Monday, January 14, 2008

Oversized Cardigan

This is the perfect project for beginners and advanced machine knitters alike. Beginners will get a good lesson on how to measure for a simple shape. Fit isn’t absolutely important but, trust me, if this is too big you won’t like it.

If you have a garter carriage, try making this cardigan with it.
It’s the perfect garment for that accessory because you will be making a series of rectangles, and there is very little shaping required. It’s also perfect for the Brother Lace carriage because, again…there is very little shaping required.

If you would like this to be more of a jacket, then add 2 more rectangles, making yourself a couple patch pockets 5" X 5" and put about 5 rows of 1" rib at the top of them. Try the cardigan on with the pockets pinned to it and decide where you want the pockets.

If you want to add yet another couple rectangles, make a couple more 5" x 5". Fold them in half diagonally and stuff with a little polyester quilt batting. Sew into the cardigan as matching shoulder pads...again, pin them first, try it on and decide exact placement (it's easiest to do this with the jacket inside out.

YARN: Use any yarn you desire and any carriage, also any machine and any technique.

PATTERN USED: This is your creation. Close your eyes and picture yourself in a, sort of longish cardigan with rather full sleeves (or shape the sleeves if you don't like full ones). Picture it as you walk. Picture yourself wearing it. Picture it with a skirt or pants. OK? Now, what does it look like in your picture? Is it slinky and shiny? Is it holey and lacy? Is it textured and thick? OK, now find the stitch pattern you want to use to make it like you are picturing it.

TENSION: Before you go on, make a swatch 50 sts by 50 rows, you're going to be able to use any yarn, any gauge, any tension with this pattern but you want it to be right. Wash and dry your swatch ....or at least let it rest overnight.

Get out your calculator, your tape measure and a notebook. You have a little work to do before you knit.
Tension = _______ stitches per inch _______ rows per inch
A. WIDTH OF BACK: Measure your bust and add 4 or 6" (your choice) and divide that answer by 2. Multiply it X your number of stitches per inch from "tension" above.
A =(your answer) ________________.
B. LENGTH OF GARMENT, TO UNDERARM: Your cardigan is 20" long from the hem to the underarm. Multiply 20 X your rows per inch from "tension" above.
B = (your answer) ________________.
C. ARMHOLE DEPTH: Your cardigan is 9" long from underarm to shoulder. Multiply 9 X your rows per inch from "tension" above.
C = (your answer)_________________.
D. WIDTH OF FRONTS: D = 1/2 of A minus 1" (your front band will be 1" wide)
D = (your answer) _________________.
E. SLEEVE WIDTH: Multiply 18 X your stitches per inch (18 is the width of your armhole front and back together).
E = (your answer)__________________.
F. SLEEVE LENGTH: Measure yourself across the back from the middle of your back to the end of your wrist where your sleeve will end. Bend your arm just a little at the elbow. Subtract that figure by 1/2 of A and subtract 3" for cuff. Multiply that answer X rows per inch (from "tension")
F = (your answer)__________________.
G. SHOULDER WIDTH: The number of stitches you have left for shoulder after binding off the neck stitches. Fill this in later.
G = (your answer)__________________.

Ready to Knit

1. RC 00. Cast on the number of sts for A and knit 30 rows 1 x 1 rib at 1 tension less than garment tension.

2. RC 00. At garment tension knit to B, mark each side for the underarm.

RC 00. Continue knitting to C. Bind off the middle 60 sts for neck and take the remaining stitches off in 2 sections for shoulders. (Mark this number down as G).

FRONTS Make 2 alike:

1. RC 00. For the Right Front, cast on needles 1 to D on the right side of 0. Reverse the bed setup for the Left Front. Knit 30 rows 1 x 1 rib at 1 tension less than garment tension.

2. RC 00 At garment tension knit to B. Mark appropriate edge for underarm.

3. RC 00 Knit to C. Take off on waste the same number of shoulder stitches as the back (G). Take the remainder of the stitches off on waste for the neck.

Make another front the same but mark the underarm on the opposite side of the bed and take the shoulder and neck stitches off on the opposite side of the bed.

SLEEVES Make 2 alike:

1. Cast on the number of stitches in E with waste yarn and knit to the number of rows in F. Take off on waste yarn.

2. With wrong side facing rehang the cast on edges of sleeves by doubling or tripling your stitches to fit. (for small sizes 70 needles) (medium to large sizes 80 needles). Knit in 1 x 1 rib for 30 rows and back stitch bind off with tapestry needle.

To bind off with tapestry needle, start on the left, Thread tapestry needle with 3X the width of the work on your bed. Put tapestry needle through the 2nd needle from end and bring it out the first needle from end. Remove first stitch from needle. Run tapestry needle through (new) 2nd needle from end and out the first. Remove first stitch from needle....continue across, don't pull work tight, try to keep it nice and stretchy as a bind off should be.


