This Secret Coast design is the one that’s been most-knitted by club members, and is another cardigan that Claire and I worked on together – Auchnaha.
I love knitting lace shawls, but in all honesty, I don’t wear them all that much. I do wear lace cardigans, however, and have a bit of a thing for cardigans with what one might think of as shawl-like qualities: wrapable, drapey, interestingly textured.
I also enjoy modifiying the construction of wraps and shawls to transform them into something that’s like a cardigan. If you can drape some fabric around the body, and then add sleeves, you are pretty much there, and there are so many interesting ways of doing this.
Do you remember my Rowchoish design for the West Highland Way collection? This pattern begins by knitting a simple rectangular wrap, from which stitches are picked up to add the lower back and sleeve caps.
Auchnaha follows the same principle – it’s essentially a rectangular wrap, with sleeves and body added – but the construction is quite different.
You begin by knitting the body, flat. It’s a simple affair of plain stockinette, two lace panels over the fronts, and an integrated slipped-stitch cord that keeps the edges really neat.
As the knitting proceeds, the lace panels begin to naturally drape across the shoulders and the shoulders and sleeve openings are constructed to sit lower on the body, shaped with short rows, that accommodate the lace’s natural drape.
The front and back shoulders are joined together, while the lace panel continues separately, forming the upper back and neck.
The two panels meet in the middle, and a three-needle bind off enables you to connect the two pieces together, and then join them to the lower back. Sleeves are then picked up around the armscyes, and worked top-down.
Laid flat for blocking, the shape of the cardigan appears a little weird (as several of those who have knitted it have noted!)
But once worn, it transforms itself a garment that naturally wraps itself around the shoulders in a really satisfying way. This is a cardigan that’s roomy, but also well-fitting: shaped to accommodate a moving body.
Auchnaha has a loose, easy-fitting shape, designed to be worn with lots of positive ease (I recommend between 10 and 20 inches). Claire and I both knit our cardigans in the same size, (the first) but with different amounts of ease: 20 inches in my case, and 12 inches in hers.
I found Auchnaha a really enjoyable and engaging knit: the lace panels hold the attention (rather than foxing the brain), and the way the whole garment comes together is both interesting and intuitive. Designing this garment spawned some other ideas for shawl / cardigan mash-ups, with unusual (but wearable) constructions, which I’ll hopefully explore further down the line.
If you are interested in making Auchnaha, I really recommend having a quick look through other knitters’ projects on Ravelry for inspiration: there are some gorgeous cardigans there! And if you’d like to knit Auchnaha in our Ooskit yarn, we have kits in both the Riach (me) and Horkel (Claire) colourways, and the individual pattern is available to download from the KDD shop, or from Ravelry.