My second attempt at knitting a garment

Knitting is something I’ve always wanted to do but never been able to master. I can crochet and sew to a reasonable standard but knitting has always alluded me and I hate to be beaten by something.
My nan was a fantastic knitter and produced huge amounts of cardigans, jumpers and socks for us when we were kids. It always fascinated me watching her, but despite nan trying many times to teach me I always failed miserably. Not certain if it was something to do with me being left handed and her being right but I always ended up with triangular shapes full of holes rather than nice even squares.
After my nan passed away over 20 years ago, I inherited a lot of her crafting bits and pieces including her knitting bag and needles in the hope that one day I’d be able to put them to use.
My sister-in-law is also an amazing knitter and churns out socks at a rate of knots. I’d expected socks to be one of the most difficult items to knit but when she bought me this book for a birthday present and I had a go I was hooked. My first two pairs did resemble socks but my third pair which I knitted for my husband were fantastic. It gave me such a sense of achievement that I’d  managed to produce something that was actually wearable.

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I have been buying vintage patterns online from The Vintage Knitting Lady. This site is fantastic, firstly because there are so many patterns to choose from, and secondly because you can purchase them as PDFs and have them emailed to you for £1.50,  what a bargain!  This pattern is from sirdar and is knitted in double knit which I prefer. Thinner wool takes too long for me to knit!
I like simple patterns with plain stitches since I’m still new to knitting, and I chose this pattern and wool for my next project. It is knitted entirely in stocking and garter stitch.

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The pattern as you can see is for a 1950s waist length cardigan with a little turned up collar. Being short in length I thought it wouldn’t take too long to knit – I like fast results.
The bottom rib is knitted in garter stitch (basically every stitch on every row is a knit stitch)  and the main body of the garment is knitted in stocking stitch (knit one row and purl one row) There was a tiny bit of increasing after the bottom cuff but the rest of the back was pretty straightforward. I still have to refresh my memory by looking up how to increase and decrease every time I need to do it though.

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The back was fairly straightforward but I did struggle a bit with the fronts. The button band was knitted separately,  again in garter stitch, and once I’d got as far as the increasing for the collar I was convinced it was too short. It seemed to be miles shorter than the rest of the cardigan front, but my mother-in-law who is a knitting whizz said that bands that are knitted separately usually need to be quite a bit shorter to stop them from being baggy once sewn on to the fronts.
The collar was another tricky part. Reading the pattern through I really couldn’t get my head around how it was going to work. I ended up blindly following the instructions and low and behold it did work.
This is the back view of the collar where I’d picked up and knitted it on.

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After knitting the sleeves the last job was to sew it all together. I know a lot of people hate this part but I love seeing the garment come together.
This is the main part with the side seams sewn and ready to sew on the front bands and sew in the sleeves.

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And here is the finished cardigan, front and back views. I’m really, really pleased that I’ve managed to knit something that I will be able to wear at last.

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4 Responses to My second attempt at knitting a garment

  1. Lesley chapman 12/07/2014 at 4:52 pm #

    Hi loving your cardigan have been collecting knitting and dress patterns from the1950s and glad to see your results I am a knittaholic and also love to sew have really enjoyed reading you blog
    kind regards lesley

  2. Helen Snell 12/07/2014 at 6:17 pm #

    Hi Lesley, Thank-you for your comments. I just wanted to give hope to others who might want to have a go at knitting. It has taken me years to get to this stage but I really get a great sense of satisfaction from actually producing a garment – it’s definitely worth persevering!

  3. Cindy 16/07/2014 at 5:34 am #

    I just love seeing all of your beautiful work. Your talent is beyond anything I could ever imagine achieving and the material that you have designed is to just die for!!! Beautiful!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us and as soon as I can get my sewing machine working again or that I buy a new one I will be checking out your material again!!! Blessings!

    • Helen Snell 16/07/2014 at 8:51 am #

      Hi Cindy, Wow you are making me blush! I really don’t see myself as having any special talent. Well maybe designing my fabric, but the knitting has been a real struggle for me to get to grips with. I hope that I can give hope to others who really want to make something but struggle – this really is the first garment I’ve knitted that has actually been wearable (except hubby’s socks!) xx

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