This is an old photo of my much-loved Turin cardigan knit from a pattern by Martin Storey. If I am going for a King Arthur analogy with this post, then Martin Storey would be Merlin; quite fitting as I’ve always found his designs quite magical. I need to be wearing this cardigan as we head into spring. The only trouble is that it doesn’t fit me any more. It used to fit a treat, back when I was a slender slip of a 50-year-old, and before repeated washing gradually micro-shrunk it. I have a theory that every time you wash a good woollen garment it becomes just a miniscule amount smaller. After all, the shift in fit can’t purely be down to biscuits, now can it?

And so we come to Exhibit B – 600g of sportweight Shetland yarn, four skeins of which were purchased last autumn using a kindly birthday present gift voucher (yes, it took me forever to decide on exactly what I wanted to use the voucher for). They only had three skeins from the same dye lot and I was a little unsure about how much difference there would be between the colour from two different batches. Often this isn’t obvious when you look at the wool in a skein or a ball, but when you knit with it you see quite a marked line in your garment where you’ve changed from one to the other. You can get around this by using the odd skein for the ribbing, around the neck and button band, that kind of thing – the places which look different anyway and so will mask any slight variation in shade.

(Dye lots are an interesting phenomenon. Even in commercial yarn manufacture, you can’t guarantee you will get a 100% match in the colour you dye. You have your dye in a huge vat and you immerse a certain amount of wool, then you need to make up a new vat of dye which might vary to a smaller or larger extent. Also, the base wool you’re using may vary from batch to batch, and there are all sorts of other variables. So each batch of wool that is dyed gets a unique “dye lot” code to help ensure that there will be as little variation as possible in your finished knit.)

The intention was to knit some kind of sleeveless top with this wool, perhaps something roomy and quirky. It has been patiently awaiting the right project to leap into my mind, but every time I’ve looked at it I’ve wished I had enough to make a proper cardigan instead of a sleeveless top. And then I have thought wistfully of my lovely pale blue Turin cardigan because the colours are so similar.

Bit by bit I have come to acknowledge that my true desire is an exact copy of the Turin cardigan. To achieve this, additional yarn would be needed, so the first order of the day was a trip the local yarn shop. I went armed with the colour number of the shade I needed to match (some manufacturers give each different colour a name, others just use a number code), and returned home with two more skeins of the pale blue. As luck would have it, when I got out all the skeins I found I now have five (500g) from the same dye lot which is just perfect. Pausing only to wind the first skein into a ball, I cast on for a sleeve of the Turin cardi. This is going to be a close match to my original, much-loved garment.

The main difference is that this is a non-standard weight of yarn here in the UK. It sits between 4-ply/fingering weight, which the pattern calls for, and the thicker double-knitting weight such as I used for my lilac and bright pink cardigans. I’m just going to follow the 4-ply pattern instructions for one size smaller than I would choose if I was using 4-ply yarn. If it looks like it isn’t going to be the right size I’ll rip it out and think again. It should work, though. It’s one of the easier ways to adapt a pattern. I’m using 3.50mm needles for the main part of the cardigan. If I was using 4-ply wool I’d be using 3.25mm and for DK wool I’d go for 3.75mm or 4.00mm. So far, the wool is knitting up nicely on this size needle. I’m hoping for good progress, especially with the nice Easter weekend coming up – perfect knitting time.

Now, for a few more rows on that sleeve to round off a fine Sunday morning.

One thought on “The once and future cardi

  1. this will be a great versatile cardigan, when it is finished. the BC yarn looks lovely too. i made a hat from their tweed yarn, it was a joy to knit

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