Perth cardigan: First grown-up sweater for me

I took up knitting about 15 years ago when a co-worker (and now long-time friend) organized a Learn to Knit class in my office lunchroom. Her Swedish mother ran the class and skillfully taught everyone the basics of knitting. Since then, I’ve done some hats, scarves, a couple socks, baby sweaters, dog sweaters and now — finally — an adult sweater for me!

I purchased the Good Night Day eBook: Minimalist Knitting Patterns after reading about it in Heather Lou’s blog post on her chunky sweater project.  She looked insanely fab, as always!


Caption: Heather Lou in her Good Night Day sweater

I loved all the patterns in the book and had a difficult time choosing, but finally settled on the Perth cardigan.  I made the size Large.  It called for super bulky yarn, which was all very expensive online. I loved this Crazy, Sexy Wool yarn and also Cascade Magnum, but both of these would have added up to an $80 sweater. I’m not opposed to this per se, but this is money I could spend on sewing!  Joann happened to be having a 70% off sale on most yarns when I started this in January, so I scored four skeins of a 20% Alpaca, 80% acrylic yarn for around $4 each — making this a $12 sweater.


For needles, it called for a size 19, 15 and 13, all 24″ circular. I had the 15, and used two more Joann coupons for the 19 and 13.  Halfway through the project I splurged on some blue caps for the ends of my 19s because the yarn had a tendency to slip off.


I added quite a bit of length to the project — about 4 inches. I also doubled the amount of fringe in the front. It called for 20 pieces, but I had to have 40 pieces of fringe!

All the drama was in the sleeves for this make. I started on the right sleeve and must have gotten too involved in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel because the next thing I know the sleeve is down to my knuckle! I had to tear out about 20 rows and then get it back on the needles.


The sleeve was also super wide, even after ribbing. Probably because I picked up 8 stitches under the arm instead of the prescribed 4 (trying to fill holes).  I put the sleeve back on the size 15 needles to help taper it down (not in the instructions). After 4 rows at 15, I went down to the 13s for the ribbing.  This really tightened up the end of the sleeves and I was pleased.

I did the left sleeve just by comparing it to the right and they *look* pretty much the same.

Finally, I spray-blocked the sweater to help flatten out the lapels.


As soon as I finished the sweater — in early March — it started to hit 80 degrees here in Northern California. Oh well, I can still wear this on trips out-of-state.

The only issue I have with the sweater is: It sheds like crazy! Anything I even bump up against is covered with white alpaca. That’s probably what was sacrificied for hitting my $12 price-point.

If you haven’t ever knitted a sweater for yourself, I would highly recommend this project. It usually takes me about 18 months to knit a pair of socks, so to finish a whole adult sweater in two months is crrrazy.  Do try it!  -rp

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