Project Diary: The Chiral Cardigan

We’re thrilled to introduce a new feature on Knitting Daily: Project Diaries! We’ll be presenting these in both Knitting Daily newsletters and on the Inside Knits blog. (Click here to check out another Project Diary!)

Project Diaries are so much fun, and they give you even more insight into knitting a sweater to fit you just the way you want it to. You’ll learn from real knitters who are knitting sweaters in their sizes, for their bodies.

In this Project Diary, knitter Denise Ciotti takes us through the  Chiral Cardigan knitting pattern from the Fall 2010 issue of Interweave Knits.

Denise Ciotti’s Chiral Cardigan

Project: Chiral Cardigan by Coralie Meslin, Interweave Knits Fall 2010

Knitter: Denise Ciotti aka ExecutiveKnitter. Denise lives in the Washington, D.C. area; she’s an executive for an IT contractor in Virginia and she finds knitting to be meditative and relaxing.

Yarn: Rowan Lima, #891 (La Paz), 7 balls

Why you were excited about knitting this project: I recognized the yarn immediately! I am a Lima addict and this is my eighth project in that yarn. This cardigan was so charming, perfect for wearing with jeans in the fall. My eye was also drawn to the ruffle edging; ruffles are so in this season and this treatment was just enough of them. I was leery of the asymmetrical front, but was in the mood for something new and different for fall. And finally … knitting on 10.5-size needles? I was sold!

What size you made: 40″

Your measurements in inches:

Bust: 39″
Waist: 28″
Hips: 37″
Back length (from neck to waist): 17″

Schematic measurements for your size:

Bust: 40″
Waist: 36″
Hips: 41″
Overall back length (from neck to hem): 22.25″

Modifications made: I was convinced you could not knit this yarn on 10.5 (US) size needles and get the gauge suggested. After swatching several times, I found I was spot-on the gauge with the suggested needle size. I knit the body exactly as written; I found the side shaping lovely and it fell  correctly at my waist. (Editor’s note: If the shaping of the waist in this garment doesn’t work for you, raise or lower it by working your short rows shorter and longer on either side of the narrowest part of your waist. Don’t forget to make the same change on all four pieces!) I made the neck band shorter to ensure the shoulders would not drop, see notes below.

What did you love about knitting this?
The pattern is so well organized and written. Every stitch count was correct (this never happens for me), the shaping perfect, increases and decreases were well planned. The yarn/needle combination made for fast and enjoyable knitting. The drape was evident after only a few inches on the needle; this is a very luxurious cardigan.

Chiral Cardigan Knitting Pattern

Chiral Cardigan knitting pattern by Coralie Meslin

What would you note for other knitters about when knitting this pattern? Any specific tips? On the shoulders of the model, I noticed the sweater’s shoulder seams did not sit quite where I would want them to. I took that clue and double checked the back neck opening when it was time to add the neckband. This yarn knit on this size needle creates a very drapey fabric that takes advantage of the texture of the yarn. However, as a result of the drapiness, before you add the neckband, the neckline will tend to stretch. I would pay close attention to the schematic, measuring your own shoulder width and knitting the band to that measurement.

To take this measurement, put on your favorite sweater with shoulder seams. Measure from shoulder seam to shoulder seam across the back of your neck. From that number, subtract the widths of the fronts at the shoulder seam and knit the neck band to that measurement. I knitted a few inches of the neck band, then seamed it to the sweater. Knitting and seaming at the same time ensured I had a perfect fit.

This project has a lot of seaming, but the results are worth it. Don’t be tempted to skip something, like knitting the fronts and back as one, to reduce seaming. The drapey fabric needs the support of the seams to hold the shape.

How will you wear this project? I see this with dark skinny jeans and a great pair of knee high boots.


P.S. Denise’s Chiral Cardigan knitting pattern is gorgeous; it goes to show you how making the little changes that are right for you can make a sweater go from pretty good to a knockout. (And if you’re a plus-sized gal, be sure to read Lisa Shroyer’s blog post about knitting the Chiral, too!)

At Interweave Knits, our goal is to provide the know-how and patterns to make knits that look and feel good on everyone—subscribe now to make sure you don’t miss a single issue!

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