Saturday 13 April 2013

Striped Debbie Bliss Cardigan

I am a big fan of Debbie Bliss childrens' knitting patterns. They are designed to minimise the amount of sewing up required, and the sizes are deliberately generous to allow for lots of growing space.
True to form, I can never make anything exactly to the given plan. There is always room for a little inspiration and adjustment. This cardigan pattern comes from the Junior Knits book - Ebury Press, 2004. If you don't want to buy the whole book, the local library will probably have a copy you can borrow.
Although it is lovely, I didn't use the Debbie Bliss yarn. With the New Zealand exchange rate it's horrendously expensive to buy in this country. Instead I used Paton's Jet 30% Alpaca/70% wool, for the main pink colour - I know it's made in china, but I scooped up in a half price sale! For the stripes I used one of my favourite New Zealand made yarns: Shepherd 100% Lambswool Felted 12ply. It's a lovely soft yarn with great loft for a soft light garment. The 5mm needles make it quick to knit.
The cardigan is knitted in one piece, with increases and decreases for the sleeves. The original pattern was plain with a knit 2, purl 2 rib for the bands and cuffs. I changed it by introducing stripes to the body and ribbing, making the cuffs tighter, and the rib a plain knit 1, purl 1 pattern. I also made the body about 4 cm longer, as Little Miss 4 is a string bean, and there is nothing worse than putting in all this effort only to find it is too short.
I put the first lot of stripes across the back of the body and sleeves using a simple 2 rows of each colour with 2 rows of pale pink in between.
At the back of the neck the work gets divided into two to form each side of the cardigan. I worked each side separately until I got to the first stripe. By doing a step at a time it eliminated the need to do lots of row counting later to ensure the two sides matched each other.
Without the stripes I would have worked both side at the same time, but with three colours of stripe it was going to be too much of  tangle!
I broke off the yarn after the stripes were worked. All the working in of the ends is a bit of a chore, but worth it for the stripy result.
I didn't need the extra length of the circular needles to accommodate the ribbing for the neck and front band, as the bamboo needles were just long enough.
I deliberately put the darkest colour on the outside edge of the ribbing, as we all know how grubby they can get.
New cardy in action at the Pet Expo. Just what our little blossom needed in the cold wind. I'm working on a matching hat now.

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