Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

The cardigan


In a world of knitter’s worst nightmares, the following scenario has to come close to top of the list:  spending hours knitting a garment, laboriously stitching it all together, and then trying it on only to find that it doesn’t fit like you wanted it to.

I was very conscious of this possibility when I set out to knit myself a lightweight cardigan to carry me through Spring and into the early summer months. When I selected the original pattern I didn’t quite notice it had an odd garter stitch panel in the front. Nor did I realise that the shaping wasn’t right for my own body proportions, especially the armhole depth.

The garter stitch panel was easy to adapt – I simply left it off, as the garment was wide enough not to need it. The armholes needed a bit of adaptation. I worked more decreases to make a narrower shoulder, and I increased the length. This was a bit tricky – I think I cast off and then added in more length a couple of times before I decided it was right! The next thing was to sew the shoulders together so I could try it on and make sure that the fit was correct.

Because I had adapted the arm holes, I also needed to work the sleeves a little differently to make sure that they were as deep as the armhole. I also didn’t want three quarter length sleeves, nor did I want lace on the sleeves. The solution was to keep working decreases all the way to the end of the sleeve cap – this seems to have worked.

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Fitting the first sleeve into the cardigan was a good way to work out if I had the proportions right.

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I am checking the length of the sleeve here – it sits just above my wrist, which is a better length for warmer weather.

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The length works well too. I’d like to be able to wear this cardigan with a dress, and I find that dresses need shorter cardigans to look good.

I am also conscious this is a superwash yarn (Madelinetosh Pashmina) and I know it will grow once blocked. It is slightly shorter to accommodate that eventuality as well.

Once the second sleeve is finished, the next step will be to work a neat finish to the neckline, and to add in loops for the buttonholes.  And once blocked, I will finally have a summer cardigan after a couple of years of talking about it!

I am concerned about the large amount of dye that is coming off on my fingers as I knit this garment. Has anyone knitted with this colourway before (Tart) and have you experienced a large amount of colour fade?  Should I be looking at fixing the colour in the first block?  I’d appreciate your advice!

My garden continues to delight in a riot of super strong colours. Whoever planted this garden was a person after my own heart! It is soul restoring to spend a couple of hours pulling weeds and admiring all the new beauties to see in the weekend.

I have no idea what the second plant is called, but the top image is the Aquilegia. I’m so happy to have this flower in my garden again!


This little flower captured my attention with the leaves echoing the shade of the flower.img_2927-800x449

We also have a regular visitor at the moment – how cute is this kereru, warily watching me from the safety of the pine tree!?img_2934-800x533

I am itching to get back into shawl knitting for some reason. They have been a very useful addition to my wardrobe this winter – they looked nice under a coat and kept me extra warm on the way to the office, but could easily be removed (or put back on) once at work. I continue to ponder yarn and pattern options, although it amuses me to see that I have the exact colours of my garden in my stash…

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I hope you are enjoying your weekend, and finding plenty of time for soul-restoring and relaxing activities.

Happy Knitting!




Author: kiwiyarns

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

19 thoughts on “The cardigan

  1. I can empathise re the cardigan. I once knitted the same garment two and a half times (we won’t go there) and in the end gave it away I was so sick of it. Re the colour coming off on your fingers when knitting. I had the same experience. I contacted the lady who dyed it for me and she apologised but said that if I washed it and then rinsed it until the water ran clear then there would be no further issues. Which was good to hear as it was a scarf for a friend and I didn’t want her becoming a red neck! 🙂
    I hope the cardigan works out OK once blocked – nice pattern.

  2. I believe the plant is a honeywart. And yes I would fix the colour before you block your gorgeous cardigan. Red is so hard to fix properly.

  3. Yes, it’s a honeywort. This one is Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’. Pretty!

  4. I’m so sorry to hear that dye was coming off on your fingers. I’ve had some Tosh skeins fade. (Not all, but some.) I think it would be wise to re-fix the color. I use the citric acid method mentioned by the Knitmore Girls at
    My socks haven’t had the same fading problem since I started just fixing all of them with this solution.

  5. I made my husband a hat with Tart. I had the same issue with the color coming off on my hands while knitting. The water was full of dye when I soaked it in wool wash. I just rinsed until the water was clear. Unfortunately, I haven’t washed it since then; however he hasn’t had issues with it bleeding on his head.

  6. After my last shawl that the color bleed while knitting ,and so much in the rinse that it ended out a different color. Fix in the first wet, citric acid in the first lot of water should fix it .
    My yarn was from a different Dyer, but a well respected Dyer and I didn’t think that would happen.

  7. The last time I knit with Madtosh Pashmina, it grew like my back side after eating a choclate bar after I Blocked it. Whoa.

    Awesome bird!

  8. You are so clever, all those adaptions. It looks fab. Good luck with the colour setting, I haven’t tried that colour.

  9. If you go to the yarn site, sometimes they have suggestions for setting the color. White vinegar also works well to set the color. Not sure of exact amount, problably half cup (120ml) to gallon of water. I think there are sites with exact proportions.

  10. Because you were so successful with your adaptations, hopefully you’ll be able to answer my question. Often sleeves end up too baggy/wide but if i stop the increases, and knit up to the armholes straight, I dont have enough ‘fabric’ to make the sleeve fit into the armhole. Hard to explain but do you know what I mean?

  11. I haven’t knitted with Madeline Tosh yarn, but have come across a lot of blogposts etc that mention the colour bleed.
    It looks and sounds like your cardigan has turned out just right for you – I have reknit garments many times. This is the advantage over sewing. If you sew a garment that doesn’t fit right you can’t remake it without buying more fabric and you can’ only cross your fingers and try to tweak it here and there at best.

  12. My mother always recommended setting the colors with a salt soak.
    Frankly I have not tried it myself as I have not had this problem, but if all else fails….

  13. I am curious what kind of shawl you are planning on.. I love shawls ! I can relate to them being a very convenient piece of the wardrobe.
    Your garden looks beautiful… and that bird… ! ahh….

  14. Good luck with finishing your sweater – you’ve certainly put enough effort into it – it should fit well. Love your photos of the flowers and bird – all of which are different from the west coast US. The Kereru picture looks like it would make a nice Christmas Card.

  15. How is your bunny enjoying the move? Or not?

  16. My, you are so clever adapting that cardigan pattern. I’m certainly not that experienced or adventurous; I tend to follow the pattern to a tee! Looking at the pictures in your garden made me quite excited as next Wednesday (26th) I’m leaving on another cruise around New Zealand and again I’ll be spending the day in Wellington with Mary Knox, the creator of the New Zealand spinning wheels website. We hope to be hitting a few yarn shops. I’m so looking forward to being in NZ again; I love it so much! What’s not to like: lovely people; a similar currency system; English speaking; and not far from home. Why would I venture any further afield 🙂 And what makes this cruise even more special is that two of my spinning friends (and their husbands) plus one of my neighbours will also be on the cruise 🙂

  17. I am going to make sure to reference this post when I set about making that perfect cardigan for myself. I just need to remember that I need to be mindful of what works for me. Your cardigan is going to be perfect. I have heard about Tart bleeding quite a bit. Looks like all the other commenters have excellent advice.

  18. Your cardigan looks lovely. You’ve made so many adaptations, I’d say the pattern was a guide only. Hopefully the dye is only excess colour.

  19. Pingback: Blocking be good (ish) | Kiwiyarns Knits