I seem to have a ton of very casual clothes and most of the sweaters that I wear regularly fit within this casual style, so I’m trying to focus more on knitting sweaters that I would feel comfortable teaching in. This is the first attempt that has been successful—I’ve worn this sweater several times now, including a day when I was observed by a teaching mentor and on the first day of class during the spring semester. So it passes all my teaching requirements: it looks nice, it fits well (meaning that it doesn’t have to be constantly adjusted while I wear it), allows me to move around comfortably (reaching up to write on the board, leaning over desks to talk to students, bending over to pick up that dropped piece of chalk), and it works with clothes I already have.
This pattern, the Squared Cardigan, comes from the Knit to Flatter book. By the time I got the book, I’d already been reading Amy’s blog for a long time and following her Ravelry group. Still I found some helpful tips in the book, including the suggestion to place horizontal bust darts (which are just short rows) so that they end below the bust apex. I’ve been placing my HBDs a bit higher but lowered them based on this suggestion and I’ve found the lower placement does, indeed, lead to a better fit.
I also like that a lower placement allows me to work my vertical and horizontal bust darts at the same time, which creates less compressed vertical bust shaping. Before I lowered the placement of my HBDs, I used to work bust dart increases every other row, which can lead to some biasing in the fabric. But if I work bust increases through the short row shaping, then I have more length to work the increases over, meaning that I can work them less frequently to get more gentle shaping.
This is the first Amy Herzog pattern I’ve knit, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The sleeves on this are the perfect length for my liking, and I really love the shoulder and arm shaping. In fact, I went ahead and used the instructions for sleeve and armscye shaping for another cardigan that I just finished knitting (and am hoping to show off just as soon as I can get some buttons). I’m also a big fan of the sleeve length and the curved ribbing at the bottom of the sweater and the sleeves–it’s a unique detail that’s probably more impressive in real life than it looks in these pictures.
This isn’t made from a single size—I worked out my own numbers for the hip and for the back and bust shaping, working 3” of horizontal bust darts. Based on my upper bust measurement, I followed the 41-42” size for the neckline and shoulders, and followed the instructions for the 45-46” size for the sleeves and armscye shaping.
My neckline ended up more rounded than squared, probably because I didn’t pick up enough stitches. This is my one complaint about the pattern: it gives specific numbers of stitches to pick up for the button bands and neckline, but I much prefer when a pattern gives you a rate for picking up stitches. A rate (like “pick up 3 stitches every 4 rows” or “pick up one stitch from each bound off stitch”) makes it easier to work when you’ve made size adjustments and makes it easier to pick up the stitches evenly. I always disregard specific numbers and work a rate that I expect will be appropriate, but I should have ripped back when I noticed this neckline was a bit tight. Oh well. Live and learn. Or rather, live and maybe, possibly do it right the next time around if you’re feeling especially motivated.
The yarn is Berroco Vintage DK in Charcoal, which is the same yarn I used for Aidan’s gray beanie. However, this yarn has a bit of drape to it, which combined with the open neckline and the larger buttons means that this cardigan really only looks good closed. But that works for me. My favorite way to wear it is layered over a button-down, but it also looks good with a simple tank top underneath.
Every cardigan I finish makes me want to immediately knit five more. If only I could knit faster…