One sunny afternoon in September I found myself in that lovely position of just having completed a knitting project and therefore being able to justify to myself looking for another one.
Love Crafts is my go to place for knitting patterns at the moment and I find they have some excellent free patterns for all levels of knitters. After scrolling through for a little while the Fred Cardigan pattern, pictured below, caught my eye.
I usually stick to pretty basic patterns where knitting is concerned because I like to be able to knit in front of the TV in the evening and not be doing anything that requires too much concentration but I loved the look of this cardigan so much I thought I’d throw caution into the wind and give it a try.
I also loved the colour of the cardigan pictured on the front of the pattern and I’d had this mustard coloured yarn from Hobbycraft (pictured above) in my stash for some time so I decided I would use that as it was a pretty similar match. Since both pattern and yarn were technically ‘free’ I thought I wasn’t going to lose much in trying out this different style of knitting for me – even if it didn’t turn out quite right.
So I downloaded the pattern to see how the cardigan was knit and saw that the lace instructions were given in the form of a chart which initially looked very complicated and almost put me off of even trying the cardigan but after reading through and realising that each square represented a stitch in your pattern section and each symbol on the chart represented a type of stitch I realised it wasn’t actually as bad as it looked.
Because my yarn was different to what the pattern calls for, I did knit a tension swatch to check my needle sizing and my tension came out fine using the same needles as the pattern suggests. I decided to knit the second size based on my measurements.
The lace pattern itself is knitted in a four row repeat so not too many rows to get used to. I found that once I’d repeated the pattern a few times I could knit it off by heart in front of the TV easily with only a quick glance at the pattern occasionally to make sure I was ok.
I will say that the pattern is written without too much detail, in fact I’d go so far as to say it’s pretty vague in comparison to other knitting patterns I’ve followed in the past. There was definitely some room for interpretation when the shaping started but once I’d worked out how many rows I needed to knit in order to be left with the right amount of stitches at the end it was fine. The raglan shape is created with a simple one stitch cast off after the initial under arm decrease.
I always tend to mark out a little chart when it comes to shaping so that I know which rows I need to decrease on and where I am with the pattern rows which I find makes for nice relaxed knitting – nothing worse than having to constantly check where you are with a pattern and I am very forgetful!
The back was definitely the most difficult piece to knit with regards to the lace because there are more lace panels to keep track of. I did have to go back and count my stitches a couple of times while I was getting the hang of the pattern just to make sure I’d got all of those yarn overs. This was mainly due to my lack of concentration though not the pattern being particularly difficult.
The raglan fronts knit up super quickly, I only ever knit for an hour or so in the evenings and definitely not every evening and I knitted up each front in 2/3 nights, baring in mind that you’re working with very few stitches when you get to the neck and armhole shaping.
The sleeves similarly worked up quickly with the raglan shaping and you are only using one pattern block on the fronts and sleeves too so it’s much easier to knit the pattern without thinking too much.
Once all of my pieces had been knitted I decided to sew the cardigan together before knitting the button band. I also weaved in all of my ends here too just so that they would be done and out of the way. Isn’t that just the worst knitting job ever!!
This was the first time I’d knitted a pattern with a separate button band needing to be stitched on afterwards. I found the band quite a fun easy knit, because it was so thin it took no time at all and sewed on very easily.
The cotton yarn was absolutely lovely on your hands to knit with and to wear, it’s very soft, not at all ‘hard’ like some cotton yarns can be. With this type of yarn I decided not to wet block and instead gave it a press covered with a tea towel so that I was not touching the garment itself and this worked well. I’m still very much a novice where blocking is concerned!
My final thoughts…
I am so, so, so pleased with this cardigan and I’m thrilled that I didn’t let my initial nerves over the lace put me off because it really was very easy to do and I actually found it a welcome change from my usual plain knitting. It provided enough of a challenge to keep the knitting interesting but not so much that I found it required me to think too hard in the evenings. Something I’m not very good at…!
I think overall the cardigan took me around two months to complete and this was knitting around an hour or so each evening with gaps of days here and there – not too time consuming at all.
I would love to knit this pattern again in a fluffier wool. I have a sage green version in my head that I really want to try but it’ll be good to have a short break from the lace for a little while at least!
I really hope you like how my Fred cardigan turned out. Are you a knitter? Do you enjoy knitting lace and have you tried this pattern?
I’d love to know, leave me a comment below (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it…) 😉
Lots of love as always