Cardigans involve many different design elements, and because of this can sometimes seem off-putting to a beginner knitter. Though I’ve knit a couple of jumpers now, this was the first cardigan I’d attempted — but Kate assured me that Downstream was well within my capabilities even though the construction (top-down) and the sleeve shaping (raglan) were completely new to me.
There were also a few other techniques for me to learn:
- working a garment flat – on circular needles,
- backwards loop cast-on,
- i-cord bind-off.
With all these new things to try I will admit I was a wee bit daunted, but definitely excited by the challenge!
Kate drafted the pattern, leaving the shades choices blank – the colours I knitted were up to me. I chose Camusdarach for the main colour and swatched with two possible contrasting colours for the stripes – Vatersay and Ardnave.
On selecting colours I had several outfits in mind, one of them being the green skirt I’m wearing in the final modelled images. My day-to-day wardrobe is fairly heavy on shades of blue, grey and green, so I wanted to make a cardigan which I could throw on with pretty much anything I normally wear. In the end I chose Àrd-Thìr in Camusdarach (grey) and Vatersay (pale green blue).
As I’ve progressed through the Bold Beginner Knits patterns, I find my confidence in my knitting has grown to a point where, rather than being excited just about the making aspect of starting a new project I’m also excited by imagining and planning how I will wear the finished garment.
As I said, this is the first top-down garment I have made. One of the key benefits of this construction method is that it allows you to try on the piece as you knit, giving the opportunity to, for example, check the yoke section is deep enough before you set the sleeve stitches aside.
This is before I reached the point of setting aside the sleeve stitches…
…and this is after setting the sleeve stitches aside.
Notice the neckline looks quite low in the shots above. After body and sleeves are complete a lovely wide, integrated band and collar is picked up around the neck and front openings. Knitting the band and collar was much easier than I imagined, and I really enjoyed the neatness of the i-cord bind off (even though working it seemed quite time-consuming!)
Following the stripe sequence gets easier as you go on. I found that creating charts in my journal, like those pictured above, really helped me keep track of things, especially when working the sleeves.
When finished, washed, blocked and dried I was desperate to throw my new cardigan on.
And I’ve barely taken it off for the past two weeks. Even though it’s summer in Scotland the weather hasn’t been too hot recently and I’ve found the wool and alpaca blend of the Àrd-Thìr very comfortable to wear. It also feels lovely and smooth against my skin
The pattern suggests to knit the size above your bust measurement – that’s the 41 inch size for me, giving 5 inches of positive ease. The cardigan fits really nicely with layers underneath. I’m wearing my Downstream open for now, but might look for a nice brooch to keep the front closed later in the year.
It’s very exciting to know that Bold Beginner Knits will soon be on the presses of our printer here in Glasgow. I’ve loved being involved so closely in the development of this small collection from start to finish, and I feel I’ve learned an awful lot as a bold beginner knitter. I’ve developed a whole array of new skills, familiarised myself with key construction methods and techniques, and, working through the patterns, I have now developed enough confidence to take on projects that might have seemed extremely daunting to me just a few short months ago. The whole KDD team have enjoyed working together on Bold Beginner Knits and Kate will post here on the blog in a few days to summarise the project. Meanwhile, I’m off out for a walk for in my new Downstream cardigan!
Thanks for following along. Have fun knitting your Downstream cardigan!