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ETA July 2014: CustomFit Recipe now available for sale hereAlso, learn more about the Recipe.

Sometime ago, I greatly admired a scarf. I wanted one exactly like it, except that I had no need for a scarf. No problem, couldn’t I convert it to a shawl collared cardigan instead? Yes!

I thought about this cardigan in odd moments, testing various components in my head. What about the edging – should I apply an i-cord at the end? No, too tedious, better to add a double knit tube as I knitted along. How about a little left-twist and right-twist along this tube, to better match the criss-cross of the main stitch pattern? Perfect. And of course, a purl stitch between each tube and the main pattern, just to make each distinct.

But what would the be the point of a long scarf, just stitched to the edges of a cardigan to make a continuous front-band and collar? How boring! But wait, couldn’t I split the main body of the scarf into a few sections separated by purled wedges that became gradually broader? That was better. And could these strips of criss-cross pattern each be bordered by its own little tube, to match the outer edges? Of course! And each little border tube would have its left-twists and right-twists, to match the outer double knit tubes.

By this time, I was already knitting the stockinette body of the cardigan. I made it quite fitted, and held the yarn double for speedy knitting. The collar/front-band, because it existed so clearly in my mind, was easy. I cast on  38 stitches:  6 (ie, 3+3 for the double knitted tubes at each edge) + 2 (for the single stitch purl column between each tube and the main body) + 30 (a multiple of 3 and 10) for the main section.

Grafted – see where the pattern mirrors at back of neck?

At the point where I wanted the collar to split, I inserted enough stitches at two points to split the main patterned section into three strips separated by a gently widening wedge of purl stitches. Each patterned strip was bordered with a purl column and a slipped stitch column of two knit stitches, with right-crosses and left-crosses to mirror the tubes at the outer edge.

At the back neck, I added 9 short rows to shape it round the neck, placing the turning points in the purl sections. The other side was a mirror of the first, and both were grafted together.

I have to say, this exactly matches what I had in my mind. The patterning is crisp, the purl wedges recede nicely to allow the pattern strips to lie in soft folds, and the whole is set off by the simple stockinette of the rest of the cardigan. And the colour! You could be forgiven anything in that colour.

Design: My own

Stitch Pattern: Shifting Sands Scarf from Grumperina.com

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in ‘Ochre’

Usage: 2 skeins used held doubled, for the body, 1 skein used held single for the collar/front-band and some of its remainders held doubled to make tiny sleeves.

Needles: 4mm for all stockinette sections, 2.75mm for all pattern sections

ETA: Thank you for the lovely comments! More information on how to make the cardigan in the following links (they will go live as I put up the posts)
The Base Cardigan
Some Techniques
Putting it All Together

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