As the summer evenings started to get a touch cooler, and the sun started to set just a little earlier, I was working on a cosy cardigan for the Autumn. I was drawn to the Marble Hill Cardigan by Jennie Atkinson for two reasons: I loved the beautiful texture yoke which is the main feature of the design, and it’s knitted all in one piece, which is something I haven’t tried before. As I couldn’t get Willow and Lark Nest (the recommended yarn), I chose Willow and Lark Poetry in the shade Heather. I went with a lighter colour because I thought this would showcase the detail in the yoke better than a dark colour where the detail might get lost.
As always, I started out by making a swatch to make sure my gauge was correct. It was spot on, so I could go ahead and get started.
This pattern has so many subtle details in its shaping – one of which is in the rib. Instead of just knitting the rib in a smaller needle size for shaping, which is what I have seen before, this pattern also has decreases where the side seams would be to shape the waist. At first, I wasn’t convinced, as I wasn’t sure how the decreases would affect the pattern of the rib, but I think it looks really cool!
With the rib done, I moved on to the long process of knitting up the body. There are increases where the side seams would be which break up the plain stocking stitch but it was still a lot of work!
As this project is knitted all in one piece, it provided me with a great opportunity to try out a new technique for connecting new balls of yarn. I normally rely on adding new yarn at the edges of my work so I can weave the ends into the seam – but there are very few seams in this project! I’m not much of a fan of the magic knot technique, so I decided to try out a Russian join – a technique in which the ends of the yarn are crossed over and woven back into each other before trimming the ends. I’ve added the tutorial I used which was really helpful! I did find through this project that I needed to go in afterwards to fix tension issues with a tapestry needle but otherwise the joins are pretty seamless!
Once I’d finished knitting up the body to the patterns measurements, I moved on to the sleeves. These are knitted in the round, and have a similar pattern of increases to the body. I love the way the increases look, you can see the subtle rectangular panel in the photograph.
I did run in to an issue trying to work out how long I should make the sleeves. I knitted to the measurement suggested in the pattern but I felt that they were too short. Then, when I compared the cardigan to others I own (both bought and knitted by me) the results were inconclusive! After this comparison, and trying on the sleeve as I knitted, I decided to go with approximately 18.5″, about half way between others I own.
Once both the sleeves were done, I could move on to the part of the cardigan I was most excited about – the yoke! First, there is some shaping to be done on the body and sleeves for the armhole, then the whole thing is joined on one set of circular needles – it was heavy! I also had to contend with a technique that I was totally unfamiliar with – wrapped stitches. Wrapping the stitches wasn’t so hard – the instructions have a detailed definition which really helped – but I really struggle with working the stitches after knitting the short rows. I found a tutorial online which helped with the technique, advising me how to knit the stitches so they are disguised alongside the other stitches, but I still had to undo and redo this section about three times before I got it right.
Now I could start working on the textured yoke – I really enjoyed working this section, it was complicated but so satisfying seeing it the patterns form! As this was a very complicated section, I kept tracked of which row I was on by crossing on rows I’d completed on my PDF copy of the pattern – I had to do this via screenshots but it was super helpful. I also ended up making a slight alteration to the yoke pattern but we’ll come back to that later.
Once the main body of the cardigan is finished, the next step is going back to finish the buttonband and buttonhole band. You start of with the button band, to establish how long it needs to be, then use this to work out the spacing for the buttonholes. My bands ended up being about 130 rows long and (because I, for reasons unknown, made 7 total buttonholes instead of 8) buttonholes about 3″ apart.
Next, I could go in a do the very little making up that this pattern requires: just the bands at the front, the underarms and weaving in the ends. I was done in no time!
But, I was not done. When I was knitting the yoke, I had noticed that the last pattern band before the collar was asymmetrical at the front (as far as I can tell this only applied to the size I was making – size 36″ bust). I decided to trust the pattern and carry on but once I’d finished weaving in all the ends and was looking over the cardigan, I decided I really wasn’t happy with how it looked. I decided to undo my work up to that point and redo the pattern to add an extra bobble. This set me back about one afternoon but I’m really glad I did it! I also decided to do my second cast off with size 5mm needles instead of 4mm which I think helped as well as my previous cast off had been a little tight.
Now, all I had to do was sew on the buttons and I was done!
I really love this cardigan – both the pattern and the finished product! There were so many elements of this that challenged me – knitting in one piece, the wrapped stitches and short rows, and the complex patterned yoke. The pattern was really clear and easy to follow and it has a section of definitions that were really helpful. The finished product looks so lovely and it fits really well – I’ve worn it a couple of times and have gotten lots of compliments! I’m already planning to make a matching one in a different colour for my Mum for her birthday next year!
This is also my most well-travelled project to date! As I was knitting in the late summer, this project accompanied me on a couple of holidays and a weekend away to Bristol! See my photos below of me knitting: at Land’s End, Tintagel Castle, on a coach to Bristol, on a plane to Dublin and in Howth.