When normal people – whoever they are – want a new cardigan, they probably go to a shop and choose one to buy. I dunno, but I’m guessing that’s approximately how it works. Some people knit or hook their own, of course, and those folk will definitely have the upper hand come the apocalypse.
I decided to go one step further. (I always decide to go one step further – even if it’s over the edge of a cliff.) Having rejected every extant cardigan known to humankind, I decided to write my own pattern, then knit it up. Actually that description doesn’t give you an accurate picture because it glosses over all the ripping back, the reknitting for the eighth, ninth, and tenth time, and the near-genius degree of creativity that went in to my swearing about the whole procedure as I hurled the yarny mess across the room.
You see, I’ve noticed a trend for cosy ‘blanket cardigans’ lately, and whilst I’m not usually even remotely fashion-forward, this is one trend that I can wholeheartedly get behind. I pictured myself walking the twinnage to school on a crisp autumn morning wearing such a garment, cheerfully immune to the chill that plagued lesser-dressed mortals, yet terribly stylish in what is essentially a yarny hug with sleeves. Its fringe would ripple teasingly as I swept along. We’d be in plenty of time for school, of course, and as we walked I’d engage the twinnage in edifying conversation about inorganic chemistry or political history. Nobody would choose this moment to remember that they were supposed to have modelled the Taj Mahal out of cheese for their homework last night, and there definitely wouldn’t be any pieces of pasta in my hair.
I’d seen a photo somewhere online of the effect I wanted to achieve, but I couldn’t for the life of me find it again. Hey-ho. What I lacked in specifics, I more than made up for in blind confidence. It was difficult to find the right yarn for the project, but then Stylecraft brought out their aran-weight ‘Life Heritage’ range, which just happened to be perfect for the job. I loved this blue-green colourway that they’d called ‘Seagreen’. And, as I began to knit on our Scottish holiday to the isle of Mull, I couldn’t help but noticed how well it did indeed tone with the seascape around me.
There was a great deal of knitting and ripping and re-knitting during that holiday, so I didn’t come home with a great deal more yarnery than I’d had beforehand.
By the time we came home, my knitting smelled of the sea as well as looking like it.
I still didn’t have much of a cardigan, though. There are books that can guide you through designing your own jumpers and cardigans by suggesting instructions according to your gauge, size, and design features such as collar and sleeve style, but I’d decided to knit this thing edge-to-edge, an approach universally omitted by all of the books that I own. So I was completely on my own.
The final version is worked with gently set-in sleeves. To emphasize its I-just-threw-this-blanket-around-my-shoulders-because-I’m-effortlessly-stylish look, there’s very little shaping, but one side of the front widens near its edge and is embellished with a fringe, because blanket.
There is one fastening at each shoulder and in keeping with the yarn, I looked to the sea for inspiration. Unfortunately the sea is 50 miles from here, so I had to resort to the internet for help. Look! Sea glass buttons! How perfect are these? I bought them here.
So at last, the beast was done.
For now it’s being modelled by my headless friend, who is way more photogenic than me. I have the pattern, scrawled in various notebooks. I can write it up. I can learn to grade, just in case you’re not exactly the same size and shape as me but want to knit this thing. It’s a very easy knit, I have to say. Would you like the pattern?