Channel Cardigan Pattern Review
Updated: Apr 18
Look Ma, I made it!
Sweaters = Intimidating?
It took me a long time to get into knitting sweaters. They're so darn intimidating... The first one I made maybe didn't turn out so well, (I’m recalling a lumpy vest) but I recently finished the cardigan of my dreams, and I'm sharing with you how I feel about the pattern, what I liked and didn't like, changes that I made, and changes that I wish I had made.
I used the Channel Cardigan pattern by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. This is actually my third cardigan pattern of his that I've knitted, and I didn't even necessarily do that on purpose; whenever I was picking patterns, the ones I gravitated toward turned out to be his. I mean, the man the man knows what he's doing.
The yarn is KnitPicks Swish Worsted in Rainforest Heather, and I really really love the color. Depending on the light, you catch different little flecks of scarlet or purple, and it's just really cool.
The techniques I used for this sweater are:
tubular cast on
reading a chart
The stitch pattern itself and the texture that it creates is so beautiful. The chevron, the moss stitch (you know I'm rather partial to the moss stitch) and the way that it creates vertical stripes... I mean it's gorgeous right?
Not only are they beautiful and do they have such a luxurious texture, but they're actually pretty easy to remember, so you don't have to be totally glued to the pattern the whole time you're knitting. Moss stitch is super simple; the English Rib only has a two row repeat. The chevron, even though it is a chart and you have to really look at it, once you get going, it's not hard to remember what you're supposed to be doing.
The schematics in the pattern are laid out really well, which helped me to visualize how everything was laid out even though it was all in different pieces. I always appreciate when designers add a detailed schematic of the measurements of different parts of the garment, and he even has one for where all of the stitch markers are in relation to side seams, and the center, and all of the decreasing and increasing for the shaping, and that that helped me a lot.
There are plenty of opportunities built in to increase and decrease to shape it to your body without messing up the stitch pattern; you just do it in the seed stitch panels and I thought that was genius as far as making it more easily customizable.
Since it's worsted weight, it's warm but it's not too bulky to just wear around all the time in the house, which I 100% have been doing since I finished it. I wear it every day.
They’re minimal but there are a few. As beautiful and amazing as the chevron pattern is, since I was working with a darker-colored yarn, I realized pretty quickly that I could not work on it in dim lighting because I couldn't see what I was doing and I made a lot of mistakes that I had to frog back.
I know I said the chevron pattern was easy to memorize, but it did require a lot of concentration because every row is different. Watching a movie while knitting = lots of mistakes. It was totally worth it, but if you don't have a lot of spare mental energy, that might present a challenge.
As for the modifications I made, I used a special ribbing technique for my 2x2 ribbing so that it doesn't look all splitty when it stretches. It's a really nice and neat ribbing. Comment below or send me a DM if you would like a tutorial for that. I could totally make one.
I did Jenny's super stretchy bind off along the back of the collar, which, I don't know if you would really count that as a modification, but the pattern didn't specify it.
I added a little length to the bottom, because I noticed in a lot of the pictures that it looked like the belt was kind of low, and I naturally have a higher waist and I knew that would bother me, so I thought that I would just add some length below, but then I forgot to subtract length above, so it ended up completely defeating the purpose.
I really thought about not putting in the eyelets for the belt loop holes, but I did it anyway, and I ended up sewing the belt loops into the top eyelet but not the bottom, and I just flipped it up and pushed it through the fabric because the belt was going to be awfully low for my body. I was worried about it looking weird because of the empty eyelet below, but you can hardly tell.
I couldn't quite get the exact gauge that the pattern called for. My first swatch was too tight and when I made another with one needle size up, it was too loose. I think the yarn is maybe just a teensy bit lighter than a standard worsted. Maybe it's just me. I decided to go with the tighter gauge rather than looser because sweaters tend to stretch out from their own weight, and I'm happy with that decision except that I forgot to take that into consideration in the size that I made, and I probably should have made one size bigger. (More on that later)
Things I would change next time: I would definitely grade up a size below the waist. This is specific to my body, but if you also are curvy through the butt/hips you might decide to do the same.
I think part of the reason the bottom hem is so tight is because of the special ribbing technique I mentioned. As great as it is, it has wonderful stretch recovery and elasticity which makes it cinch up a little bit tighter than a traditional ribbing, and so I maybe should also have used the same size needles for the ribbing as I did for the body, instead of sizing down as the pattern suggested.
I would definitely make the belt loop holes higher or remove them altogether. I ended up getting the belt loop inserted just fine in the spot where there wasn't a hole, so they're not 100% necessary. Their advantage is that they make it much easier to place the loops evenly, so if you choose not to do the eyelets, you probably want to place locking stitch markers where they eyelets are called for. Then if you decide to move them, you still can.
I would make one or two more buttonholes if I keep the length the same because it kind of bothers me that I can't button it very much above where the belt is.
Last but not least: I would start it in the Spring so that it would be ready for me to wear all Winter! I started this one in September and finished it near the end of January, so it was a little intense.
Overall, I love this sweater and I almost never knit the same pattern twice, but I kind of want to make another one of these. It's not a great stash busting project though, so not until I've reduced my stash a little more with some other projects. I'm gonna behave.
I would for sure use the same yarn again, of course in a different color, but it has great stitch definition and even though it's a 100% wool, it doesn't make me itchy. Which is saying a lot because I have a really hard time wearing wool sweaters. It does help that I wear t-shirts under it, so it doesn’t bare skin on my neck or chest where I’m most sensitive, but it's it's really soft and it's a super wash, which I know some people have opinions about, but I appreciate that it’s easier care and that also does make it a little bit less itchy.
The important links, again:
Yarn* (this is an afilliate link, which helps me to keep providing free content for you!)