Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Lovely in fair isle


I don’t know if it is correct to call something “heartbreakingly lovely”.  But in my opinion, this wee cardigan for my niece fits the bill.  I’m so, so happy with it!

I don’t know why it took me so long to gear up and knit the final sleeve.  Perhaps I just didn’t want the project to end?  It’s the colours that I’m particularly happy with.  The combination of honey, cream, greens and pinks are so fortuitously harmonious.

Even though I saved myself a lot of trouble by knitting this in one piece up to the armholes (as opposed to separate pieces), the millions of ends I still ended up with took a couple of evenings to sew in.  Looking at this picture still makes me feel a little stressed…!!!!  I have now decided that steeking is an excellent idea, and I shall be trying that out for my next colourwork project!

I decided to forgo buttonholes, and used snaps instead, reinforced with ‘fake’ buttons and some pretty pink ribbon, to make it look ‘finished’ and give the bands strength.

This cardigan is such a pretty combination of pure wool from around the world.  There’s a bit of Jamieson & Smith Shetland jumper weight in 2 ply (greens), a bit of Rowan Scottish Tweed 4 ply (pink – thanks Kb!), and some Australian eco merino (brand no longer available) in cream and honey.  The pattern is from Debbie Bliss’ book Special Family Knits.  It’s the Fair Isle Cardigan.  Click here for my Ravelry notes if you’d like more details (I will post more photos to that page, but there’s an issue with loading photos to Ravelry at the moment for some reason).

I can’t wait to see my littlest niece in this one.


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

24 thoughts on “Lovely in fair isle

  1. The cardy has come up beautifully! I love the ribbon and snaps to close it. Goodness, I don’t envy you all that weaving in…..!

  2. Oh, it’s just beautiful – so beautiful, that weaving in all those ends is even worth it!

  3. It’s so pretty – I love all the colours too, and the moss stitch/grosgrain ribbon band!
    I admire your patience with all those ends. I have yet to try steeking…one day!

    • I’ve always been a bit scared of steeking, but I am going to try it! I’m hoping you didn’t look too closely at the hand stitching for the grosgrain ribbon… it’s nothing like your perfect stitching!

  4. Oohh, how beautiful! You’ve really nailed it with the gorgeous colors! Wow, I love it. Great job!

  5. The colors are so perfect, it paid off with all your samples to pick the right combination. Congrats!
    Your niece will look adorable. Now what’s next………your next challenge, I can’t keep track of your clicking needles!

  6. This is pure heaven.

  7. An adorable cardigan. Congratulations.
    When you say you used two ply and four ply did you use the two ply doubled? I would love to know how to knit using different weight wools in the same project.

    • It’s a J&S thing. They call it 2 ply, because it’s two plies of yarn. But it’s actually fingering, or 4 ply weight. Otherwise, yes, the two weights of yarn would not go together!

  8. This is so beautiful! If I were your niece, you would be my favorite aunt, in the hopes that I would get something like that again when I grew up (and maybe would not grow out of so quickly). 🙂

  9. You did a marvelous job on that cardi! I about tipped out of my chair when I saw how many ends you had to weave in! WOW! Your patience and skill is admirable. I’m sure your niece will look absolutely darling in her new clothes 🙂

  10. It was all ends! So many ends! Now I know why people like to steek. I think I would rather steek than weave in all the ends.
    That little cardi so so cute. Your niece is one lucky duck.

    • Me too. Now I know why I will definitely be trying steeking for my next fair isle project!! I couldn’t bring myself to count the ends. I think I’d have jumped out the window. It was worth it in the end though.

  11. Oh wow, that is so pretty! It looks beautiful and vintage. Such a perfect little girl cardigan! I love the ribbon button band too, such lovely details 🙂

    But oh wow those ends! I still haven’t finished sewing in the ends of my stripey socks, but they pale in comparison to yours now!

  12. i “shared” this on my facebook page saying it is divine and it SO is that. i just love it. i like your comment “heartbreakingly lovely” but it is divibe as well. your neice will love it and her mother will just love seeing her wearing it too. congratulations and it has been a very enjoyable and informative journey from beginning to end thank you very much
    may i ask what method you use for weaving in your ends please? there are so many and some tend to be far better than others.regards margot

    • Aw, thanks! 🙂 Re weaving in the ends, I’m not terribly scientific about it. As these ends are mostly Shetland, and the merino is also quite ‘textural’, they will felt together quite easily with wear, so I felt I didn’t need to be very careful about anchoring them. I mostly wove them back through the carried yarn for an inch, and then caught the yarn into a couple of the purl stitches, turned direction and wove the yarn through a couple more stitches, and snipped.

  13. I would call it heartbeakingly beautiful! Every single touch on this lovely cardigan,especially the pink ribbon, has me smiling. That is one inceredible heirloom for you niece. It is obvious how much love and time went into this.
    Now I must say all those ends made me feel a little woozy! 🙂
    Just beautiful!

    • I had the privilege of seeing her in it today, and was thrilled to see it fits her perfectly and is so sweet on her too. I didn’t get to take a photo because she was tired and grumpy at the time (and it was actually hot today so she had to take it off right away). However, I’m now content!

  14. Weaving in the ends after knitting in cotton or cotton blend is not so great though. They tend (in my experience) to come undone when you machine wash the garment.
    I like the idea of reinforcing the button bands with ribbon though – if only I’d thought of that when doing my daughter’s cardie!

    • You are right. Cotton yarn tends to need more care with weaving in to keep the ends in place. I’m terrible when it comes to button holes. I’m so anal about avoiding that pulled look on the button bands that I will go to any lengths to avoid it! Also, I hate it when the buttons pop out of the holes.

  15. More pretty things like this in my size please!
    I promise to send you my REAL measurements this time. 😉