Mark the 2 fronts for the neck, making the center 4" deep. Sew and cut and put aside.
To mark the necks, get a piece of paper and a pencil. Divide 60 (the # of sts on the back neck) by your stitches per inch to get an accurate neck width. Cut your paper that wide. Fold it in half and measure 4" down the fold. . Put a little mark on the paper. Now draw a half circle from the 4" point back up to the edge, making the 4" center the deepest point of the half circle. OR if you have a neckline template, use it. Remember though, this is a cardigan, you only need half the template. Pin the half onto the first front and using the garment yarn and a tapestry needle, I make large basting stitches to mark my neckline. Now go to the sewing machine and sew a straight stitch right over the basting stitches. Go back over that same line with a zig zag stitch. OR serge, cutting at the line you basted. If you are sewing cut just above the line you sewed.
Put the fronts aside for now.

Knit 2 front bands by e-wrap casting on 21 stitches. Put the carriage in hold. Tension is 2 numbers less than garment tension *Pull the middle needle out to Hold Position and knit across from right to left Push the needle back to work position and knit back to the right. * Repeat from * to * for 29". You will be tucking the middle stitch all the way up the band. (you can take the band off on waste yarn and measure the front, stretching slightly, if you wish). Make your buttonholes on the right band. I usually put an odd number of buttons on the front of a cardigan, either 5 or 7.

I recently started making my buttonholes on the sewing machine. Thanks to someone on the Knit List, I got a great hint that helped. She told me to make vertical buttonholes on a horizontal knit and horizontal buttonholes on a vertical knit. IT WORKS! Another hint....I use Solvy on top and bottom of the knit when I make the buttonhole. This keeps the knit sewing smoothly and it dissolves with a Spritz of water when you're done. Try the whole thing on a swatch first before you go to your sweater.

Below are 2 variations for buttonholes. Try them both on a swatch and decide which you like, basically they are the same thing.

This is a garter carriage variation of a buttonhole band in the Brother Ribber Techniques Book. Unfortunately that book is no longer in print but if you have it, try the ribber variation, it is great too.

Buttonhole technique # 1
E-wrap cast on 14 stitches and knit K1, P1 Rib to the first buttonhole row ending with carriage on the right ...*Put 6 stitches on the left into Hold position (with waste yarn, hand knit them back to A position)....K1, P1 for 7 rows, ending on the left. ...Put the 6 stitches on the right back to A position with waste yarn. (all sts are now in A position)...Grab the yarn under the garter carriage and make a loop with about 6" of yarn so that when the garter carriage starts to knit again, you are holding the 6" loop in your left hand....Bring the needles in A position back to B position ...Knit 6 more rows....Bring all needles back into work position and continue knitting to the next buttonhole row. ...Repeat from *
When you are finished, you'll have those 6 inch loops in the middle . Cut them in half and weave into the back of the work or use them to whip around the buttonholes.

Buttonhole technique #2
...Roll off some yarn into a ball to be used later....E-wrap cast on 14 stitches and knit K1, P1 Rib to the first buttonhole row ending with the carriage on the left....*Put 6 stitches on the right into Hold position (with waste yarn, hand knit them back to A position)....Knit 6 rows, carriage ends on Left....Take yarn out of carriage and bring all A position stitches back to B position. Hand Knit the stitches on the left back to A position with waste yarn....Place carriage on the right side of the machine and with the extra ball of yarn (step 1 above) knit 6 rows....Bring forward all needles into working position and knit across all stitches. COL. ...Break off extra yarn, engage yarn from cone and continue knitting to next buttonhole row. Repeat from *
Take your bands off on waste yarn. Sew the band with a mattress stitch to the fronts of the sweater and slip stitch the band facing to the back.

1. Hold the entire neck edge up to the machine to measure how many needles you will need for your neckband Measure without stretching and include the front bandsin the measurement.. Lay cardigan aside.
2 Cast on the number of stitches you'll need and work a 1 x 1 rib for 60 rows Take off with scrap yarn or garter bar.
3. With the right side of garment facing you, hang neck opening on the same needles, picking up below the stitched line on the fronts and below the bound off stitches from the back neck edge.
4. Bring all needles into hold position. Push your work behind the latches against the needle bed.
5. Rehang the neckband stitches keeping them in the latches.
6. Close all latches. With garter bar or any straight edge push needles back through the neck stitches.
Hang hem from neckband cast on edge. Latch tool bind off around 2 gate pegs.

Sew up side seams and attach buttons and you're through!

Feel free to make copies of this page for your personal use or for use in classes . The following copyright notice must appear on all copies: Copyright, Roz Porter, Piney Mountain Cottage 1996.- 2008

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