Hello Internet friends!
Today I’m sharing a project that I stared wayyyy back in may of last year but only finished a few weeks ago, my Brennivin Cardigan by Thea Colman from issue 5 of Laine Magazine! The 5th edition of the Laine Magazine released shortly before my trip to New Brunswick and PEI last spring and I knew that for my ‘doesn’t count towards yarn stash because it’s special yarn from a trip’ purchase I was going to knit something from this awesome collection.
I settled on the Brennivin Cardigan after a visit to Good Fibraions in St. John New Brunswick and finding this amazing ‘heathery’ yarn from MacAusland’s Woolen Mills located on PEI. We weren’t able to squeeze in a visit to the mill but I was super glad to snag some skeins of this yarn! This yarn so so squishy and so deliciously heathery, I love all the specks of red and yellow that are speckled throughout the yarn, it really adds a nice dimension. Overall this yarn is a bit more ‘rustic’ than what I usual knit with but it blocks out beautifully and is not scratchy at all which was my biggest concern.
I scooped up around 5 skeins for my project and happily cast on with the new interchangeable needle set that the #fluffyblondemonster got me for my birthday :D I didn’t end up getting the required gauge, probably because the yarn was a shade thicker than a typical worsted weight which is what the pattern called for. I did several swatches and found one that I liked the look and feel of the finished knitting and set up myself up for some#knittingmath. Basically I compared my gauge with the cast on and final stitch counts for sizes small and medium to figure out what the final dimension would be if I cast on the number of stitches for each size. I decided on knitting the size medium which, given my gauge, would give me around a size small :D.
The pattern knit up super quickly, I especially enjoyed the inset pocket construction which makes two delightful ‘hidden’ pockets in the large ribbing section of the hem. (note that these pockets are exactly huge, I tried carrying around my phone in them and while it held for a while it didn’t last lol) The lace motif on the back and front sides of the cardigan were also really nice to knit after rows and rows of stockinet stitch (See the picture below for the beautiful back motif!)
While the back lace motif looks really pretty the ones on the front two sides kind of get lost in the yarn. This sweater is described as a ‘Grandpa sweater meets Grandma cardigan’ so it’s a bit of a balancing act between the oversized fit and the lace portions. On the back the lace really pops but on the front, with the oversized fit and sleeves, it gets lost somewhat unless you’re looking on from the side instead of straight on (see picture below and right).
Now for the slight hiccup with this pattern…..I had originally finished the bulk of the knitting sometime in November of last year, after I thankfully got an extra 2 skeins of yarn from a friend traveling back to Vancouver from New Brunswick (Thanks Kate!). I excitedly blocked everything (I was so pumped to see the lace block out so nicely!) and began to seam the sides and sleeves on. I got one sleeve on only to discover it was HUGE! you can see the original sleeve in the bottom photo on the right. The sleeve is wayyyy to oversized, there was just so much excess fabric around the armpit…..I didn’t know what do to so I bundled up the whole project and took it to knit night at Wet Coast Wools to ask the collective ‘knitting hive mind’ their opinion. The results of the discussion were as follows 1) the sleeve gusset is weird, 2) holding up the other un-seamed sleeve was hilarious because it clearly would have fit around my whole thigh! 3)once everyone stopped laughing it was concluded that changes had to be made. So the sweater sat in the ‘timeout corner’ until I felt like dealing with it. I really didn’t like the idea of picking up stitches around the arm hole and knitting a new sleeve because a) I would be on sleeve island again and I had already done that for this project and b) it would involve more knitting math and I had already done that for this project…..I finally decided to revive the project in January of this year when I again brought it to knit night and played around with the one sleeve that I hadn’t attached….I applied some of my sewing fitting skills and started pinching out parts of the sleeve and pinning it to the arm hole to try on. I quickly realized that if I completely omitted the weird sleeve gusset the sleeve still fit into the arm hole of the sweater but was at a much more reasonable diameter and it also happened to shorten the sleeve to then be the correct length for my arm (see picture below on left!) It may be hard to really see the difference in the sleeve diameter the picture below but it makes a huge different in the fit when my arms are down, the cardigan now looks appropriately oversized instead of just massive! After a round of huzzas from all the knitting folk my cardigan was finally complete!
I’ve really been really loving this cardigan, it’s now my go to for slightly chilly Vancouver spring days where I don’t really want to wear a jacket. I’ve been amazed with the quality of the yarn and how so ‘non-scratchy’ it is. :D I’m so glad I gave it a second chance after it sat a while in time out!