It's finished! It's finished! My Manu is finished. I started it 6 months ago, and after a few breaks it is complete. It couldn't have come it a better time - as the weather gets colder I really need more cardigans to wear. I never actually put away my knitted cardigans and jumpers at the end of the season because they are pretty much needed all year. However it's nice to have a new piece of knitwear to throw into the mix.
Here's my notes on the project:
- Narrowed sleeves as I found them too blousy. So, after the cast on edge and garter stitch rows I increased to 51 instead of 70-something and maintained that for the whole arm. Maybe could have done with increasing a little for the upper arm as it's a snug fit but I much prefer the more closely fitting arm. If you do this be aware that it will affect the short row shaping you do after attaching arms to body..
- Reversed the pleat direction on one side using Ravelry notes from another knitter (can't remember who but it's not hard)
- Cast on 30 sts for pockets instead of 36 and increased to 50 instead of doubling number of stitches, as I didn’t want to the pockets to be too blousy
- I had trouble getting gauge with this yarn so went down to a 3.25mm needle and also made a size smaller than I intended. This generally worked out well.
- Carol Sunday's short row method. It seemed like a bit of a faff as you have to use lots of spare yarn to mark but was a really effective method that doesn't leave holes like the wrap and turn (or whatever it's called) method. I recommend her You Tube Video on Sunday short rows. This helped enormously.
- I-cord bind off and buttonholes
- Pleating - never tried this for knits before! Was a little tricky but produces a nice result.
I used New Lanark Donegal Silk Tweed DK. It is 90% wool and 10% silk. This yarn is not as soft as some wools, like maybe a Rowan Pure Wool, but it has a lovely flecked appearance and feels robust and cosy like a more traditional type of wool. It did soften a bit when blocked with a no rinse wool wash - I wouldn't use it for baby clothes but I really like it.
The yarn was a gift from my In-Laws - as were the leaf buttons I used. I didn't have the right shade of blue in my stash so went for metal buttons which pick up on the yellow fleck through the yarn.
Helpful Note for other Knitters
- Be aware of the provisional cast on method. I used my usual method and only at the end realised that provisional method is required so you can 'unzip' it and do an i-cord bind off around all edges and cuffs. Whoops! I was able to pick up and knit instead which worked ok.
- There is a LOT of stocking stitch required with the other techniques all required at the end of the knit.
- This pattern is recommended for a confident knitter. Some of the techniques are a bit tricky to get your head around, though the main part of the knit is straightforward.
- The neckline pleats look blousy and puffy until blocking sorts them out.
I am so happy with my cardigan. I love the length, the pockets, the pleat details. It took longer to knit than it should have, due to breaks, but was worth it. I know this will be a wardrobe staple for some time to come. I also like that it was made in Scotland, with Scottish wool, using a pattern made by a Scottish Knitwear Designer - Kate Davies.
Now I just need to think about what to knit next, hopefully using some stashed yarn....
How it will usually be worn - with hands stuffed into pockets
EDIT: My cardigan is on Ravelry here