Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sweater Girl Showdown: Which Shrunken Cardigan to Knit?

Sweater Girl Showdown: Shrunken Cardigans!

Which curve-hugging vintage-inspired cardigan to knit? Decisions, decisions!

Now that I've finished Z's Tomten hooded sweater jacket, I'm so excited to make a shrunken spring cardigan for myself to go with my spring wardrobe separates. I'm a die-hard sweater girl--I wear a colorful fitted cardigan almost every day (with a rare blazer thrown in here or there), and there are so many awesome vintage-inspired super-fitted negative-ease knitting options to choose from...

I kind of got lost in the black hole of the Ravelry pattern browser, but I eventually emerged with:

Four Top Contenders:

1. Puff-Sleeved Feminine Cardigan by Stefanie Japel from Fitted Knits.

  • Pros: I already own the book and the yarn--bought both ages ago when I first pondered making this sweater.
  • Cons: I might look like I have balloons stuck in my sleeves.

2. Georgina Cardigan by Alexis Winslow from her website Knit Darling.

  • Pros: When I look at this pattern I want to say "Beautiful sweater, where have you been all my life?" That shawl collar! The plunging neckline! The fabulous lace and ribbing! And while I had never previously heard of this designer... she is seriously awesome. I'm also totally crushing on her chevron-patterned Delancey Cardigan, and ombre-striped Nora sweater dress. AND she's from Brooklyn. And wears glasses.
  • Cons: This looks to require some serious gauging and blocking precision, and few Ravelry-ers (Ravelers?) have gone before me. Also: yarn will need to be purchased.

3. Miette Cardigan by Andi Satterlund from her website Untangling Knots. (Photo above is a lovely Miette knit by Erika Made It, as Andi prefers no Pins from her site)

  • Pros: Love the scoop neck, the little lace touches around the edges, the super-short length (less knitting!) and the serious bust dart shaping. Another designer I was unfamiliar with, Andi seems to have a range of awesome vintage-inspired feminine knitting patterns... you may have seen Lauren's awesome in-progress Agatha. Also: Miette is a free pattern!
  • Cons: Again, new yarn and some serious fitting precision required.

4. Peggy Sue Cardigan by Linda Wilgus from her website Wooly Mammoth Knits.

  • Pros: Such an adorable vintage style--I love the figure-hugging waist cables and the short sleeves. And it's free!
  • Cons: It's DK weight (i.e. slower to knit than the Georgina or Miette), and I'm not sure if it would look too prim on me when buttoned up.

So... can you guess which one I chose? It should be pretty obvious from the sketch (all my knitting friends guessed immediately).

The Yarn Contenders

I also need to decide on yarn--one thing I know for sure is that it will be wool or a wool-dominant blend! The last spring cardigan I made for myself (Pam Allen's Flutter Sleeve Cardigan from Interweave Knits)-- I knit to the 36" bust size with correct gauge...

Finished: My Teal Flutter-Sleeve Cardigan

And yet it sagged and stretched to fit me even while 37 weeks pregnant--you can imagine it is rather baggy now (perhaps a little sweater surgery is in order?) ... that's what I get for knitting with a cotton/silk blend.

After years of knitting with lots of cheaper KnitPicks yarns, I'd like to try something a bit fancier, especially since these cardigans don't require tons of yarn. Like madelinetosh tosh vintage 100% superwash merino wool, maybe in Forestry:

Or Chartreuse:

And then there's Berocco Ultra Alpaca (50% wool, 50% alpaca), at about half the price of the above, but not available in nearly as many fun or bright colors. Perhaps in Periwinkle:

Or how about Dream in Color Classy Spring Tickle?

Or Malabrigo Rios in Lettuce?

And then there's a whole bunch of other yarns I've been pinning...

Luckily I've got a pair of socks in progress, so I can take my time on the yarn decision, and hopefully buy it at a local yarn store like Knit-A-Way or Brooklyn General.

Which cardigan would you knit? And if you don't knit, am I tempting you?!

P.S. Speaking of chartreuse cardigans, I'm considering attempting to resurrect my half-sewn McCall's 5529 doubleknit cardi-jacket (with peplum!) from the UFO pile--it's super huge since I started making while pregnant, but maybe I can cut it down to a smaller size?

P.P.S. If you enjoy these showdown posts, see also "Sheath Dress Showdown: Colette Edition" and "1940s Red Dress Showdown: Du Barry Edition."


  1. My vote is for the Miette! And second choice to the Peggy Sue. Those are drool-worthy yarns!

  2. My favorite patterns are one and three...and I LOVE that yarn in Forestry.

  3. Am I crazy, or did you knit something in bright green a while ago and, when it was all said and done, you really didn't like the neon factor? (I might be confusing you with someone else.) Point is, a chartreuse sweater (that isn't done in something super delicate, like fingering) may look a bit overwhelming - even if it is very fitted and on the short side.

    Given that I just started knitting a year ago, it's scary how many of these patterns I recognize :-)

    The Miette is lovely but I see so many large-breasted, short-waisted women wearing it (my shape, as you know, and one that I'm always trying to maximize for its positives) that I'm starting to wonder if it doesn't have the effect of making the wearer look on the large-breasted, short-waisted side. Don't get me wrong, it's a great sweater, but I don't think I'll be making it because I prefer things that lengthen me out.

    The Georgina appeals because of the shawl neckline, beautiful cables and the fact that the buttons are few and strategically placed below the fullest part of the bust.

