Little Wave

It’s taken me a minute (by which I mean several years) to figure out what I really like in a hand knit cardigan. As I recently established, I’m not feeling the open front cardigan. But I’ve also made a handful of more traditional, fitted cardigans like my Audrey in Unst cardigan and my Squared cardigan, and I don’t really enjoy wearing those styles either.

Little Wave Cardigan


The cardigans I do reach for are relaxed and cozy heavier-weight cardigans with shawl collars. My most-worn cardigans have been my Girl Friday and my Grandpa cardigan. I wear them regularly as a top layer in winter, and throw them on in lieu of a light jacket in spring and fall.

Little Wave Cardigan

This Little Wave cardigan is very similar in style to those favorite cardigans, and I’m confident that I’ll be wearing this one all the time. I love all the design details on this pattern—the little wave stitch pattern, the pockets, the saddle shoulder, the garter stitch elbow patches. For me, this sweater represents all the best things about being able to make my own clothes. With this piece, I get all of the design details I like about more masculine clothing, but made to fit my body.

Little Wave Cardigan

The Little Wave pattern is actually written as a unisex pattern, with a separate set of instructions for men and women. I think this is a really smart design move. The men’s and women’s versions aren’t radically different, but are simply adjusted for different bodily proportions and design preferences. So the sleeves and body on the men’s version are longer while the women’s version has some waist shaping, a more shallow yoke, and slightly narrower shoulders. Including two versions results in a fairly long pattern (16 pages), but it’s a great pattern overall. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and the construction of the yoke is clever and results in a great fit.

Little Wave Cardigan

My measurements (hip 52”, waist 41”, full bust 47”, high bust 41”) mean that my body typically spans about 3 conventional size ranges. Since this is a heavily patterned piece with a new-to-me yoke construction, it took me a bit to figure out how I wanted to modify the pattern to fit me. In the end, I decided to use the 46” size as my base for the body. I added some extra stitches to the garter panels on the sides so the sweater would be 50” at the hips. Then I worked extra decreases and decreased at a faster rate to get down to the correct stitch count for the waist of the 46” size.


The next challenge was decreasing from the 46” size so that I could follow the yoke instructions for the 41.25” size. I did this through a combination of methods—starting the neckline shaping early to work in a few extra sets of decreases, adding a couple of extra decrease rounds early on in the yoke shaping, and binding off a few extra stitches under the arm. The only other change I made was to shorten the sleeves by about 2”. As many people have noted on Ravelry, the sleeves on this are really long, even when you factor in the cuffed sleeves. In the end, I’m happy with how all of my modifications worked out. The sweater still has a casual, relaxed feel but is fitted enough to keep it from looking sloppy.

Little Wave Cardigan

The yarn is Valley Yarns Northampton in Ocean Heather. Northampton is my go-to worsted right now–it’s equitable in quality to my other favorite, Cascade 220, but with better yardage at a better price. I’ve got a bunch of Northampton in Charcoal that I’m going to use for my first sweater of 2016. As you might have guessed, I’ve got another cozy, relaxed, shawl-collar cardigan style planned: Mari Chiba’s Solitude Jacket. I just have a few lingering 2015 projects to finish up so I can start a new year of knitting off fresh.


9 thoughts on “Little Wave

  1. Isn’t it great when you start to work out what you like? Or more than that, what you’ll wear and feel comfortable in? For me, I LOVE the look of those shawl collared cardis but I know I just won’t wear them because I feel a bit strange with them and they don’t really play well with the other clothes I like to wear. What I reach for over and over are the more traditional style fitted cardis or, more likely, pullovers. Preferably in a thinner yarn. But I feel like they are so BORING – visually and to knit. Still, it’s what I wear. I’m working on a custom fit version atm that I’m hoping will become a good base for experimenting from, but it;s taking me ages because of the small gauge and the tedium.

    I LOVE your little wave. It’s a glorious colour and fits you so well. You look comfortable and confident in it, too, which always kicks a garment up a notch!

    • Thanks! I’m really happy to be finally figuring out what I really like. I think I’ve got it down as far as knitting goes, but figuring it out as far is as sewing is concerned is still on ongoing process. I think the struggle for me is differentiating between the kinds of things I’ve always worn because they are just readily available to me in stores in my size (t-shirts, basic cardigans, jeans) and the kinds of things I actually want to wear when I can make my clothes myself and there are very few limitations on style, color, etc.

      I also really like lightweight pullovers, even though they can be boring to knit, and I’ve got a handful of pullover patterns queued up for the coming year. I’m looking forward to seeing how your Custom Fit sweater turns out!

      • YES. Turns out most of my style was ‘well this is the best out of the things I can access’. And almost none of it is what I want to wear, given total preference. I’m slowly getting there but it’s a surprising journey!

  2. Love, love, love this – the color, the way it looks on you and the fit! Not only have you figured out what you like the best but you’ve executed it wonderfully!

  3. Pingback: Top 5 of 2015 | Sweet Alchemy

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