A beautifully designed, dolman shaped, over-sized cardigan you can layer over anything!
When I came across this pattern, it was love at first sight! It is the Olson Cardigan designed by Julie Hoover for Purl Soho. I love everything Julie Hoover designs, (can I be her when I grow up?). Her designs are timeless, ageless, and so beautiful! This particular design features deep dolman sleeves, steep shoulder slopes, deep ribbed shawl collar, and exposed seams. This design is very simple, but is so eye-catching and elegant.
The pattern is worked in pieces starting with the back. It is worked from the bottom up and has short row shaping after working the ribbed hem. I love the subtle sweep the short rows make in the back, making it slightly longer than the front. It's the soft details like these that make this design so special. After working the main fabric, simple increase stitches are worked on each side to create the dolman shape of the sleeves, followed by the casting on of extra stitches to create the length of the sleeves. Afterwards, the shoulders are shaped, again using short rows, and the neckline is also shaped. The shoulder stitches are put on hold to be seamed with the front pieces after blocking. After the back piece is done, the front right and left pieces are worked separately in almost the same manner, but only working the one sleeve, and gradually decreasing the stitches along the front edges to create the neckline shaping. After blocking all of the pieces, you seam them together. A modified three-needle bind off is used at the shoulders, creating the exposed seam. I'm in love with this detail! It is so pretty, and creates lots of visual interest. The mattress stitch is used to seam the sides. To create the shawl collar, stitches are picked up around the fronts and neckline. Short row shaping is used to create the shawl around the neck. This was my first time creating a shawl neckline, and it was so much fun! It turned out beautifully! I then blocked the whole garment again, and now I have a gorgeous cardigan that has quickly become a staple in my wardrobe!
The pattern for this cardigan was very well written. The notes on the increase stitches were very helpful, and there are links throughout the pattern to different techniques if you need visual reference. Those also came in very handy! The pattern was also very well organized, detailed, and thorough. I couldn't have asked for anything better! This pattern gets 5/5 stars!
I didn't change or alter anything in the pattern, although I wish I had made the smallest size. The steep shoulder slopes don't like to stay on my narrow shoulders, and I think going down a size would have helped this a bit. But, this really hasn't bothered me too much at all. In my opinion, you can never have too many oversized cardigans, and I knew I wanted mine to be a cozy fit. It definitely has exceeded my expectations...this is the coziest cardigan! I definitely recommend this pattern to anyone wanting a great layering, oversized cardigan...but I also highly recommend using the yarn that is suggested for this pattern. I'm so unbelievably happy I splurged on this yarn. Let's talk more about it...
The yarn this pattern was designed for is Purl Soho's Understory. Understory is a blend of Baby Alpaca, Baby Yak, and Silk. This is a magical, beautiful blend! It is soft, velvety, luxurious, squishy, and light. The finished fabric is so incredibly warm, and velvety soft. I could cuddle up with it every minute of the day! It is so divine! Did I mention yet that it's like velvet? I wish everyone could touch the yarn through the screen...I can't stress enough how much I'm in love with the feel of this yarn. It is worth every penny! Understory comes in six beautiful colors. Five of the six colors start with a naturally yak-colored yak. This creates a nut-brown undertone to the colors, and results in a very pretty glow. I chose the color Willow Bark. Every color this yarn comes in is beautiful, but I went with Willow Bark because I felt like it would be a beautiful neutral that would look good with anything. I'm so happy I chose it! It is a beautiful brown-gray, and it really does look good with every other color I've paired it with so far! Not only is the feel and look of this yarn unremarkably gorgeous, it also knits up like a dream. Every stitch made is smooth and effortless as it glides on the needles. It is now in my top favorite yarns of all time! I will definitely be using it again, and again. Understory gets BIG 5/5 stars!
I really could go on and on about this cardigan and the yarn, pattern, process, and how much joy this project in general has brought me...but you really just need to put this at the top of your "To-Knit" list and see for yourself. You won't regret it! I've loved everything about this project. And I LOVE the finished result. I may need to make another, or two, or three...or maybe in the all of the other five colors of Understory ;). I hope you take the time to make one for yourself! I will be enjoying this for lots of years to come...
Pattern: Olson by: Julie Hoover for Purl Soho
Yarn: Understory by: Purl Soho in color Willow Bark
Skeins used: 6
Size made: 44 1/2