Seaside Cardigan

I’ve been wanting to knit myself a few cardigans for quite some time as I struggle to get nice clothing in my size. I found my Madeline shrug too complex for the moment (lifelines for 600 stitches are exhausting) so, when I was brainstorming ways to use all the pretty fancy hand-dyed yarn (opens in Airtable) I bought during the Virtual Wool Monty, I decided a simple striped cardigan would be the way to go.

Project Details



  • 3mm and 3.5mm DPNs
  • 3.5mm circulars (40cm)
  • 3mm and 3.5mm circulars (60cm)

GAUGE: 28×40 per 10cm
SIZE: 4XL (140cm chest/bust)


  • 95g (390m) Drops Fabel (107 Blue) [MC]
    • 40g (164m) for one sleeve
    • 20g (82m) for second sleeve
    • 35g (144m) for ribbed hem of body
  • 65g (424m) Resting Beach Face (Needle and Fred) [CC]
    • 5g (22m) for sleeve up to 4r RBF stripe

STARTED: 10th August, 2020


Sleeve (make two)

  1. With MC and 3mm DPNs,
    CO 70+1st and join in the round using ribbed cast-on (70st)
  2. 1×1 ribbing for 10r

So the idea here is to alternate navy (MC) and RBF (CC) stripes, decreasing the former while increasing the latter and similarly increasing every six rounds. This will take us about a quarter of the way up the sleeve before we switch to MC permanently.

  1. Still with MC, switch to 3.5mm DPNs and knit 1r
  2. Switch to CC and knit 5r
  3. K1, M1, knit to end (71st)
  4. Knit 2r (total 8r with CC)
  5. With MC, knit 3r (total 3r with MC)
  6. With CC, K1, M1, knit to end (72st)
  7. Knit 5r (total 6r with CC)
  8. With MC, K1, M1, knit to end] (73st)
  9. Knit 4r (total 5r with MC)
  10. With CC, knit 1r
  11. K1, M1, knit to end (74st)
  12. Knit 2r (total 4r with CC)
  13. With MC, knit 3r
  14. K1, M1, knit to end (75st)
  15. Knit 3r (total 7r with MC)
  16. With CC, knit 2r (last stripe, total 2r with CC)

This is where we switch to MC permanently and quickly increase.

  1. With MC, K1, M1, knit to end (76st)
  2. Knit 2r
  3. Repeat R19-20 ten times (100st, 49r)
  4. Switch to (3.5mm) 40cm circular needles and
    K1, M1, knit to end
  5. Knit 1r
  6. Repeat R22-23 sixteen times (32r)
  7. Knit around
  8. Repeat R25 indefinitely


  1. With MC and 3.5mm circular needles, CO 440st using 1×1 ribbed cast-on
  2. Switch to 3mm needles
  3. 1×1 ribbing for 10r (440st, 10r)
  4. Switch to 3.5mm needles and knit across
  5. Switch to CC
  6. Purl row
  7. Knit row
  8. Repeat R6-7

10th August, 2020:

Gauge swatch knitted. 3.5mm needles makes this a bit looser fabric than I’d want for a cold-weather cardigan, but I don’t have anything smaller for my circulars. Depending on how the body works up, I might go down to 3mm for the sleeves, but we’ll see.

11th August, 2020:

I was originally going to cast on 420st as calculated from my gauge but then I got to thinking about the button band and realised it would need to overlap a little bit. I decided to cast on an extra 20 (10st per band) for a total of 440st.

I’m a bit worried about my hip measurement and this cardigan not being wide enough there. It’s tricky measuring yourself when you’re bed-ridden (not that asking someone else to measure me would do much better for the same reasons). It doesn’t help that my tape measure ran out at 150cm and I (over)estimated the last little bit. I can only hope I got it right.

I’m not looking forward to all the purling. (I don’t especially mind it, but knitting is obviously easier.) But I struggle to get sweaters on so there’s not much point in knitting one of those just to avoid purls! XD

14th August, 2020:

One of my needles snapped at the joint yesterday and dropped a heap of stitches. I now need to buy a new set of 3.5mm interchangeables and figure out if I’ve rescued the dropped stitches sufficiently or if I need to start from scratch.

In the meantime, I started Sleeve #1 today and ordered Addi fixed circulars at 60cm in 3mm and 3.5mm because I didn’t have the former and this is the second KnitPro Symfonie in my collection that’s broken so I’m not giving them anymore of my money if I can help it.

15th August, 2020:

Resting Beach Face by Needle and Fred looks delicious knit up. Man, I hope I do this yarn justice.

I have discovered that my go-to yarn shop has no 103 Graublau in stock. This could be a problem because I expect to need more of the Drops Fabel for the body.

