I am still enjoying Fiona Duthie’s online felting courses but I found I needed a TV-watching knitting project. I was inspired by Melody Johnson’s panel knit cardigans. I liked the bias knit parts but wasn’t interested in all the domino knitting squares. I also liked that she was using two yarns that complemented each other.
Off I went on a yarn hunt. I dropped by The Loop in Calgary at the end of September. After checking out their broad selection of worsted weight yarns, settled on Malabrigo Rios in colourways Jupiter and Cumparsita. I really like the softness of the Rios. The colours are a dark berry-burgundy where the Jupiter has sparks of light red or rose. The contrast between the two yarns is subtle.
I decided this would be another knit-as-I-go project. I like the fit and length of the sweater I made a couple of years ago from my handspun. It’s one that gets me a lot of compliments. Yes, even though the handspun pills like crazy, I do actually wear it outside the house! It’s very comfy. I really like the sleeves on this one with the alternation of the dark with the lighter coloured yarn. I also like the raised collar.
My design for my new cardigan involves six parts:
- chevron front and back panels with the front divided so I can add a button band
- picking up stitches along the long sides of the front and back panels, knit garter stitch side panels to connect the front to the back
- sleeves with ridges similar to my handspun sweater and garter stitch cuffs
- seam the big seam on each side from the cuff to the bottom of the cardigan
- pick up stitches at the bottom edge and knit a small bottom band all garter stitch.
- pick up stitches along the front sides and neck area, knit a garter stitch raised collar and front button band
The chevrons are knit as 6 rows of stockinette stitch in the lighter yarn and 4 rows of garter stitch in the darker yarn. I increase one stitch at the start of each row and do one double decrease in the centre every other row.
I’ve taken my measurements and I’m starting with a back panel that is the same width as my shoulder-to-shoulder measurement. So around 33 cm (13″).
I do like to swatch. It’s not because I care about stitches per inch with a pattern like this. It’s because I care about the hand or drape of the finished knit. I tried 4.5 mm needles (sample shown on the left) and 4.0 mm needles (right swatch). After washing and blocking, I like the feel of the 4.5 mm needle swatch. It is less stiff and I like the stitch definition more. So that’s my needle size!
Because I’m knitting a chevron shape, I cast on one stitch in the corner and knit on the bias until I reach the halfway point in terms of width. Then I knit from the other side, join in the centre and then knit after that from side to side across the entire back panel. I’m aiming for around 70- 76 cm (28″ – 30″) long. I’m going to stop at 70 cm, knit the two front panels, barely attach together at the shoulders and then check the length before I continue with shoulder shaping.
For shoulder shaping, I am planning a small cutout in the back neck area (10 cm x 2.5 cm or 4″ x 1″) and a slight angle on the centre front of each of the front panels starting around 30 cm (12″) below the neckline to narrow the panel from 18 cm (7″) to about 11.5 cm (4.5″).
Have you ever tried knitting panels to create a garment? Any words of wisdom for large swathes of bias knitting? Let me know!