Ok, so I know the plural of quail is quail, but the word QUAILS has such a satisfying sound. It is very nearly an expletive: Quails! And, while quail is the name of the stitch pattern used on the yoke of this cardigan, QUAILS is the word I was shouting as I ripped the damn thing back and started over again for the third time.

This cardigan was born out of bad planning. I just didn’t take time to figure out the whole design before I sat down to make it. I began by knitting a pair of sleeves in the round. Then I made a slightly-flared stockinette body, knitted back and forth to the armholes, inserting six short rows at the chest on each side so that the yoke would dip down at the front. So far so good: but then it was yoke time. I wanted some texture, and had decided that the thing for me was the yoke on Norah Gaughan’s phyllo sweater (ravelry link). So I had to work out how to adjust the traveling stitches and yoke decreases to accommodate the cardigan front opening. After two mathematical evenings, steam was starting to come out of my ears, but I thought I had it, and charted it up accordingly. Then I tried to knit the yoke and it turned out to be a total pile of QUAILS. I recalculated, re-attempted — again, the stitches just wouldn’t travel! So I ditched the phyllotaxis with a renewed respect for Norah’s sheer mathematical GENIUS and started again, this time with a butterfly stitch pattern. Again, I somehow thought that I had figured out how to work the yoke decreases into the pattern, but clearly I hadn’t. . . and in any case, the butterfly stitch looked completely QUAILS anyway, so I ripped back the yoke yet again.

Finally, I discovered the quail cable in a stitch dictionary. Even I can manage inserting a few decreases inbetween some regularly placed cables, so I just went for it, adding eight steek stitches in at the front and working the whole thing in the round. The quail stitch wasn’t quite what I wanted when I started out, but it would do. I chopped up the steeks , added some button bands, and finally I had a cardigan. Here is the yoke from the back.

. . . here is one of the painted leather buttons I chose:

And heres me in quails

Given the sheer brain-ache it gave me, I am reasonably pleased with the end result, but if I were knitting it up again I’d do a few things differently: 1) sit down and actually plan things properly first 2) place the cable twists on every ‘quail’ evenly (instead of alternating the twist every 6 rows on adjacent quails) and 2) make the yoke slightly bigger. While the fit of the rest of the cardigan is great, I think an extra inch at the yoke would have meant the stitches stretched less, and looked less messy.

The mirasol baby llama yarn is a great colour, was lovely to knit with, and I really like the drapey look of it. It also feels very soft and luxurious. Mmmm.

Pattern: QUAILS (by me)
Needles: 1 100cm 5mm addi circ.
Yarn: Mirasol ‘miski’ baby llama. “Copper”, 8.5 skeins, 450 g (I only had 9 skeins so was very lucky)
Ravelled here