Madeline Cardigan

I’ve been wanting to knit myself a cardigan or a sweater for a long time, now. Well, it’s more like I struggle to find clothing in my size, and knitting my own seemed like the next best option. (I tried to crochet a round cardigan a few years ago. I can’t remember why I abandoned it.)

I finally committed last Spring when I realised I could get enough acrylic yarn for less than £50. (It actually lost less than £20.) I regret the material now (I’m becoming more ecologically minded where I can) but we work with what we’ve got.

Project Details

PATTERN: Madeline – lace border shrug cardigan by Vicky Chan

NEEDLES: 4.5mm KnitPro Symfonies
GAUGE: 21×26 (10cm) in stockinette
SIZE: 4XL (55″ bust)


  • 5.5 balls (1155m) Cygnet Aran in 275 Blush

STARTED: 8th March, 2019

8th March, 2019:

Swatched and washed. My stitch gauge is 21st in 10cm/4in. (Not sure my row gauge yet.)

I’m a bit annoyed because I bought this yarn as machine washable but the actual label claims it needs to be cold rinsed and short spun (which my washing machine doesn’t have?) I decided to test the swatch on a normal cycle, though (no blocking), and it came out just fine. Not sure of long-term viability of the yarn, but 10 skeins cost less than £20 so it won’t be a terrible waste of money if it doesn’t stand up to much washing.

I need to check my size (turns out to be 4XL, or 55” bust) and then work out how many stitches to cast on, but I’m made up with cold so maybe I’ll start it tomorrow…

21st / 4" = 5.25st / 1" 

55” bust x 5.25st/" = 288.75st 

Rounded up to 290st to cast on.

9th March, 2019:

I cast on 300 stitches instead of 290. It seemed “right” somehow, and I do like my sweaters oversized so if I’ve done the maths correctly (hahahahahah), the extra 10 stitches shouldn’t be an issue.

Provisional cast on turned out to be really easy, actually. I was worried for nothing! If you already know how to crochet chains, adding a knitting needle into the equation is almost incidental.

22nd March, 2019:

I’ve been knitting steadily and reached 15.5cm (6″) on the first stage.

I’ve been trying to puzzle out how the pattern works but it’s been a real head scratcher. I think I finally understand what’s going on, though!

28th March, 2019:

Asked the designer for help because I misunderstood how the pattern forms into the cardigan (as in, I thought the armhole started at the shoulder and measured the circumference of my armpit/shoulder joint as 60cm, which is twice the amount of stockinette for phase one as I’d thought). 

She explained that the armholes actually start at just below the elbow (I measured at 36cm) and to allow 2.5cm+ for ease. I’m going to knit stockinette for 40cm, then.

She also mentioned something about 2x the center-back-neck-to-wrist line (I measured 74cm) being equal to the width of the body + (2x sleeve length). I don’t really understand what this means (possibly a bad brain day). However, she has confirmed that the number of stitches I cast on (300) should be enough for 2x the center-back-neck-to-wrist so it should fit.

29th March, 2019:

Just passed 23cm. I can’t wait for phase one to be over. 

Vicky said the width of the cast-on stitches (300) needs to be twice my center-back-neck-to-wrist measurement (74cm). I measured (badly) and I’m currently at 163cm, which is much larger than the 148cm it should be.

However, I’m not willing to unpick at this point, so I shall simply have a very very oversized cardigan to wrap around myself.

8th April, 2019:

I’ve almost finished phase one. It’s technically long enough now to fit my elbow, but I want a bit of ease so I’ll continue to 40cm.

This yarn splits pretty easily, but it knits up (stockinette) nicely.

12th April, 2019:

PHASE ONE COMPLETE. I just have to join in the round and then on to phase two. =D

20th April, 2019:

I’m at 10 inches from the fold line and just finished ball #4.

4th May 2019:


15th May, 2019:

I spent yesterday and the day before sewing in lifelines because I screwed up the lace WAHHHHHHH.

Like, I was on Row 9, that’s how far I’d come (this lace pattern is taking forever, guys. Or maybe I just get bored super quick? It’s only a 10-stitch repeat, but I’m having a hard time focusing. No wonder I screwed up *sigh*)

Anyway, I was kinda hoping I hadn’t screwed up too early in the pattern and that I could attach a second lifeline, like, on Row 8 or something (the first being right on the last row of knit stitches before the lace border starts). But nah. Of course not. I have to rip it out all the way back to Phase Two.

*repeatedly bashes head on nearest hard surface*

16th May 2019:

All stitches back on needles. Can I rip my eyes/hands out now? (And of course I’ve twisted them all because what is my life.)

21st May 2019:

I screwed up. Again. I’m not even sure how, but it was bad enough that I could only put a lifeline two rows below the lacework begins.

This is what 60 stitch markers look like when you mark every 10 stitches and then have to undo the entire lace section (9 rows T_T)


22nd May 2019:

All stitches back on needles. Again. First of two rows re-knitted.

I’m seriously thinking about just continuing the stockinette stitch all the way to the ribbed border and skipping the lace. I need this cardigan, like, yesterday. But I hate to be beaten by a freaking 10-stitch repeat.

I might give it one more go. (Must. Remember. Lifelines.) And then if I screw up again, I’m definitely skipping the lace.

29th May 2019:

So. Many. Lifelines. And somehow, despite using a proper darning/yarn needle for them this time, the last line went right through some of the stitches so I’m going to have to cut it out again. 

I just finished Row 5. I can’t really see the pattern of the lace coming through yet, but it was only on around Row 9 that I could the first time; I’m just getting impatient to see my progress. I’ll honestly be glad when this is over.

However, I am enjoying the knowledge that, at the end of this project, I will have something I can wear. Something I can wear. It’s for me. Yay.

June 2019:

Went into hibernation while I focused on stashbusting and Christmas presents. (I still haven’t taken it out of hibernation a year later, but I’m waiting for it to cool down a bit now in 2020.)


As ever, I wish I’d chosen a simpler pattern to start my cardigan adventures with, but I wanted something that would remain interesting and that lacked seaming.

I’ve put this into and out of hibernation quite a bit since I started it as I’d get frustrated with a section proving harder for my poor brain to wrap around or find something else to work on with more immediate satisfaction. (In the crochet world, we call it crochetisfaction. I’m not sure what knitters call it.)

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