16th August, 2020:

I frogged back after changing my mind about the stripes. I had intended to use the other blues in my stash (108, 107 and 105) to make the navy last longer, but they’re all the wrong shades and don’t look great with the Resting Beach Face. (Actually, the 107 doesn’t even stand out against the navy, which I apparently learned and promptly forgot when I made Mowbray’s sweater, so that was out of the running already.)

Instead, I’ve rewritten my “pattern” to alternate the navy and RBF and gradually “shrink” the RBF stripes (to help maximise the yarn because I have no idea how much a cardigan this size will use up and I need enough for the second sleeve and the body).

Seaside Cardigan Sleeve 1
This looks so freaking good. 😍

17th August, 2020:

I had the idea last night (while trying to sleep, as you do) to get more of a seaside/ocean feel by adding purl rows to the sleeves every so often. (I’m also on the lookout for knit stitches that will create a seamless button band* with something more interesting/seasidey than garter stitch.)

*By which I mean, a button band I can knit as part of the cardigan body, without having to pick up stitches or knit it separately and then sew it on.

18th August, 2020:

I’ve decided not to bother with the purl “waves” and just gradually increase the stockinette to the armpit on the sleeves. I might do the purls on the body if I get bored, but they’re not really adding anything to the design and just confusing me because I’m having to keep two counts (purl “stripes” and increase rounds).

19th August, 2020:

So after frogging back to the last stripe a few times, I think I’ve finally got an increase pattern that works: every three rows. It’s now just a question of knitting to the armpit, testing periodically to make sure it fits.

Seaside cardigan sleeve

24th August, 2020:

I’m worried.

I thought this was going quite well. I’ve switched to my 40cm fixed circulars and I’m happily going around and around.

However, it seems like it might be too tight. It might be the stitches on the needles can’t stretch properly, but it was like that with the DPNs for the last few rounds, anyway. I might have to frog this back again and increase more often.

1st September, 2020:

I just finished knitting the second sleeve up to the last stripe of Resting Beach Face. I’m going to leave it there and work on the body for a bit. But first, I need to wind some more Fabel!

3rd September, 2020:

I cast on the body yesterday (then frogged because I didn’t leave enough of a tail, and re-cast with 3.5mm needles because the 3mms were too tight). I’ve so far worked one row of the ribbing today.

Note: I wound up casting on 10st more than intended (460st instead of 450st) because of the way I added markers (K10, pm, then place marker every 20st while ribbing, pm before last 10st, K10). It was just easier that way than trying to remember the last two markers had only 10st between them rather than 20.

4th September, 2020:

Buttonholes traditionally go on the wearer’s right for girls.

7th September, 2020:

I’ve got the ribbed hem done and started on the first stripe. I’m thinking of doing the RBF as a big colour block, though, instead of as stripes.

I’m struggling a bit with the button band. I didn’t think about how switching back to the main colour for just those 10 stitches either side would effectively be intarsia, which I’ve tried and failed at before. I already have a hole on one side where I joined the RBF, and I’m wary of more holes as I swap colours. (I’m at least remembering to twist one around the other to help with this issue.)

I did think I’d have to frog the whole lot and start the body from scratch again, this time minus the button bands (to be picked up later). But I’m going to continue and see if twisting the yarns helps.

8th September, 2020:

I decided to frog the body and start again without the button band: the holes at the sides were terrible.

I also messed up somewhere along the middle so a column of ribbing had to be fixed with a crochet hook but just looked like a bunch of holes there, too. (I was hoping the ladder would ease out in the wash, but if I already have one problem, adding another reason to frog is no big deal.)

More than either of these, or combined with them, I think it will just be easier to pick up stitches for the button band after the body is knitted. It will also make placement of the button holes easier, as I won’t have to guess how many rows to knit between them.

I’m chalking this up to a learning experience and practice, but it’s still a bummer. I’m excited to see how it looks when it’s finished, though, after this sneak preview. I’m still in love with the RBF so it will be nice to see it worked up and worn.

11th September, 2020:

The body seems to be taking forever this time around. I’ve barely put a dent in the ribbed hem! (Row 6 and counting.)

12th September, 2020:

I’ve finished the ribbed hem and cut the yarn. Next up: a block of RBF. I had to wind the hank into three separate cakes, though, so I think I’ll use up the largest in one block, then switch back to MC for a few rows, then use the medium cake of RBF, and so on.

23rd September, 2020:

I just finished Row 16 of the RBF block on the body (I took a break to crochet hanging storage for a new gadget) and it’s looking good.

It does seem to be taking forever to knit/purl a single row, though, so for future projects I need to figure out how to combine my fancy yarns with something thicker. I don’t want to be taking ten years to finish a single project!

14th October, 2020:

I’m steadily knitting on the body. I screwed up a bit somewhere, somehow: I’ve gained 4 extra stitches. And when I tried to drop back to correct the mistake, I messed up the edge so picking up stitches for the button band will be… interesting.

Seaside Cardigan

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