Way back in summer 2016 I set myself the goal of knitting a few basic, wearable jumpers for the following winter. My first was the Merino Blank Canvas Jumper, and this is the second: Andi Satterlund’s Armande cardigan, free from Knitty, worked in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash.
I’ve already written a bit about it: how I converted the pattern to be knit from the top-down and the issues I had with over-twisted yarn creating biased knitted fabric. When I last posted, I thought I had avoided the problem of the over-twisted yarn by throwing out a particularly biased section and starting again. It turned out that wasn’t the only junk yarn in the lot, as the entire lower body of the cardigan came out misshapen and lumpy, with a clear delineation from the smooth fabric above the waist.
Of course, I only realised this once I’d finished knitting the entire cardigan. Having run out of yarn, I tried to block it out, but it was so damned obvious that I couldn’t bring myself to wear it. I finally resolved to cold-calling (PM-ing?) Ravellers in the hope of purchasing replacement yarn in the same dye lot (KnitPicks had run out). One lovely Aussie knitter came to my rescue, and I’d soon cut off and reknit the body of the cardigan. I finished it with some oversized (20mm) tortoiseshell buttons from Lincraft, of all places, after the 1/2″ (12mm) buttons called for by the pattern simply popped open when worn.
So, converting a pattern to be knit top down. It’s not as difficult as it seems, if you have the right resources – for me, that was Andi Satterlund’s Guide to Seamless Set-In Sleeve Sweaters. If you’ve knit any of her jumpers (including Armande), you’d know they follow a similar method of construction. This book sets out how to design your own garment using her top-down method, which is remarkably simple and easy to implement in your own designs.
The collar made things more difficult – in the pattern it is continued upwards from held stitches at the fronts, and picked up at back neck. I decided to cast on and knit the ribbing downwards for a few inches as the first step, then cast on and knit the back piece down. From there, I could pick up the front shoulder pieces then knit across each collar section. The collar had to be twisted around for this to work, like in my crummy diagram below. To finish, the back portion was then grafted to the back neck, and I worked a row of crochet slip stitching at the end from shoulder to shoulder for stability.
I was pretty pleased with myself for figuring out how to reverse the pattern collar instructions! As my gauge was off anyway, I worked my own stitch count down to the underarms for 1″ (2.5cm) positive ease in the bust (the pattern suggest 0-2″ negative ease). The body was worked straight to the hips, and the sleeves worked for my own golden standard of measurements for slim fitted sleeves (12-13″ bicep, 9″ wrist).*
Essentially this is a cardigan based on the Armande pattern. The shaping is different, the ease and length varies, and the collar is of different dimensions entirely. Don’t expect yours to look anything like mine if you follow the pattern! That’s the beauty of knitting – you can use a pattern as a starting-off point to customise garments to perfectly suit your body.
The result is just what I wanted – a casual wool cardigan to wear with jeans or a skirt. I probably wouldn’t work with Wool of the Andes (or any KnitPicks yarn!) after this incident, which is a shame as it isn’t a bad yarn in itself – I just don’t want to risk it.
Pattern: Armande by Andi Satterlund, my Ravelry notes here
Pattern details: “Although this cardigan has a classic look, its seamless construction is thoroughly modern. The body is knit from the bottom up with the pocket linings joined as you go. Collar stitches are put on hold at the top of the fronts, and the shoulders are joined using a three needle bind off. The collar stitches are then removed from the holders and additional stitches are picked up to create the perfect face framing collar. Next, stitches are picked up around the armscye, and sleeves are knit from the top down, using short rows to shape the cap.” Available for free from Knitty or as a PDF Ravelry download.
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash in 26304 Cobblestone Heather
Mods: Adapted for gauge of 17 sts / 4″
– Knit top down
– Made body straight for 1″ positive ease in bust (no waist/hip shaping) and made longer
– Performed own sleeve shaping for slightly wider sleeves
– Added more buttonholes so I could button up further
– Omitted pockets
– Crocheted slip sts across shoulder and back neck using 4.5mm hook to stabilise
– Cast off using modified stretchy bind off (as this was 2×2 rib, I processed both purl stitches, and cast off knit stitches in the usual fashion).
*Does anyone else live metric, but think in inches for knitting? I don’t even know how much 12″ is, only that it makes a good fitted bicep for a sleeve.