Another day, another cardigan. This time, it’s my adaptation of Gudrun Johnson’s Audrey in Unst pattern. I made an ill-fated attempt at this sweater once before, but I didn’t even both finishing the sweater, let alone wearing it, thanks largely to choosing the wrong yarn and the wrong size. But my first attempt was also doomed by the fact that I didn’t make any substantial changes to the pattern to make it suit me. The pattern, as written, results in a vintage-feeling cropped cardigan that’s designed to hit at the natural waist, making it perfect for wearing with skirts and dresses. As written, this pattern looks really nice on a lot of people.
But as someone with a strict pants-only life philosophy, I don’t have a real need for a cropped cardigan. And even if I did, my bodily proportions differ substantially enough from the proportions of the pattern that I would have to do some significant alterations to get something that looks and fits okay anyway. So this time around, I didn’t bother sticking very close to the pattern at all an instead used it as a guide for the bits I liked and improvised the rest.
More specifically, I knit the sweater in pieces and seamed it together, simply because that is my preferred construction method. I used the power of math to determine all of my own shaping, adding 3” of horizontal bust darts like I’ve been doing on all of my other sweaters. I changed the shape from a cropped cardigan to a full length cardigan with long sleeves and eliminated the wide band of ribbing at the bottom of the cardigan. I also knit the sweater with about 1/2” of positive ease at the bust to avoid any potential gaping buttonhole nonsense instead of the 0”-1” of negative ease recommended by the pattern. Oh, and I used a yarn that gave me a totally different gauge than the pattern.
But I did use the pattern for it’s instructions on working the unst bib lace, shaping the neckline, and finishing the neck and button bands. I’m especially pleased with the finishing on this cardigan—the button band instructions give you a very neat vertical column of stitches at the edge and the i-cord finish around the neckline, while kind of a tedious PITA to work, yielded one of the nicest finished necklines I’ve ever managed before.
Of course, I made enough changes to the pattern that it pretty much changed the whole feel of the design. My cardigan doesn’t have the same vintage-y, feminine feel as the original and instead feels a bit more casual and relaxed, which I think suits me better.
What is the current state of the cardigan? It seems like I see people wearing them open all the time or doing that thing where they wear a belt over it. I have a deep hatred of belts so I’m not going be emulating that look, but I do wear a lot of my store-bought cardigans unbuttoned because, frankly, they don’t fit that well. Since I’ve taken the time to actually hand sew all those buttons (12 buttons on this cardigan!), I feel compelled to button it up at least part of the way. And since the cardigans I make for myself actually do fit me, I find that they look better buttoned and look baggy and weird when worn unbuttoned. But sometimes I worry that this makes me look dowdy. I don’t understand fashion. How are you wearing your cardigans these days?