Actually, as Life would have it, after my big announcement to be selfish in knitting from now on, I haven’t had any time to knit at all in the past week. Hah! Luckily, I still have some FOs in my backlog, so at least I have something to blog about in the meantime. Today’s FO was one of those love-hate scenarios, though luckily ending up on the love side of the spectrum…
I fell in love with the Mignon design the moment I saw it. Loop used to be my local yarn shop when I lived in London and I still try to pay it a visit every time I go back. They have amazing yarn, a wonderfully welcoming space, helpful staff, and the shop is always, always, adorned with the most beautiful baby knits showcasing the scrumptious yarns available there. So when I saw that one of those would actually be released as a pattern, I was thrilled.
However, already reading other Ravelers’ notes made me aware of some issues, specifically in terms of sizing. Many many Ravelers pointed out that this was much closer to a cropped bolero than a cardigan, as the pattern description (and the rather vague photo) would lead you to believe. I was also worried about the shaping, especially in the shoulder area, as many of the project photos seemed to indicate that the shoulder shaping worked better for a clothes hanger than for a baby. So I hesitated for quite a while, but in the end I couldn’t resist the adorably simple cables and decided to give it a go.
It was clear, easy to follow and error-free. I have no complaints about its technical aspects, thought the problems I had anticipated above were definitely present.
This is definitely a pattern made for showcasing a beautiful yarn. So, if you’re going to make it, I would advise you to find something really special to use with it. The pattern is interesting enough to knit, yet simple enough to put the main focus on the yarn. Sometimes it happens to me that I have a really special yarn, but can’t find a pattern that will really let it sing (without being just a boring all-stockinette kind of thing). This is a pattern that does just that.
I had won the Sweet Fiber Avery Sport yarn in a giveaway from Yarn On The House. The yarn is 50% merino 50% silk and it is a simply heavenly combination. The softness… Aaah. And the colours are amazing. Just a bit of a variegated shine, without any pooling. I was really expecting to run into problems with the sleeves, which are done on much fewer stitches than the body, usually leading to significant colour differences due to pooling in variegated yarns. But this yarn was not having any of that. I can see no noticeable difference between the sleeves and the body. Impressive! I would highly recommend this yarn.
What I did differently
Most importantly, I significantly upgraded the sizing. The body circumference corresponded to 6-month sizing, so I looked up the other measurements (body and sleeve length) for a 6-month size from another pattern and kept on knitting until I reached them. I had to stop with the sleeves when I ran out of yarn, so in the end they might end up more like 3/4 sleeves, but that’s fine.
I picked up stitches for the sleeves to avoid sewing, knit the sleeves in the round, and changed the buttonhole method. Overall the methods suggested in the pattern were fine, but they seemed to be the simplest methods available. I guess the idea was to make it accessible to the least experienced of knitters. But I found that small upgrades in the skill level led to a more polished result.
What I would do even more differently
I’d definitely add buttonholes all the way down. For me it’s really important to know that a knit is practical, in addition to being pretty. This was the main reason why I wanted a full cardigan instead of a cropped one – I mean a cropped bolero is cute and all, but does it really keep a baby warm? In the same vein, I think this would be more useful if it closed completely, rather than just at the neck.
I would do garter stitch at the bottom edges as well. I decided to knit them as per the original pattern suggestion (ribbed), even though the pattern indicated that it could be replaced with garter stitch. The ribbing made the bottom edge and sleeves flare out, which is just too frilly for my taste. I managed to mostly fix it with blocking, but next time I’d avoid it all together by going with garter stitch.
What you should pay attention to
Blocking makes a huge difference to this pattern. For example, the issue with the shoulders mentioned above was mostly fixed through blocking. After all, this is a ribbed design, and it will pull into itself no matter what, so it’s really important to block it in the right shape. If you tend to skip blocking, don’t do it with this one.
In the end, what I loved
With some adjustments, I ended up with a beautiful cardigan. I still love the design and the elegant cables that I fell in love with in the beginning. In the meantime I’ve received the photo of the baby wearing it and it fits and looks great. So I would recommend this pattern, though a little bit of knitting experience might be helpful in making it just right.