Handspun Charlotte Cardigan
January 15, 2016
February 20, 2017

Handspun Charlotte Cardigan

Project info
Funky Grandpa by La Maison Rililie
Me of course!
Small and Medium
Needles & yarn
US 5 - 3.75 mm
Charlotte's Fleece
1250.0 yards (1143.0 meters)
overdyed brights

Over a decade in the making--my first sheep to sweater project for myself! (I did a sheep to vest project from this same sheep for Robert in about 1999.) The spinning started (and probably finished) in 2003. The knitting took over a year. The perfect buttons were found in my vintage button stash. This is going to be my new favorite sweater, I can tell already.


This yarn was spun in the early 2000s. I bought Charlotte’s fleece at the Monterey wool auction twice without knowing I was doing it. I only saw who the shepherd and sheep were after I brought it home and took it out of the bag. This was the second fleece. I had made a vest for my husband out of the yarn from the first fleece. After using it to spin up 2-ply yarn from natural and overdyed batts I was planning to make a blanket from the yarn. I had woven a blanket of overdyed dark fleece already and loved it. But, over a decade later, the yarn was still sitting in a basket. In fact, one of the skeins has some sun-fade from having been near a window.

So I decided to make this sweater. It is a simple style that I like and it will be a perfect way to use the colors and to not have to worry about the variation between skeins of gray.

I am planning to start with the small size at the shoulders, but I will increase to size medium by the bottom of the armholes. I have problem with sweaters slipping off my shoulders, but also with not having enough room for my arms. Since this is meant to have positive ease I decided the medium would be the best size for all but the top part of the sweater.


I debated about whether to do the increases that are called for in the body of the sweater. Then I debated about whether I should actually do some waist decreases instead. Finally I decided against the increases called for in the pattern (since I am doing a medium for the amount of ease I want) and I decided against the waist decreases. After all, the shape of this sweater is what appeals to me.

So I am knitting on down the body, throwing in a color (without order) every eight rows, as per pattern.


Bound off the body yesterday. The ribbing is done with the yarn held doubled. I wasn’t sure why, but I am glad I did it.. It gives the 1x1 rib extra definition but keeps the shape boxy and loose around the hips. Now on to the sleeves!


Or not… Ha ha! Instead of “on to the sleeves,” this sweater ended up languishing for 4 months. I put it down for summer sweaters (the latticework and then the bethel tank). It didn’t make the cut for vacation knitting in June because the sleeves had to be picked up and because I had to pack so many different colored balls of yarn. During the conventions I took a break from bears long enough to pick up for the sleeves but it looked horrible and I have now finally ripped it back and restarted. They look much better. I need to remember to pick up a stitch or so INSIDE the edge. Since I made the armhole a little longer than called for, I picked up 86 stitches around the armhole and will do a few extra decreases to get back down to my size (M). I want to be able to wear this over long sleeves.


Sleeve one is done down to the ribbing (using size 1 needles). My size 5 needles are now knitting an octopus, but I will soon pick up for the second sleeve of this sweater and get that going.


Second sleeve is picked up and I’ve gotten down to the striped section. Starting to dread picking up for the button band and collar.


Both sleeves are finished and bound off using the recommended i-cord bind-off. It was my first time using it and I like the way it looks. I plan to block before picking up for the button band and collar.


Button band and i-cord bind off are done! The i-cord bind off gives a nice stability to the button band, but I’m not sure it will lay flat--maybe I needed to go down a needle size for my i-cord? I will block first and then see what I think. So my last ends aren’t woven in (in case I need to rip it out and re-do it.)

Looking forward to the afterthought button holes!


The afterthought buttonholes were easier than I thought they would be. It helps that this is a woolen spun yarn. I don’t think this would work well with a superwash or a non-wool yarn. I like the idea of afterthought buttonholes since I can put off the button choice until the end. I used a 3 stitch buttonhole for a 1/2 inch button. It worked perfectly. I was tempted to do a 4 stitch buttonhole, but I made a practice one on my swatch and it fit nicely around the buttons I was thinking of.

viewed 405 times | helped 2 people
January 15, 2016
February 20, 2017
About this pattern
1110 projects, in 3015 queues
1hundredprojects' overall rating
1hundredprojects' clarity rating
1hundredprojects' difficulty rating
  • Originally queued: August 18, 2015
  • Project created: January 16, 2016
  • Finished: February 20, 2017
  • Updated: August 31, 2017
  • Progress updates: 3 updates