theraineysisters knitting and so much more

April 29, 2010

From Sally — It’s a Bolero, It’s a Shrug, It’s (not) a Cardigan?

Filed under: Oak Leaf Cardigan — surly @ 1:52 pm

I know I promised to show off the yarn I bought in Minnesota last week, but instead I’m going to show you my finished Creature Comforts Cardigan. Pictures first, and then I’ll share a few thoughts on this pattern. (Warning: It’s not Lucy’s best style — it does need a model with arms but I didn’t have one.)

This project is the Creature Comforts Cardigan from Madelinetosh. I knit it out of Madelinetosh Worsted (now renamed Madelinetosh DK) in the color Toast. That is slightly lighter gauge than the yarn called for, but I compensated by knitting a larger size.

I have mixed feelings about this project. I love the large leaf pattern that goes up the back, and I love the yarn. But it’s described as an oversized cardigan, and mine is definitely not. It’s difficult, when you’re knitting this, to figure out exactly how large it’s going to be due to the way it’s constructed. So although it was thirty or so inches long and forty plus inches wide without the ribbing (which I added at the end), it’s definitely not oversized or long on me. Based on gauge, the size I ended up with was supposed to be a generous fit on someone with a 38-42 inch chest, and I am a mere 34.

So I am disappointed in the fit because it’s not what I was expecting or what I wanted. It’s still wearable; it looks nice. But it’s more like a long shrug than a cardigan and I wanted a cardigan.

I initially made the built in pockets, but because of the way the sweater fit, the pockets seemed ridiculous and unusable. With the help of my sister the grafting queen, I excised them. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend doing the pockets if you make this. You might be better off adding one at the end (and the pattern provides directions on how to do that).

Bottom line: If you love the leaf pattern and want an oversized cardigan, knit a traditional cardigan with this motif running up the back. If you want something a bit more unusual, then you’ll probably be happy with this. But you might want to knit a size larger than you normally would.

ETA: A quick reminder for those of you in the mid-Atlantic region — this weekend is the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival at the Howard County fairgrounds.

It’s a wonderful event with lots and lots of luscious yarn to look at (and buy). And the weather should be lovely.


  1. From Susan — I am sorry it is a disappointment. Your knitting and the yarn are beautiful, so I can only fault the nature of the design and perhaps its misrepresentation. Not every FO can be our favorite!!

    Comment by lv2knit — April 29, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  2. I’m sorry it didn’t work out. It made me think of the following:

    The oakleaf section of this pattern was taken directly from the Oakleaf Family Tree pattern by Julie Hoff-Weisenberger. See it at:

    It’s also used on this sweater:

    Comment by Katie K — April 29, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

  3. It’s so lovely, Sally. I undertand your disappointment though. Maybe you’ll love it in a month or two, after you knit yourself that cardigan.

    Comment by 2muchfun — April 29, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

  4. I am truly surprised that this is not long enough on you, Sally, judging by how long it is on Lucy. (I saw you at a Harlot reading at Bailey’s Crossroads once, not knowing you were a ‘celebrity’, just impressed by the beautiful deep pink lace shawl you were wearing.) I can see how you would have been convinced by a photo that it was what you wanted. Nevertheless, your knitting skills are certainly showcased beautifully.

    Comment by Chloe — April 29, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

  5. I live about an hour away from the Maryland festival so I’ll be going too!!!!! Beautiful sweater btw…LOVE it!!

    Comment by Kimberly — April 29, 2010 @ 5:24 pm

  6. Watch for Jan at the festival. I will be here in Minnesota, envious of you both.

    The oak leaves are fabulous, but I can see how it just isn’t a cardigan. It’s almost like a sleeved wrap, really. Lovely, but if that isn’t what you wanted, I can understand why you don’t love it.

    Comment by twinsetellen — April 29, 2010 @ 11:10 pm

  7. Sorry the sweater did not turn out as you had hoped… but it’s lovely!

    Comment by Kim Fluck — April 30, 2010 @ 1:10 am

  8. I shall wait in the future until you finish a project and read your comments. Thought this was so pretty, started on it as soon as I saw the picture. Two-thirds finished, threw it over my shoulders at my LYS yesterday and we all thought it was smallish. Wondering if I should frog it and put yarn to better use.

    Comment by Nell — April 30, 2010 @ 10:43 am

  9. I have to ask if you tried wet blocking it? It might give you a few more inches and could be done intact. Just a thought.

    In any event the knitting is gorgeous and you can be proud to wear it (after your disappointment wears off!)

    Comment by twinsetjan — April 30, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

  10. Love this sweater. Sorry it didn’t work out. From your picture, I would have thought it was long and “drapey” – Wonder if it would work with a silkier type yarn. Did MDSW – OMG – the heat – the crowds……

    Comment by Cathy — May 1, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

  11. I just finished one of these, and I was a little disappointed too in the fit–until I re-blocked the bottom (between where the pockets would have been) to gain about 4 more inches there. It really improved the fit and made it hang better and be more of that “oversized” look I was hoping for. Maybe try that before you give up on it. It’s truly a beautiful color that you chose.

    Comment by Amy — May 3, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

  12. On the other hand, as a cardigan length, shrugs tend to cup the derriere unattratively, so you may have a blessing in disguise.

    Comment by Betty Francis — May 4, 2010 @ 9:39 am

  13. Great review and thank you for your honest!! I still love the color you picked out for this cardi/shrug!

    Comment by CrimsonPurl_Stacey — May 5, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

  14. THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your experience with this pattern. I, too, LOVE the leaf design, however, I tried one on today and it simply wouldn’t go around me. I’m not that big, but it simply seem too small, and no one could tell me what size this was knitted. So, I’ve been back and forth trying to decide whether to knit the 38-42 size, or the larger one, and now with your help, I have decided to knit the larger one. I just wish I knew how to increase the pattern in the front. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Comment by Lori — September 19, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

  15. i love the panel. can i get a copy of the instructions?

    Comment by ellen — September 15, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

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