This cardigan has been in the making for quite a few months. I bought the yarn for it before the calendar turned over into 2016, with no more than a vague idea in my mind of what I wanted to make with it: I knew I wanted some kind of top, and I favoured an open-front structure, as opposed to a jumper. Whether it would have sleeves or not was an open question: having got the yarn without a definite plan meant once I chose the project I could not be sure the amount of yarn would stretch gladly to my final design. For simple shapes, as I knew would be the case here, I tend to shun strict instructions and make it up as I go along: in this case, this tendency gave me the freedom to adjust the pattern according to how much yarn I had left at each point.
Then, around May, I rolled up my sleeves and started on the back: a rectangular panel with an intricate cable down the middle , on a reverse-stocking-stitch background. It is knitted from the bottom up, with a tubular-stitch cast-on and minimal shaping at the neckline (simply four further rows on both sides of the cable panel). Getting the width right entailed a couple of false starts, but that is a fairly common occurrence for me. The length is easier to pinpoint, as it is merely a question of knitting on until you’ve reached a mark that meets your expectations.
After the back was done there came the moment of truth: it was only then that, in the spur of the moment, I settled for cardigan. The front is composed of two specular panels, also rectangular, with a less ornate cable . These were also knitted from the bottom up with a tubular-stitch cast-on. The neckline shaping in this case was a bit less straight-forward, with a few rounds of steady decreases to hint at a sort of triangular shape, and to have the final number of stitches on each side match those at the back.
After finishing the two fronts, I seamed together the three pieces to create the main body of the garment. The rectangular, no-frills shape meant I could choose at this point how wide to make the armholes, but it also meant I had better have enough yarn for the sleeves: a non-shaped armhole is not a good look for a waistcoat. All in all, I went for a fairly tight fit for the sleeves to economise in raw materials.
Recklessly, because by this point I had exactly two balls of yarn left, before starting on the sleeves I decided to finish the body with a crochet edge along the front opening and neckline, creating two thick flaps to complete the two front panels: they hold everything together by bringing sturdiness to the mix, add an even more hippie-ish feel to the whole thing, and make the edge look much more put together than would have been possible with bare knitting.
Eventually I came to pick up stitches at the armholes, with less than 200 g of yarn left. Miraculously, it was more than enough for a good pair of quite long sleeves. It is true that they are a tad too tight, but experience tells me the wool will give. The sleeves are knit in the round, with regular decreases, with a tubular stitch cast-off at the cuffs.
And, as luck would have it, exactly upon finishing the piece, I discovered an extra ball of yarn in my stash I had forgotten to take out with the others. So, it turns out I needn’t have worried about the sleeves.
- Yarn: Katia Maxi Merino (55% virgin wool, 45% acrylic), colour 3, lot 78273
- Needles: 7 mm (both knitting needles and crochet hook)
- Started: May 2016
- Finished: 28th August 2016
- Sources:  Continuous Cables, by Melissa Leapman,  400 Knitting Stitches (Great Stitch Patterns)