DIY Chunky Knit Sweater - Review of the Nanaimo Cardigan

FinishedMake2021 Knitting

Hello friends! Today, I'm bringing you a knitting project! My knitting projects are usually very slow going, knit here and there over many, many months. But this cardigan was super quick! I started it in the middle of March and finished it last weekend. Knitting with bulky yarn really speeds up a project! I usually knit socks with a fine gauge yarn so it was fun to do something so quick and big.

The pattern for this sweater is the Nanaimo Cardigan by Good Night Day. They are a Canadian based knitwear designer and even sell hand knit garments if you don't knit yourself. The sweater is knit from the top down, starting with the large rib knit collar. The shoulders are a raglan style and the body is cropped. My favorite feature are the balloon shaped sleeves. The sleeves are knit straight down from the shoulder and then just before the rib knit cuff, you do a row of decreases to create the puffy look at the wrist.

Overall, I thought it was a really easy pattern to knit. I didn't have any issues with the instructions. That said, I'm a pretty confident knitter and I've been knitting since I was a child. I think if you've knit a few scarves and hats though that this would be a good first sweater. You need to know knit, purl and how to knit increases and decreases. All pretty common stitches.

I made a few adjustments to the pattern. I made a size M/L and added length to the body and to the sleeves. I just tried on the sweater as I was knitting to decide how long I wanted it. I am 5'11" so adding length is normal for me. My bust is 38.5" and I feel like this size works for me. The cardigan doesn't have closures at the front so it is forgiving.  The largest finished size is 27" across the chest (so total around would be 54")

To get the correct  gauge, I went down one size in the needles, which worked out because I don't have a size 19 needle anyway. The pattern calls for needle sizes 19, 15 and 13. I used 17, 13 and 11. I have a set of interchangeable circular needles which comes in very handy (on amazon here). The set only goes up to a size 15, but I had a size 17 circular so everything worked out. For the sleeves, I used the magic loop method of circulars. It was especially tricky to finish the cuffs and I found that using a longer needle and making two loops worked the best.  I've always been more comfortable with double pointed needles than circular but I think I'm finally getting the hang of the magic loop.

I used a few methods when starting a new ball of yarn. The one I like the best is a Russian join. I used this tutorial from KnitPicks. It is a little more bulky, but the ends of the yarn disappear better. It's a really cool technique that I'll definitely be using in the future.

The yarn I used is the affordable and dare I say ubiquitous Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick. I chose the colorway Deep Lagoon (on amazon here). It's a lovely dark teal with spots of maroon and pink. I used six skeins with just a little bit left over. The pattern estimated 405 yards for my size but I think due to my needle size and extra length, I needed a lot more. Wool-Ease is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. I'm allergic to wool but have found that this combo is just right for me and does not induce any itching while knitting or wearing. Being sensitive to wool really makes yarn shopping more challenging! My one concern with this yarn is that in my experience it has a tend to pill. So, it may need a bit of care to remove those.

I've really loved wearing my sweater and have worn it almost daily since finishing it. It's a great layer to keep me warm and cozy. I think it would be a good pattern if you have some experience knitting and want to try a sweater. It's pretty quick so it will give you confidence and satisfaction.

And don't worry! I've not abandoned sewing! To go with my new sweater, I sewed up a quick turtleneck. This is the Lenny dress cropped into a shirt length (pattern by Seamwork). For this version, I wanted it very fitted and made an XS. I'm also wearing my beloved Dawn jeans (blogged here). To be honest, when I'm just inside the house, I'm wearing sweat pants but I thought I'd dress it up a bit for you. Alright, that's enough for today. Best wishes to all you lovely makers!

#FinishedMake2021 #Knitting
FinishedMake2021 Knitting

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