The sweetest words…

‘Ooo I love your cardigan! Where did you get it from?’

There, right there…those two sentences are the sweetest words a maker can hear. Obviously substitute cardigan for; jumper…hat…scarf…or indeed blanket. But in essence there is nothing more complimentary or thrilling that can be said to a maker. Now there is one proviso… if you have made a toy for a child, there is no need for an audible response. What you want then is a grab, followed by a kiss, then a hug, followed by a determined waltz off into the distance with your homemade toy for a little play.

But if your handmade makes are admired by an adult, who assume they have been shop bought, then this my friend is the golden goal. These instances are few and far between in current times. Firstly in British lockdown it is rare to see a physical human being who can appreciate a woolly jumper. Secondly, most people who know me, know I knit and crochet, so there will be a little check in their head…’she probably made that’. In fact I manage to fake-it with a number of jumpers that have been manufactured and people think I have made. I’m saying nothing.

On Thursday night I finished my Denim Crochet Knit Cardigan. I was happy with the final result. Although it is a bit too ‘weekend-woolly’ for the formal online meetings I had on Friday, I slipped it on between zoom calls. In the middle of a very hectic afternoon someone came to our door and greeted me with the joyful, ‘Ooo I love your cardigan, where did you get it from?’ Super-stressed and late for the next meeting (it was late Friday afternoon…not cricket!) I brushed off this compliment…’Oh I made it…thanks…..how can I help?’

A bit like seeing a celebrity in the street… it was many minutes later that I thought…’Ooo wow that was a moment and I missed it!’

Not every garment I make is a success. Not all become good familiar friends. In the last few weeks I have hardly taken off a pastel pink bobble hat that I made using Little Grey Sheep wool. It is a winner. But of the larger items I go back to my Granny Square Cardigan, my chunky Pink Cardigan and my Arabian Nights scarf. Will this Denim Knit Crochet Cardigan become a staple for the wardrobe?

I was inspired by a lovely cardigan sold by Plumo (sorry I think they have sold out). The price point was at the luxury end (understatement) and if you can make your own garter stitch cardigan why wouldn’t you?

Stylecraft have just launched a new Denim Shade in their 400g Special Aran with Wool range. I used about 600g for my cardigan. Being a small person I decided to go with a shorter boxy shape. I began with 5mm needle and edged the hem with an Irish Moss Stitch for 10 rows. Moss stitch of any type will knit up tighter than a loose garter stitch. So you will need to fight your instinct and make the edge with a large needle than the body of the garment. I then went to a 4.5mm needle for the soothing garter stitch. For both fronts I cast on more stitches than I needed and once I had finished the welt left about 10 stiches on a holder for the front opening. Once the back and the fronts were finished I sewed the shoulder seam together and then knitted the front edges separately, knitting enough to fit up the front and then along the back of the neck. I then whip stitched the edges and the front opens together. I hope that make sense.

The real star of this garment are the jaunty granny square pocket. This being a home-knit I had no desire to break the ball band on new skeins. So I took some lovely Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and made each circular motif with a double strand. This pretty much replicates an aran weight.

Honestly will I wear this cardigan? Yes I think I will. The British weather being what it is, the aran weight is fine for the indoors during winter and excellent thrown over a cotton dress to take the chill of balmy outdoor summer evenings.

I know you will shout at the computer when I say. I haven’t written up the pattern. Sorry – it was just a bit of creative whimsy for me. Crochet is my design work. Knitting is my hobby. But I will point you in the direction of something similar. Have a look at this and this and just add a granny square pocket. I suppose my encouragement to you is to create what you want to wear – don’t be put off my luxury prices – make luxury pieces.

Next time you meet a crafty friend…even if you know the answer…ask them…’Where did you get that from?’ The biggest smile will come across their face. You will make their day.

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