First time knitting a Contiguous cardigan

After finishing Deco Cardi the left over yarn was laying about the house.
The cat showed her appreciation and head butted the cake a couple of times. I petted it whenever I walked by. I may have bounced it of someones head once in a playful show of spousal love.

Anyway. Short story short:

That’s a fresh cast on for a second Donegal cardigan. This time with round accents such as leafs or flowers. And round cables at the edges.

I’m trying out the contiguous technique. Contiguous is a way of increasing stitches while you knit top down and everything happens at the same time but in a logical, easy to comprehend way. Shoulders, back and front panels and sleeves come into existence all at the same time. It’s a flattering fit for people who have squarish shoulders or broad upper torso, just as set in sleeves are (and raglan sleeves are not).

Contiguous as a principle was developed by Susie Meyers. She explains the “recipe” for free.

I found a pattern that uses the same gauge that I get with this Donegal Irish Heather yarn: 14 stitches per 10 cm on needles 4,5 mm. The pattern is Ecological Wool® Manly Henley C243 by Vera Sanon:

pic by cascade yarns

It’s a men’s sweater and it’s free.
I made some modifications to the pattern since I want it to be a cardigan and I want a V-neck. I also want a cable on the shoulder, continuing onto the sleeve and opening up there in some sort of flower.

After only a few rows the shaping is already visible:

That’s the top of a cardigan all right. Back panel is at the top, left and right are the shoulder pads with their cable and at the front two front panels are growing.

But this is as far as this one grows. I’m going to frog it and I’m going to start over.
There are two things I want changed. One is that I want to attach the button band or neck band right from the start. As is I would have to pick up stitches after finishing the body and then knit a band sideways. Pretty much like you do with a standard cardigan pattern.

I like a cabled edging for this cardi, to match the cable on the shoulder. It would be a nuisance to knit that as an afterthought. And I’m not sure if I’m going to make it with the yarn I’ve got left. I used exactly half a kilo for Deco Cardi which means I should have 500 grams left, enough for just one more cardigan.
But cables eat yarn…

Knitting top down and everything at once I can just knit on until I run out of yarn. No worries that a button band is missing.

To learn how to incorporate a neck band from the get go I’ve looked at another contiguous pattern. It’s the wonderful cardigan Danshui by yellowcosmo:

Such a friendly lace pattern! And Oh! What great colours! With that necklace and lipstick and wonderfully careless hair!
One day I hope to knit a Danshui for myself, in a thin yarn. In a great colour and a worsted spun yarn (Wollmeise, Malabrigo, Hedgehog) and be careless and sun kissed like this knitter is.

Danshui has a gauge of 22 st per 10 cm so it’s perfect for another fingering weight. But not now, I’ve got many fingering weight projects going on at the moment. I want quick result aran weight.

The other thing I want to change in my blue cardi is the increases. Increases occur in every row, both Right Side and Wrong Side. I chose to increase with Left Leaning Increases (LLincr) where you knit the stitch and then add a stitch using the stitch under the just knitted stitch.
But it’s leaving holes (they are horizontal in this picture):

Here’s the same piece held up against the light, at the bottom are the stitches from the previous photo. At the top I’m trying out different ways of increasing:

One way to increase is knitting through the front and the back loop of a stitch (Kfb), which is the way the pattern asked me to do right from the start…
Only I do not like Kfb particular because it leaves little bumps. And it does nothing for my holes, I’m such a lose knitter!

There’s a Raveler named Mwaa who has studied various ways of increasing in this method and how they turn out visually. Wonderful study!

Her best sample uses LLincr twice on any Right Side. No increases on a Wrong Side at all. Just place two increases next to each other on a Right Side Row. Looks good.

On Ravelry there’s the Contiguous Group. A whole group dedicated to this way of knitting sweaters, pullovers and cardigans. They have given some serious thought to this whole increase thing.

There’s a wonderful instruction video from who thought of an ingenious way of increasing without holes. You use the stitch one stitch away for making a new stitch from.
It’s a bit confusing that at one place you use the stitch TWO stitches below but at the other side you work in the stitch ONE stitch below. Until I realized in the first instance you had already worked that stitch and in the second not, they are stitches in the same row.

Anyway, I studied some ways of increasing, including the one from the video. Still a bit “holey” but less then the others. I’ll study some more with eliminating the p-stitches around the cable and work from k-stitches only.

ohooo, ElfN likes to study increasings too! I love how technical this craft can get.
ElfN uses the same cleverness as the video: work in a stitch one stitch removed from where you are. But she uses the stitch in the other direction. I like it!
She has an example with a cable too. Then the p-stitches could return. Making the cable more pronounced and even making it possible to work the whole sleeve in reversed stockinette stitch.

I tried out the various variations:

same piece held up against the light:

No, most of this doesn’t work for me. Either too much holes or too tight to work comfortably. It’s like I’m a knitting Goldilocks!

But I can help myself. I like the video-increases-two-stitches-over best and they’ll probably look good if I tension up the p-stitches up a bit.
So that’s what I’m going to do. Just remember to “pull the purls”.


I did it! A top down beginning with neck band simultaneously knitted!

I’m slowly remembering to pull the purls, the p stitches on the shoulders are still a bit holey and loose but I’m getting there. Overall I’m knitting fairly tight, I guess I’m a bit nervous to see this developing under my hands. Will drape it around my neck now, to make sure I’m not knitting too small a size.

And I’m so pleased with how the collar turns out!

It’s a simple 2 x 2 cable with 2 edge stitches. But I made it turn in different directions at the Center Back.
And I made sure it attaches beautifully to the back panel. And I just reworked some stitches at the front panels so it has a p-stitch ridge between the cabled edge and the front panel. Look so good! Really pleased!

PS I just put it on my shoulders and O BOY! The shoulder pads sit smack in the middle of my shoulder (seam). The neck band doesn’t rise so high up my neck that it might itch. The neck lies beautifully flat. It flows to the front naturally.

O boy, o boy, if I can keep it up and do everything right this too will be a fine cardigan!


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