Updated: Jul 20, 2018
A slouchy open-gauge cardigan knit in Brooklyn Tweed's beautiful Quarry yarn.
This fun sweater is called the Riverbend Cardigan, and it was a joy to knit! It knit up very quickly, was a super fun construction, and I love the fit and design. I learned a lot through the process of knitting this cardigan, and I also found a new love for chunky yarn. Let's dive into the details...
The construction of this garment was a first for me. All of the pieces are knit flat, and then seamed together. First, you start with the body. The body is knit in one piece, starting from the bottom. After completing the ribbing, short rows are used to shape the hem. I love the hem! It is slightly longer in back than in the front. It is such a subtle, yet beautiful detail. Once the short row shaping is done, you shape the sides by doing simple decrease stitches. The side shaping is also very subtle, which I love. It gives the piece slight shaping, but you still get the boxy fit, which is something that first drew me to this design.
After the main part of the body is done, you divide the piece into the back and two fronts. More shaping is done to create the deep V neckline and armholes. Another first for me in this pattern is using a Sloped Bind Off for the neckline. I was really nervous for this part, but the pattern gives great instructions, and I also found several helpful videos on YouTube. I think this design was a great intro for me to use the sloped bind off because it wasn't a huge section, and the chunky yarn is always great, because you can really see the effect and how it's supposed to look compared to a smaller gauge yarn. I would definitely recommend this pattern to those who want to learn the Sloped Bind Off method. After the body is complete you knit both sleeves flat. Usually sleeves are the most boring part for me, but these were so much fun to knit!
Once all three pieces, (the body, and two sleeves), are complete, you block all of them. This is a very important step, so don't skip it. It makes seaming the pieces, and casting on for the front edging so much easier. I promise. Usually I'm too impatient to block a piece that isn't completely finished, but it is crucial for this garment. Once the pieces are done drying from blocking, you get to finish up by seaming the shoulders and sleeves, sewing the sleeves onto the body, and casting on for the front ribbed edging. The front edging was probably the trickiest part for me. Making sure to cast on enough stitches, and the same number of stitches for each front took me a few tries. But I love the end result! The button-hole row was also a bit tricky, but I always love learning something new, and now if another pattern calls to make a button-hole in the same fashion, I'll be much more confident! The very last step is sewing on the buttons. It took me a while to find the perfect button, but I love the ones I ended up with.
One other thing I want to mention about this pattern is that it has instructions for those who would like the stockinette side facing out instead of the reverse stockinette. I love that. I chose to go with what the pattern originally calls for and kept the reverse stockinette side facing out. I don't have another garment with a reverse stockinette pattern, so I wanted to see how I would like it. In the end, I love that I chose to stick with the original design. It gives it a rustic and unique look. If you're not a fan of reverse stockinette, but love the design of the sweater...the directions for leaving the stockinette side facing out are very clearly marked in the pattern. What a great extra! It's like having two patterns in one! Overall, this was a fantastic pattern! Very clear, and easy to follow instructions, great notes and clarifications in the Special Techniques section, and a great construction and fit. Love it! 5/5 stars!
Now onto the yarn! Another new favorite of mine. It's really not a surprise that I love the Quarry yarn from Brooklyn Tweed. With how much I loved their Loft yarn I used for my Reine cardigan, I was confident that this would quickly become another go-to for me. Quarry is a chunky weight, 100% Wyoming-grown Targhee-Columbia wool. It comes in 15 heathered colors. It was so hard to choose a color for this project...all of the colors are beautiful! I ended up choosing the color Moonstone. It is a beautiful light gray with tiny specks of bright blue throughout. Because Brooklyn Tweed doesn't subject their wool to harsh chemicals, there are also flecks of vegetable matter remaining in the yarn as evidence of the sheep's life on the Wyoming rangeland. I actually loved this. I found it a very charming detail. It gives the yarn a story and I loved imagining the sheep as they grazed the land. The only thing I was nervous about, was that I don't usually use bulky weight yarns. Thicker gauge yarns tend to be heavy, and are hard on my wrists to knit with. Quarry is like knitting with a cloud. For real. It didn't bother my wrists at all! It is a bulky weight, but with the way its spun, it is so airy and fluffy, and light! It is a dream!
Quarry has AMAZING stitch definition, and I love the way it knit up in this looser gauge that the pattern called for. I will be anxious to try a pattern that calls for a tighter gauge, and maybe even some cables. This yarn would be a dream to use for cables, or more textural stitch patterns. This yarn is also so warm, soft, and cozy! Feeling and squeezing the finished fabric is lovely. It's like a soft pillow. This is another sweater, that when I wear it, people probably think I'm crazy because I just rub my hands up and down my arms. It's irresistible! I'm crazy about this yarn! 5/5 stars!
I didn't modify the pattern at all, but I did end up casting on more stitches than called for along the front for the edging and button-hole portion. I didn't keep track of how many I cast on, but the pattern calls for 133 stitches total, and I did more than that. Just make sure to do the same amount of stitches on each front panel. Hope that little tip helps!
Yarn and pattern are amazing, and I can't recommend them enough! This will be a great layering piece, and the yarn knits up such a warm and cozy fabric. This combo makes for a great garment for Fall and Winter. Luckily, I was able to wear it once on a cold, rainy Spring day last week. It will for sure be a staple in my wardrobe after the summer months.
Pattern: Riverbend Cardigan by: Julie Hoover
Yarn: Quarry by: Brooklyn Tweed
Size made: 35
Skeins used: 4