    I have the Japel book that contains that sweater and, while I'm totally attracted to it, it is really quite prim - much more so than the Peggy Sue.

    I think I'd go with the Peggy Sue because it's the most delicate and the waist shaping is vertical (better than the horizontal thing going on with the Georgina).

    Wow, I appear to have quite a lot of opinions about this!

    BTW, this is the next pattern I will knit (also on fingering so I can feel your pain):

    1. In FINGERING?! WOW. OK, you are just too intense.

      I love neon, honestly, but that particular chartreuse is maybe a bit TOO neon... I have to see the yarn in person to judge. I will say that the five cardigans I wear most often in real life are 1) chartreuse silk 2) chartreuse wool 3) chartreuse cashmere 3) periwinkle cashmere 4) red acrylic 5) gray cotton. So maybe I am already covered on chartreuse... OR AM I?

  4. I actually plan on knitting the Miette after I finish my Agatha :) I have already spent several weeks obsessing over what color yarn to knit it up with haha.

    I really really love both the Georgina & Peggy Sue (downloaded PS, thanks!!), but my vote goes for the Miette so I can pester you if I have questions when I start mine. HA. :)

    I personally prefer to make big-ticket projects like this out of more neutral colors (if you'd consider mustard a neutral, ehh), so they can be worn with more things. I love petting the gorgeous turquoise & bright green yarns, but honestly I don't think I'd wear them as much as I like to pretend I will. With that being said, I love the lettuce, periwinkle, and forestry yarns you picked.

    You are making me want to hurry up & finish my current project so I can dive into something new! I'm almost halfway done with the second sleeve :)

    1. oh, well, I'm going to make Georgina but I can't WAIT to see your Miette!!!

  5. I vote for Georgina and Peggy Sue too. I agree with big bust / short waist comment. And go for it with the bright colours - they're neutrals for you aren't they?

  6. Georgina or Peggy Sue! From your illustration you can see how the Georgina is gorgeous in a curve-enhancing way, and Peggy Sue is so versatile and cute - I think I'm going to have to explore that option for myself!!
    Have you seen lladybird's Agatha? I liked Miette until I saw that one, although it's not a freebie.

    1. Georgina is definitely the winner for me. And yes, I totally linked to her Agatha up there, I love it and the mustard color too!

  7. I'm with Sherry, Georgina or Peggy Sue.

    ... of course, I'm no knitter, nor do I habitually wear cardigans, so what do I know? Have fun! :)

  8. I think the middle two are my favorites. I think it might be a personal preference for the sleeve length though. I can't wait to see which one you pick. One of these days I'll learn to knit and join in on the making of beautiful cardigans.

  9. Hmmmm... Miette Cardigan is my favorite of these! I'm really loving the BRIGHT greens you have picked out here! My two cents... Malabrigo is super delish, but it pills like a MOFO. And Alpaca is HOTTER than HADES, which is awesome if you plan to wear it Dec-Feb, but kinda crappy for Spring/Fall. I'm a pretty huge fan of dream in color yarns. Working with some now, in fact. That is all. :-D Whatever you pick will be wonderful.

    1. you're very right about Malabrigo worsted--a singles yarn--but this is Malabrigo Rios, a plied yarn, which I hear pills much less. Though I'm not 100% sure, of course...

  10. Thanks to seeing your pin on Pinterest, I'll be casting on the Miette this weekend. The Peggy Sue is also pretty awesome.

  11. I like Peggy sue - it's classic, and I think that fitted sweaters look best in lighter yarns. On that note, I've actually made the puff sleeved cardigan, and I wouldn't recommend it at all. The puff sleeves are oddly shaped, it's very heavy, and it's incredibly short waisted. I don't think I ever wore it out of the house!

    1. thanks for the warning! I do love the peplum but I'm glad you've confirmed my fears about the sleeves! I'm going to go with Georgina but reserve Peggy Sue for future possibilities!

  12. Love, love, love the puff-sleeved cardigan. And the Forestry yarn.

  13. I vote georgina! Love it! The cables, the shaping, the collar, everything! Pretty pretty!

    I recently ran across this lovely gem on pinterest and now I'm obsessed... She'll be my winter cardi (I can only have one a winter, since ours are so short, so I choose carefully!) in some kind of tweedy blue or purple silk-wool. Might lengthen it.

    1. you guessed correctly! DEFINITELY Georgina, though I'm still interested in making the others someday.

  14. My vote goes to the puff-sleeved cardigan in lettuce. I like the pairing of a relatively simple and flattering shape with the light/bold color. Good luck!

  15. I vote for the Peggy Sue cardigan with one of your lovely green yarns.

  16. I would also go for the Miette or the Peggy Sue. And wow they are free too. I vote for those two because I dont like puffy sleeves or shawl collars. And they look nice also. I will be giving one of these a go.

  17. I adore Miette and Peggy Sue! They are both so pretty and have been on my to knit list for a while. I would love to see you knit them in that lovely lime colour (Tickle! Hee hee!) or Periwinkle. So pretty!

    I'm in the process of knitting a cropped yellow feather & fan cardigan - my first lace pattern!

  18. Although option number 1 looks a bit baggy on the model, I'm betting you could do it a bit more "shrunken" and end up with something totally adorable and perfect. But then, I'm a lousy knitter - what do I know? All of them are adorable and I would wear them, but number 2 is my favorite. Love love love a shawl collar.


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