This is what I’m working on at the moment, the pattern that Lion Brand calls a Simple Raglan Cardi. I’m knitting it longer than the original cropped version. I’d set it aside for the two hottest months of the summer, when I couldn’t stand to have wool in my lap, and then I forgot about it, so I’m just coming back to it now.
Took a Break During Summer Weather
I spent the first, cooler half of summer 2022 working on a lap blanket. Actually it’s a cat blanket that I can borrow as a lap blanket — my cats love their blankets. But I’d had enough of sitting with a lap full of yarn by the time I finished that, and by then the weather had warmed up even more.
This cardigan and that blanket are both part of a long-term stash-busting process on my part, because I still have yarn I collected decades ago, and I want to use it up and get on with knitting yarns I’m a bit more excited about. While I had quite a bit of Lion Brand Wool-Ease on hand, I didn’t have enough of any one color to make a whole sweater. I love the chestnut brown (sadly, a discontinued color) that I used for the yoke, and I’d love a whole sweater in that color. Sigh. Instead, I’m combining it with other autumnal colors that I like almost as well, to use up as much as possible of that old stash on this project. There are some blues, too, that I may use on a second, striped one, using this or another pattern, depending on how this one turns out once blocked. More and hopefully better pictures when it’s finished.
Very Pink Tutorial
Staci at Very Pink has a great, easy to follow tutorial for this pattern, and she rates this project for advanced beginners, so if you’re new to knitting, you’ve learned to knit and purl evenly, and now you feel ready for a first sweater, this might be a good one for you. Watch the video and then decide. She uses Lion Brand Wool-Ease in worsted weight as a substitute for the original yarn, which if I recall correctly is a discontinued cotton yarn. Wool-Ease is a wool-synthetic blend, easy-care, and reasonably priced, and it comes in some nice, heathery solid colors.
Why This Project?
This is a basic lightweight cardigan for those transitional times in the year when it’s not really cold and not really warm out. I’m in Southern California, so it’s an almost year-round weight of sweater for me. It would even be good in summer for someone who works in an overly air-conditioned office, or in a colder winter than we have here, for indoor use.
I chose this project because I have a few lighter weight yarns that I’m planning to knit up into cardigans for myself, and I decided I want to knit at least one of those top-down. Then I realized that I’ve never made a top-down sweater. All the sweaters I’ve made in the past were bottom-up, except for one that was knit side-to-side, and most of them were sewn together. So I started looking around at top-down patterns, for something really simple, just to get my feet wet. I dug out my copy of Barbara G. Walker’s Knitting from the Top, thinking I might follow her basic recipe, but I still had questions, so I went in search of YouTube videos on how to knit a cardigan top-down, and I came across this Very Pink tutorial. I watched it, and decided it was a perfect place to begin. It looked quick to make, and seemed to be a good jumping off point for what I want. But I didn’t factor in that we were already in summer, and I already had a large project on the needles. Oops!
Other Top-Down Sweaters
I’ve collected a few top-down patterns now, including the Tin Can Knits Flax pattern, which I plan to use for another of my stash yarns, for a pullover that I can treat almost like a favorite sweatshirt. There’s another called the Livresque Cardigan, by Espace Tricot, which I’m looking forward to trying. I also purchased Ranunculus, by Midori Hirose, which I couldn’t resist after seeing what fun other knitters are having with it. I think I can really get into knitting top-down in one piece, but I wish I hadn’t gotten off to such a slow start at the wrong time of year.
Oh well. I always dreaded the sewing together, when I used to knit sweaters. Maybe that’s why it’s been so long since I made one. I’m still set on doing this. Besides, this first top-down is now about three-quarters done. I can’t stop now!
What are you knitting right now?
Please share what you’re working on in the comments, if you like. I’d love to hear from you about your knitting.
Oh, and if it’s cold where you are, maybe you need some hot chocolate. Here, Arne and Carlos show us how they make theirs, in this instance over an open fire.