A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

Saddled Aran Cardigan Coat


Don’t know if anyone is still out there, but I had to proclaim: I am finally finished with the cardigan! The Celtic beauty of Aran knit is globally renowned. Each Aran stitch has its own meaning and carries with it good luck for the wearer–from the diamond stitch that promises success and prosperity, to the cable stitch symbolizing safety and good luck. Nothing keeps me warmer than something that’s been hand-knitted. And, this coat is no different using a traditional pattern to continue a long Celtic custom. The wool blend used in this hand-knitted lumber gives it a luxurious softness and next-to-the skin comfort.

This was a great learning experience for me. All the obstacles I encountered definitely did build character and helped me grow as a knitter. I need to knit small, easy things for a while now, but I would not hesitate to begin another challenge like this in the near future…after finishing up all the holiday knits. I will also say that even though I wore my unfinished sweater to the club and my favorite bookshop yesterday, I got many compliments from total strangers. (Aren’t crafters the best folks?)

PROJECT SPECS
CAST ON:
November 13, 2009
BIND OFF: November 28, 2009 (Approximately 36 hours, over 9 days, in knitting and finishing time.)
PATTERN: Aran Cardigan by Kerry Ferguson from TWO STICKS and A STRING: Knitting Designs Inspired by Nature
MATERIAL: 1576 yards, weighed 24 ounces/8 skeins, of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Brilliant Purple (147) ($3.39/skein)
EMBELLISHMENTS: La Mode Buttons Hook 1321, Style 44745 ($2.50 2-pack)
NEEDLES: Sizes 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
MEASUREMENTS:
Neck to cuff 23.5″; armhole to cuff 12.5″; 7″ cuff; 40″ Chest; 36″ waist; 40″ hem; 29″ shoulder to hem (Still have yet to decide if I should block out especially the bulge in front near the hem)

MODIFICATIONS:
1. Slipped first stitch of each row. K1B ribbing on every other row (instead of every row.)
2. Italian tubular cast on in Size 7 needles (instead of 6) and knit 5.5″ 1×1 ribbing for collar.
3. Misread length of the piece for neck/shoulder. Switched to Size 8 needles, reattached and knit front length correctly to 10″ saddle between picking up stitches for front and rest of body pieces. Completed 2.5 patterned-repeats of Double Wave Cable. I should have listened to my intuition and stayed with Size 7 needles for this section as the shoulders are a tad broad for a petite frame.
4. Knit both front pieces 2-at-a-time to 8.5″ length from ribbing (should’ve stopped at 7″ for a tailor-fit.) Completed 2.5 patterned-repeats of Double Wave Cable ending Row 8 (adjust other motif rows appropriately.) Somehow, I missed a row in a panel. Instead of ripping, I added a row by applying Intarsia technique to the appropriate panel. Amazingly, it works!
5. Stuck on pick-up stitches between salvage and shoulder edges for a while. After putting the project down for a day, I gave it a go based on speculation of how it should proceed.
6. Picked up stitches for back piece. Found a typo on set-up instruction for Aran Diamonds with Moss Stitch motif, instead of 15 stitches, it should read 13 stitches. Once set-up row is in placed in respective portions, knitting is a breeze/flowing smoothly. No surprise.
7. When back piece reaches same length as front pieces, switched to Size 7 needles and picked up 20 stitches on both side of the saddles the second time (instead for 38) raglan sleeves–knit 2-at-a-time in a round.
8. On 5th Row from sleeve pick-up, started 4-stitch *(instead of 2)* sleeve decrease–between double moss panels–every 4th row until it reaches the elbow. Then, decrease per pattern. The sleeves are tapered and comfortably fitted. Tubular bind off made the cuff ideally springy.
9. A few more DUH moments…I had redo four Wave Cable panels–front and back–one missing 2 purls from the start; then realized the cables weren’t mirrored!!! Knitted again only the panels instead of ripping back to collar piece…that would be unthinkable, unspeakable! I demonstrated to our Knit-Up group how it’s done and they are not ready for the trick yet 😀 If I make this again, I’d make the cables intertwined as they truly would in Celtic knots.
10. Switched to Size 3 needles to knit front/back body in one piece when it reaches 12″ from armhole to give waist shaping. (Also decided to unravel both sleeves with 76 pick-up stitches from cast on at this point as it’s just way way too baggy!)
11. Switched to Size 7 needles after 2″ of waist-shaping. Knit rest per pattern for long version. Tubular bind off.
11. For the buttoned bands: Picked up from slipped stitches and knitted two, on third slipped stitch, knit front and back out of one. Otherwise, the band would be very tight (ask me how I knew!)
12. Replaced all ten original buttons with La Mode 1321-44745 as they were too small for the button holes.
COMMENT: Quick knit for an elaborate cable sweater coat. Very enjoyable. Meditative. I find I can interrupt it for small projects and get back to it easily. NOTE TO SELF: Read through the pattern completely at least once before casting on.

I love the overall look, knit from the collar down, seamless, and the inside pocket–the pattern and fit were the main challenges. Bodies come in such varied shapes and sizes that it’s hard for a designer to design one sweater that’s going to fit everyone. It’s more likely than not to have to make SOME kind of change to a pattern in order to make it fit me.

Next up is an heirloom blanket for an adorable three-year-old princess who will be moving away in less than two weeks. She asked for deep purple and elephants. The designing aspect took a little time…but it’s coming along. I can’t wait to show you.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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Comments on: "Saddled Aran Cardigan Coat" (1)

  1. Anonymous said:

    Sarah,

    I love your rendition of the Aran Cardigan from “Two Sticks and a String”. I've been wanting to make this pattern for awhile though I wouldn't consider myself to be an advanced knitter. I did however succeed in making the Pine Tree Guernsey modifying it to be knit in the round so maybe I can tackle the Aran. I do have a question for you. When reading over the directions, starting with the Neck and Saddle Shoulders, I just can't picture how this is being knit. I tried drawing out a graphic for me to see but that didn't make any sense either. If I just follow the directions as written on page 40 is it going to turn out? Should I just jump in and do it? Thanks. LuAnn

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