The preschool children I taught in Singapore often used same same to describe identical objects and same for similar ones. I think that sums up this cardigan perfectly.
- I wanted the fronts and the back to be the same length so I ignored all the directions for making side pleats.
- The cardigan is longer so I increased the spaces between the shaping rows.
- The sleeves are wider than in the pattern. I picked up extra stitches under the arm, which is what many knitters do to avoid holes, but instead of decreasing them away, I followed the pattern’s system of decreases.
- My sleeves are a little longer than in the pattern.
- Button placement – I made more buttonholes to prevent the fronts from gaping.
- I made changes to the i-cord bind off/cast off for the sleeves and the neckline; mine is one stitch narrower than in the pattern.
Why did I choose this pattern?
- It is a lightweight cardigan that should serve me well in Sydney winters and Cologne and Edinburgh springs/summers.
- It was one of very few lightweight patterns that showed projects with people wearing blouses underneath and not just a tee-shirt or skimpy vest/camisole top, increasing its versatility.
- The only negative comments on Ravelry were to do with button placement (and this was easily fixed). The few projects that have been ripped back or abandoned seem to be because the knitters were bored or the fit wasn’t right (tension!).
- I liked the idea of knitting the button bands at the same time.
How did I proceed?
- I never jump in blindfold. I chose this pattern for its practicality as part of my wardrobe as well as its appearance.
- I checked the projects on Ravelry for useful comments. There are currently 378 projects on Ravelry. Please don’t think I checked through each and every one. There are filters like ‘helpful’ which can draw your attention to any critical aspects (like the button placement here). You can, of course, also search specific criteria like buttonholes or sleeves.
- I looked at the photos of women wearing the cardigan. Regardless of how poor the photo shot, I actually appreciate seeing real women in real garments rather than just perfect photos of lovely cardigans on dressmakers’ dummies or clothes hangers!
- I had a very good (knitting) friend, M, measure across my shoulders, as stated in the pattern, to determine size. This was a smart idea as Same Same but different is knitted with saddle shoulders and using the contiguous sleeve method so the back and shoulders need to fit well.
- I knitted two tension squares (aka gauge swatches). Why two? Because the first one didn’t give me the exact measurements stated and I wanted to be very sure before committing myself. Just half a stitch in difference doesn’t sound like much but expand that over each of your four-inch repeats and suddenly your card end up being bigger or smaller than you were hoping for!
- I made a lot of notes on the pattern. I tend to count in ‘garden gates’ with dots above for shaping, which is helpful when it comes to knitting the second sleeve, for instance. I highlighted the instructions for the button and buttonhole bands. I could not remember them for the life of me (there are slipped knit and slipped purl stitches) and at least this way I always knew what to do.
- I followed good suggestions on Ravelry for having more buttons and for marking each buttonhole row as I went along. This is actually a bit ‘duh’ / slap head / why didn’t I think of this before. It made sewing on the buttons so much easier as there was no counting involved afterwards. I sewed on the buttons prior to blocking and then buttoned the cardigan shut for its bath.
- None bar what I knew already – knitting a seamless cardigan means each row of knitting is very long! Yes, you alternate plain and purl but it is still dull. I had a bit of a mental block after I’d separated the sleeves from the body. The rows were still so long and it seemed as if I would be knitting for ever. I abandoned this for a while but with a touch of regret. I loved the feel of the yarn, its tactility, but those loooong rows were so off-putting.
- I made my cardigan from Holst Garn’s Coast. It’s a lovely blend of cotton and wool and feels very soft. If you’ve knitted with Holst yarns, you’ll appreciate the colour range available. Coast is softer than Supersoft. It blooms a bit on contact with water (which is another reason for checking tension upfront!) so what feels a tad skinny on your needles works out to be perfect in your finished garment.
- I bought my yarn at Be Inspired Fibres*. This isn’t my LYS but it is my LYS when I visit my parents and long may that remain so! Mei’s shop is literally a ten-minute walk from my parents’. Mei is always so wonderfully helpful. If you want to know more you can find her here: shop details on Ravelry, on Facebook and Mei’s online shop is here. You can also follow Mei’s Be Inspired Fibres blog here on WordPress.
and I’ve mentioned her in Smitten, Be Inspired and Be Inspired – Edinburgh Delights posts, too.
The 60 million dollar question: would I make this again?
- Yes I would. I’m really pleased with the fit.
- The pattern was easy to follow. It’s broken down into sections which make instructions like ‘continue with saddle increases on every row and add front edge increases on every second row’ straightforward.
- I love the yarn. My cardigan is so light and airy and weighs just 127g.
- There is one but, however – the button bands! I would increase their width and probably use even more buttons.
And because I’m so happy here are a few photos – with even more on Ravelry. I couldn’t help myself!