I have a new favourite cardigan.
This is my Tea Leaves Cardigan, knit in Madelinetosh DK. Oh my, what a lovely combination!
The Tea Leaves Cardigan is one of those patterns that I saw around on Ravelry and loved, intending to knit it at some stage. When I was making my big WEBS order, I decided to splash out on a garment lot of Madelinetosh yarn, figuring that a good pattern deserves a good yarn. Initially I wasn’t sure if I loved the yarn when it arrived – all skeined up the colour looked quite flat, and I was really hoping for a semi solid effect. When I finally got around to winding the yarn it became clear that there was more variation in the tone on tone colour than I first thought. In fact I could see that in the six skeins I had two that were close to solid, two that were quite varied with light patches, and two that were a good combination. I decided that to avoid patchiness or variations in the finished garment I would use two balls at time and knit two rows from each and then switch over. I used the lightest and darkest balls alternately for the body of the cardigan and saved the two combination balls for the sleeves. The end result is a uniform distribution of the colours across the cardigan, just as I had hoped. The alternation of balls is much easier on the cardigan than a sweater knit in the round!
In terms of the fit, I had read about the experiences of others with this pattern, and was aware of issues with the neckline being too wide. To avoid this, I cast on for a size one less than I wanted to end up with. I knit this size right through all of the increases, and then when I slipped the stitches off for the sleeves, I cast on eight stitches under each of the arms. This accomplished two things – firstly it gave me a wider cardigan body around the bust, which is of course where I need the extra room, and secondly it gave me more sleeve stitches to pick up, and therefore a slightly more generous sleeve. I had also noted that people found the sleeves tight, and I wanted to wear this over long sleeved shirts so I wanted a little bit of positive ease in the sleeves.
Other than these changes I knit the pattern as written (oh, and added a third buttonhole). I trusted than the length of the body as written was correct even though it was short. I had, again, checked up on feedback of other knitters which showed that the yarn I was using tended to stretch lengthwise. And sure enough it grew several inches on blocking to a very reasonable length.
This cardigan is a simple knit. It features alternating garter stitch bands with stocking stitch bands which are ruched due to increases and using larger needles for the stocking stitch sections. The circular yoke is includes all of the increases in the main pattern without the use of short rows. There is very little counting of stitches, and the pattern is simply written but accurate. While I would recommend you are careful with the neckline and the fit at the top, I would definitely recommend this pattern.
The yarn is holding up well considering I have worn the cardigan practically every second day since I finished it. In this photo you can see a slight halo starting to fuzz up.
There is a small round of balling up too, but with an occasional shave I think that this will be a very well performing yarn. I would definitely recommend it thus far, it was a tad pricey but I am hoping that it will prove to be value for money over time.
Pattern: Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre
Yarn: Madelinetosh DK, I used just over 5 skeins, plenty left for a hat or cowl.
Needles: 4mm needles for garter stitch, 4.5mm needles for stocking stitch. I tried out my new 4.5mm Knitpro short tips on the sleeves and was very pleased with them.
Time to knit: The body was finished in a couple of weeks, sleeves took 2-3 days each, and the bands knit up very quickly in a few hours. Overall it took me over a month though, going away on holiday without the new tips meant I couldn’t knit up with sleeves when I wanted to.
Difficulty Level: Easy, you just need patience to knit miles of stocking stitch.