What’s on my needles: My first (striped) cardigan


As you might know, I’ve been working on my first knitted cardigan the last few weeks since the beginning of the year. I was very good about documenting my weekly progress, well, until I wasn’t. Making any progress, that is. Knitting a cardigan has been exciting and frustrating at the same time.

First of all, there is the ‘gauge’. If you’ve never knit a piece of clothing, you probably didn’t concern yourself with the gauge, but when you knit something that is actually supposed to fit a person, it becomes very important all of a sudden.

In case you don’t know what a ‘gauge’ is, it basically means how many stitches are worked per inch. Here is a good link that explains it all in detail.


It’s really interesting that even when everyone knits with the same yarn and needle size, the gauge varies tremendously for every knitter. I am apparently a very tight knitter, which means that I usually have more stitches than I should have for a specific gauge and that I have to go up a couple of needle sizes to get the correct gauge. 

The rule of thumb is: If your number of stitches per inch is way off (MORE than 1 stitch per inch too big or small), the yarn is probably not a good fit for your pattern. You must agree, being two stitches off per inch doesn’t sound like much, but apparently it does make a big difference over the entire width/length of your knitting piece. I am sure one gets better in measuring the gauge over time (and with experience), but in the beginning in can be a daunting task.

I always, always try to pick the pattern and then find the perfect yarn than the other way around, although I have on occasion *cough, cough* bought yarn without a specific pattern in mind and well, it’s part of my “stash” now that I have to find projects for. In general, it works out better for me when I pick the pattern first, but every knitter/crocheter will probably agree that this does not always happen because OMG, all the pretty yarn out there!


I am done with the main body of my cardigan (and not 100% sure about the gauge that I initially measured) and I am now working on the sleeves (which slowed down my progress quite a bit, because they’re knit in the round and I kind of despise knitting a small circumference on five needles in the round. Thanks to my friend Mary Beth, I think I’ll be able to finish though, because she introduced me to “knitting in the round with a magic loop” which I have tried this weekend and I think I can definitely handle that much better.

So let’s just hope that I’ll be finishing this piece soon and that the cardigan will fit me in the end. Stay tuned!

  1. Wow, that’s really pretty! My sister bought me a knitting loom and I’m learning to make hats – I can’t imagine the work that goes into making a sweater :)

  2. 1. That looks absolutely fantastic. LOVE IT.
    2. Sounds like a lot of math and measurement which my brain has a hard time comprehending.
    3. I would never be able to do any of that.

  3. San, it looks so pretty!!!!

  4. It looks great San.
    I always wanted to knit a sweater. My mom told me to do a square first to see how my knitting was and it was a mess. Tight, loose and in between. So I gave it up. Then I wanted to try again and started a scarf. Took me only two yesrs to finish and now it’s to short. Not very motivating. But seeing this – I might give It another try. Excited to see the finished cardigan.
    Happy knitting Tobia

  5. looks great!! I’m so glad the magic loop method is helping!

  6. WOW!!! I am super impressed!

    My girlfriend getaway friend crochet’s and also lives in the Sacramento area. I see a meetup between the three of us happening and we can call it A Night in your 90’s. Biddy yarn workers unite!

  7. San, that looks fantastic! I must admit, my first (and so far, only) adult sized cardigan was a huge fail. Gauge issues (you guessed it!), and it just would not drape the way it did in the pattern pictures. I found that especially frustrating if you consider how much time and energy and yarn goes into such a sweater, but oh well, time to move on. That cardigan is still sitting in my knitting basked, though, waiting to be unraveled at some point. For the time being, I’ve gone back to smaller objects, shawls, cowls, kid sized garments. Good luck with the cardigan, can’t wait to see the finished result!

  8. I have never knit anything that required me to measure my gauge but I can see why it’s important to do that when you are working on a project like this! I think that the cardigan looks beautiful – I can’t wait to see the finished product! I did not do much knitting this winter… I usually knit more but I just didn’t think to pull it out very often. I should bring it to Phil’s when we watch movie as maybe I will be more likely to stay awake when we watch movies if I am knitting. ;)

  9. First of all, it Looks absolutely gorgeous! Love, love the colors you chose! I am sure you will have it finished in no time! As for the gauge, I needed some time to get it right when i started knitting clothing pieces as well, I know the frustration all too well! But, eventually one will get there…learning by doing, right? You are doing great and I cannot wait to see you wear it! xxx

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