Every year I like to set myself a few crafty goals. I don’t always tell people about them , they’re just in my head – or in my planner if they make it that far!
Last year’s knitting goal was to learn to knit a garment all in one piece, top down and to learn to knit in the round. Now it had got to around October of last year and this goal had not even been attempted let alone completed so I decided that enough was enough, I needed to stop being scared of this new knitting skill and just blooming well have a go…
So I looked around online at a few different patterns knit this way, there are SO many lovely ones which is why I wanted to learn this new skill in the first place, so many new knitting doors could be opened! The patterns by Petite Knit have always caught my eye, I loved the look of the Novice Cardigan and the Novice Sweater but in the end decided to give the cardigan a try for my first attempt knitting this, way thinking that the construction should be simpler than knitting a whole yoke in the round. I went for the Novice Cardigan Chunky Edition in the end simply because it better suited the weight of some yarn I had already in my stash, this Lion Brand Feels Like Butta in Pale Grey which I’d picked up from Hobbycraft a while ago.
I downloaded the pattern from the Petite Knit website for 40.00 DKK (Danish krone) which works out at about £4.75 GBP and set about familiarising myself with the pattern. Despite the pattern company being Danish, the instructions were very clear and easy to follow and there are even some YouTube videos relating to the techniques in the pattern if you need extra help. The videos are not in English but I still found it helpful to watch the techniques on camera and see how they were done.
Since I was not using the yarn suggested in the pattern and the needles suggested for my yarn were smaller than those suggested in the pattern also I decided to size down one needle size and size up my garment size in the hope that this would produce a better fitting garment in the end. Since this was really a ‘test’ version, I wasn’t too bothered if my cardigan ended up being a little large as long as it fitted me. I did do a quick tension square to check I was roughly on the right lines before starting.
Knitting the yoke of the cardigan was super simple using regular ‘Make 1’ increases to give the rounded shape. Initially I realised that my ‘Make 1’ stitches were producing a little eyelet hole and after googling why this might be, I found out that knitting into the back of the ‘M1’ stitch avoids this hole. I actually think the holes look quite pretty but after my first couple of rows decided to try knitting into the back to avoid this. I did consider undoing my holey increases and starting again ‘properly’ but decided not to in the end as these things are all part of the memory making of a new garment and the techniques you learn along the way in my opinion.
Since this is a cardigan, the yoke is knitted back and forth on a circular needle which is nice and easy and I found it grew very quickly despite the fact that there are a LOT of stitches on there the further down you go.
So soon enough it was time to divide for the sleeves. I watched the YouTube video explaining how to do this as it was something I’d never done before and it helped a lot. I left my sleeve stitches on a piece of waste yarn rather than a stitch holder as I’d read that this helps to avoid under arm holes.
Once the sleeves are divided it’s simply a case of knitting down the rest of the body and finishing the bottom band with a ribbing. Again, despite the fact that there are a lot of stitches on there, the body knitted up very fast!
Once the body was all knitted up it was time for the scary part – learning to knit the sleeves in the round. Again, I watched a couple of YouTube videos before starting to familiarise myself with the possible different techniques. The smallest circular needle I have is an 80cm wire and initially I tried knitting in the round with this needle after picking up my stitches but I found this stretched the stitches too much. After a bit of chatty help from other knitters on Instagram I decided to give the Magic Loop Technique a go. This technique looks so complicated at first but after a little bit of practice, and more YouTube watching, I managed to get the hang of it. One of the most helpful tutorials I found was this one here from The Nervous Knitter – I credit this brilliant video for allowing me to finally get the technique, she just describes it all so well in my opinion.
So I continued knitting my sleeves in this way, I found it quite difficult to get the tension right at first and you can definitely see on my finished sleeves that one is neater than the other. There’s a little bit of a ladder in parts of the sleeves where I’ve pulled too tightly, or not tightly enough but that’s all part of the learning curve isn’t it? Once I’d got going knitting in this way, again I found the sleeves knitted up very quickly. I knitted in the magic loop for the whole sleeve and didn’t find I needed to swap to DPNs for the ribbing.
Just to note that I did add a bit of length to the body and sleeves which was easy to do as you can try the cardigan on as you go when it’s knit this way.
I am SO pleased with how this cardigan turned out and the best part about it was definitely the fact that there are no seams to sew up at the end which is always a bonus in my eyes as sewing up knitted garments is not my favourite task! It’s definitely not perfect but I’m looking forward to practicing new patterns using this technique now I know I can do it.
Since the cardigan is quite plain in colour I really wanted some pretty, vintage looking buttons to finish it off and eventually settled on these ones from Button Shed UK on Etsy. They are so pretty and I think they finish off the cardigan perfectly.
I want to try the Novice Sweater next and master knitting a whole yoke in the round eek!!
If you have any tips on knitting in this way I’d love to know in the comments below!
Thank you for reading!