey
4 skeins = 680.0 yards (621.8 meters), 400 grams
Quince and Co.
February 14, 2011

This is a perfect first cardigan project or a cute and super easy ‘quick-fix’ for the more experienced knitter. To help other knitters who might be wanting to take the plunge and knit their first garment, I have listed all of the tips and advice I picked up along the way (I give an initial overview just below), as well as more in-depth diary-style individual entries as they happened. Enjoy (or not;))!

  1. Before you start your project, it’s good to get an overview of how to do a raglan-type garment from start to finish. I purchased a download of Wendy Bernard’s DVD for this from Interweave Knits’ web store. It was really helpful (even if I would have like more explanation of certain things (like magic loop) - it’s good to have an overview in one place). However, I then also found this 5-part video (even though it’s for a toddler’s sweater, it’s still totally relevant (just ignore/whizz through the bits related solely to her own pattern (and see if you can spot the dog that runs around outside…)).

  2. Dividing for sleeves (see my comments from 23 March) - or just watch this video;)..

  3. Sleeves. 3 options:

    1. Use a circular needle with the shortest cable you can track down (I used a 15 inch/40cm, but you can find 12 inch/30cm in online stores, if you google it). I found this to be the quickest and most enjoyable method (if a wee bit tight towards the end).
    2. Use Magic Loop. Even if you decide to go with option one, do teach yourself this method as well, as it will come in handy for hats etc later on. I used this video. .
    3. DPNs (leaving it to others to talk about this method, as I’m allergic to it;)).
  4. How to deal with those Mini Monster holes under the arm (below where you put stitches onto waste yarn). Sorry…there is no perfect answer to that one (everyone agrees). I sewed them up Frankenstein-style afterwards, but some people choose to pick up certain stitches from that gap and others cast-on extra stitches and at the same time pick up those stitches just mentioned (and of course decrease as soon as they can). I think most knitters agreed that this is ‘the pits’ of the raglan sleeve….

31 March: Holy Mother of Knitting- I just finished knitting my first cardigan!! Will post several tips and conclusions for virgin knitters (and peepers) tomorrow. Gotta go celebrate…now if only I had buttons to put on this thing…hey ho…

29 March: Vroom vroom…switched to short circular needles - so much faster (a wee bit tight on last 8 rows, but so worth it). Just bound off first sleeve. Oh la la..the end is nigh!

28 March: Magic Loop it is for the sleeves (taught myself how to do it this morning with the help of a couple of You Tube videos (will post links later on)). A fab invention (not quick though, but then I can imagine sleeves never are…) and a great way for avoiding those DPN ladders.

27 March: Hey ho! Body is finished (see photos 1-2 - seriously bad hair day featuring only cardigan…).

25 March: 3 skeins down and just about to bind off main body!!! Just need to knit a couple of more rows and make one more button hole (taking it to a total of 6). Too dark (and zzzzzzz) for photos now, but will post some this weekend (can’t wait to show off my sleeveless (so far) cute baby!).

Still keen to receive any tips with regards to how to avoid using DPNs for sleeves and deal with the ‘gap/hole’ below where I’ve put sleeves on waste yarn. Big hugs to those Wise Ones who have shared their wisdom so far (love ye all;)).

24 March: Hitting the Knitting Highway with miles of garter stitch for the body (thankfully, I am one of those with a short torso and long legs (funny how such a body quirk comes in handy for knitting, eh?)), so I don’t think I need to add any extra length. Now, I don’t think the body will cause me any trouble, but I am starting to worry about how to knit the sleeves, as I categorically hate DPNs. I am thinking of magic loop, but I was also wondering if I can do it with a 40cm/20 inch circular needle. And there is a mini monster gap below the sleeve (but apparently this is normal) which I will need to learn to deal with (i.e. pick up extra stitches and then decrease?) - any wise suggestions and You Tube videos are welcome. No photo today, but I am two skeins down yeh hah! Rolling, rolling, rollingxxxx. Mood: calm and collected (before the storm?).

23 March: Lookie, lookie who has got a super short mini bolero cardigan he he! Managed to find a video explaining how to divide sleeves froom body and actually also do it myself - yah! Used my favourite Quince & Co. colour ‘Honey’ as waste yarn and realised that the two colours -Storm and Honey - go together like a house on fire (so whenever I get my butt in gear to learn colour work that will be the combo). Tried cardigan on (didn’t want to take body of needles though so I’m approximating here) and it doesn’t seem to small (FYI; I am making a size bigger than my normal size to allow for freak accidents;)). Mood: ϋber ecstatic!! Pictures 1-3 show today’s progress.

Cardigan virgin knitter tips: I was surprised how little there actually is to divide the sleeves from the body after I watched this You Tube Video (just remember that you don’t knit the stitch after you remove the marker like she does (explained in the feedback section underneath the video) and there is also no need to cast on the extra stitches - apart from that the video is good. I would recommend using a yarn you know and like to hold the sleeve stitches (and one that is easy and ‘non-sticky’ to pull out!), ideally in a polour that pops so you can see the stitches when you get to pick them up. You can see what it looks like in picture 3.

22 March (pm): Off to a flying start; cast-on this morning and knit obsessively for a couple of hours. Easy peasy so far (think very wide garter stitch scarf with a couple of kfb and button holes thrown in)…Hoping to divide for sleeves by the end of tomorrow (off to find information on how the heck to do that…my stitch holder weighs more than me so might use yarn…hmmm). Picture number 2 shows progress. Mood: ecstatic.

Cardigan virgin knitter tips: Don’t worry, the increases do look noticeable - just check out the FOs of this pattern. I find it really helpful to write on a piece of paper what I will be doing on every single row (the pattern only gives you overall indications) and then tick off with a pen as I go along. Do also count regularly, especially when you get to the stage where you only increase every 4th row! And remember that there is a mistake on row 6!!! (see main page for this pattern for correction).

21 March (pm): Holy Mother of Knitting, I think I have gauge at first try! Carrie’s gauge is 13 sts and 29 rows for 4 inches and mine is 14 sts and 31 rows ublocked and 13 sts and 27 rows blocked! Yeh hah! Can’t believe it - will cast on first thing tomorrow. Swatching suddenly rocks…

21 March (am): Yarn just arrived! Storm is such a trendy, warm and blue-ish grey that I can’t believe my luck. Feels super squidgy. Feeling like a mixture of a bull in a china shop (can’t wait to start) and a deer caught in the headlights (blimey, where do I start…help!). Decide to wind up first ball by foot and hand method….hah…not too bad. About to swatch….am a tight knitter, but still start with the recommended needle…hey ho hey ho off to pop my cherry I go…More later x.

Background: It’s time to pop the cherry on my garment knitting virginity and total phobia. I have knitted some quite fancy patterns, but have a total block when it comes to garments. Competition for suitors was tough, but I settled on this beautiful cardi from my favourite knitting photographer (sorry Jared;)) Carrie Bostick Hoge (you must check out her blog at link text).

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About this yarn
by Quince & Co.
100% Wool
170 yards / 100 grams

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  • Project created: February 14, 2011
  • Finished: April 3, 2011
  • Updated: April 10, 2011
  • Progress updates: 10 updates