The 7 Stages of Knitting a Cardigan...

...OK, specifically the 7 stages of knitting this cardigan:

1. Excitement
Love the yarn (WYS Aire Valley DK in Blueberry Bonbon from Queen of Purls) and the pattern for a sweet and classic cardigan, the Mary Rebecca by Ellen Mason.

2. Puzzlement
All going alright until dividing for the armpits - don't understand the instructions (which is a recurring theme for me, admittedly.)

3. Irritation
Ugh, why can't the instructions just be written clearly ffs!

4. Exile
Into the drawer with you, cardigan

5. Guilt
Well, I really need to get on with that cardigan.

6. Confusion
Why don't I have the right number of stitches now, I don't understand whhhhhhyyyy....

7. Determination
Right, let's get this bloody thing finished. Not sure if I even still like it, or it will fit.
 No face pictures in this post - they all turned out weird

I started knitting this in January 2016 and finished in April 2017. Not the longest a project has ever sat unfinished, but a long time for me as it pretty much halted all other knitting projects. It sat unfinished in my drawer, making me feel guilty. The project was left for several periods of weeks that stretched into months, due to my having problems understanding the pattern and being annoyed but also because as I knit it I was less sure that I actually still liked it or if it would end up too small for me.

Lace pattern close up
 I was super lazy with the short rows in the back and didn't do anything to make the holes caused by the turns less noticeable (lazy)

I feel like my style has changed since I began to knit this cardigan, and if I was picking a cardigan pattern today, I would go for something with a more modern look. This is also very closely fitted, and though I did do a gauge swatch before, I should maybe have gone up a size. I also don't know why I did up the top two buttons for the photos as it really looks as if it is straining - I normally just button the top button which looks OK.

So will I wear it? Yes. I still love the colour and it's always handy to have a cardigan at all times of the year in Scotland. The fit is a bit closer than I would prefer, but I will probably just button the top couple of buttons in any case. It's 2 years since I last made a cardigan, so about time to get a new one. In fact, this looks so much like the last cardigan I knitted that my husband didn't even think this was new - and it is pretty similar.

All in all, not really a rave review of this project but I think I need to really think about my style before starting on another big garment knitting project like this one.
Left: Wave Circle scarf (c) Hilary Grant (Orkney). Image from Ravelry
Right: Bousta beanie (c) Gudrun Johnston. Image from Ravelry

Now I've been freed from the tyranny of this cardigan, I'm thinking of starting on something from Knitting from the North, which I got for Christmas, or the free 2017 Shetland Wool Week pattern, the Bousta beanie, which I've taken a shine to. There's a bit of a theme of geometric colour work in both choices, and I'll also have to buy some wool to knit either project, which feels like a fun novelty, because I have nothing suitable in my small wool stash.

K x


  1. Uh oh. I know the ffs very well. I knitted the Palmer. I hate it. I got gauge with my swatch. When I put it on it was horrible. It's been sitting in a closet waiting for me to turn it into a sweater. What was I thinking? I have 90+ degrees of heat with high humidity where I live. Your sweater looks good. Revisit it after a fashion. At least your weather is conducive to cardigans.

    1. That's annoying - that feeling after you have finished something of 'why on earth did I make that?'! And yes, we have plenty of need for cardigans in Scotland :)

  2. "The tyranny of the cardigan" -- love that phrase. I'm impressed by your perseverance because I would have frogged it at the third hurdle and had the curly yarn mocking me (in a drawer). I think it's pretty and the color is gorgeous, so good job finishing and on to something more enjoyable.

    1. Oh it certainly did mock me over a period of months, and I finally became determined just to finish it, even if I ended up giving it away!

  3. I think we have all been through these stages with a knit at least once or twice. I'm impressed you actually finished it. I suspect it looks better on you than you are thinking, the colour is gorgeous. Wear it to keep your top half warm and enjoy the next big project!

    1. Thanks Julie - this one really was a struggle so am so glad to have it over

  4. As someone for whom knitting is a black art, any finished cardigan is always going to look impressive! It's a gorgeous colour, and I love the lace pattern.

    "it's always handy to have a cardigan at all times of the year in Scotland" - yep. It's over 30 years since I moved south, and it's still a struggle to leave the house without a cardi 'just in case'!

    1. I know what you mean - even on the sunniest of days I feel like it's tempting fate to be without a cardigan!

  5. Your cardigan is lovely! (I stumbled upon your blog looking for a broad back adjustment - THANK YOU!)


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