A First Knitted Cardigan

Allison is the Managing Editor for Interweave KnitsKnitscene, and Interweave Crochet, and Allison is knitting her first cardigan. Allison came to us from our sisters in the Jewelry magazines earlier this year, and while she'd had some experience as a knitter early on, she hadn't really graduated from knitting scarves.

Scarves are great, and who doesn't need some knit scarves, but when Allison caught a glimpse of Alexis Winslow's Vera Cardigan while Lisa and I were working on Knitscene Winter, Allison fell in love. And who could blame her? Alexis's cardigan is so fantastic, with its fairly simple colorwork bands at the hem, waist, and yoke, cute pockets, and a classic silhouette.

When Allison asked me if I thought she could knit this cardigan, I said "Of course!" Well, first I said "No, that will not do" when she asked if I would knit it for her.

If you're looking at your screen like I've gone crazy, I'm sure you're not alone. I know that the jump from scarf-knitter to cardigan-with-some-basic-stranded-colorwork-knitter is a big jump. But more than that, I know that every project I've been less than enthused about knitting has languished mightily in my work-in-progress bin for a ridiculous amount of time. I know that love of the craft is best caught by people who are excited about and interested in a particular project, regardless of the perceived skill level. I know how Allison's eyes lit up when she tried on the sample cardigan and how enthusiastic she was as we went back and forth discussing color options. And I know that Allison and I will spend many a lunch break going over very basic cardigan construction and step-by-step knitting. Which, quite frankly, is how I feel most lunch breaks should be.

I wanted to get a few initial impressions from Allison to see what she was thinking as she stared down the length of the knitting needles, before we really dove in to casting on for a cardigan.

You tried on the Vera Cardigan in the office one day, amongst almost all the other garments in the Knitscene Winter 2011 issue. What was it about this cardigan that really made you want to knit it?

I immediately loved the shape of the Vera Cardigan—the way it nips in at the waist just a bit and that it hits a little lower on my hip than a typical cardigan. The colorwork details make it feel special. And on top of all that love for the style of it, the cozy-factor was very high. But, oh my goodness, there were a lot of cute projects in this issue. I figured that since I’ve never knitted more than a scarf I should limit myself to starting on one sweater, rather than six and a cloche…and a dress and…well, you can see the problem.

I know you’ve just started working with the yarn on your gauge swatch, but what are your initial impressions of Berroco Ultra Alpaca?

Soft, soft, soft. It feels so nice and, to me, it’s the perfect thing for late fall knitting. I can’t wait to curl up by the fire while I work with this pretty yarn. 

Have you started planning your next project yet? 😉

Working here at Interweave is dangerous business. It’s hard not to be thinking about future projects when so many pretty ones cross my desk every day. We recently published the premiere special issue of knit.wear, and I’d love to make the Shaped Capelet with Braided Cables by Erica Patberg (it’s the cover project). I’d better hope for a long Colorado winter so I’ll have time to learn how to knit both of these projects—and, of course, time to wear them too!

All of us as crafters have to, at some point, make the leap from so-called simple knitting to more advanced techniques, or our interest in the craft, be it knitting, crochet, tatting, wood-working, whatever, will wane and fade. If you're reading this blog, odds are you've made that leap at some point, maybe after a few years, maybe after a few scarves. So I hope you'll join me in encouraging Allison through this progress as she takes this leap of faith in herself as a knitter and in my abilities as a teacher. She's just getting started, having almost finished her gauge swatch (of course I made her knit a gauge swatch). Are you planning to knit the Vera Cardigan yourself? The pattern is available in the brand new Knitscene Winter issue, available on sale now, our first standalone Winter issue ever!  Why not get your gauge swatch going and join along? We'll be checking in once a month or so with her progress, and we'd love to hear how you're getting on with your own cardigan knitting.

Until next time, happy knitting.

P.S. – I get very confused every time I talk about this cardigan, as my cat's name is Vera. "Why are you knitting my cat a cardigan? No, wait, that's not what you're talking about."

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