I’ve recently finished the Vivienne Cardigan from Wool and the Gang. It was my first kit from them, and my first ever cardigan. I think it turned out really well!
The kit contains 9 balls of Shiny Happy Cotton, a pattern, a sewing needle and a crochet hook. You can get them to send you needles if you need them as well. At £85, this is proper luxury kit, but I’d still recommend it as decent value. The yarn is absolutely gorgeous – so so soft and lovely to work with, and I really enjoyed making it up. Also, my glamorous friend Bristi says that you should always spend as much as you can afford on nice wool, because you’re actually paying for materials for your hobby, and how much more would you spend if your hobby was sky diving or whatever? The fact you get a garment at the nod is just a brilliant bonus.
It took me about four months of not especially focussed knitting to finish it. The pattern is mainly garter stitch (aka the easy one!) with ribbing on the base and cuffs. Its a very simple shape – basically four scarves sewn together – and is absolutely perfect for mindless, watching-telly type knitting. It was a really relaxing and satisfying project.
Making up was a little bit more challenging – I’ve only ever knitted jumpers in the round before – but the kit comes with nicely illustrated instructions on all the stitches and skills, and there are online videos as well. I was particularly pleased with this cool crocheted back seam thingy.
I have only two issues with this kit. The first is that for a kit of this level, the instructions on seaming the arms aren’t clear enough. I had to attach the sleeves twice because “put them in the middle” is just too vague. This was a new skill for me so I didn’t twig that it really does have to be calculated, otherwise they’ll be a hole in the armpit. I still don’t know quit how I’d do this… Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas!
The second is that, as demonstrated below, this cardigan is quite a weird shape. Some would say the arms do not need to be this long. I’m all down for slouchy-oversize, but this really is more sleeve here than is sensible. If I knitted it again, I’d take at least 30 rows off these and put them on the body instead.
The stand-out best thing about this kit was the quality of the yarn. Shiny Happy Cotton is a really beautiful yarn – so so soft and knits to a beautiful drape. I’ve worked with two colours of it so far and both of them are so vivid and rich. I also love that, sleeve gripes aside, this is a lovely cardigan that I’ve enjoyed wearing and would have bought if I’d found it in a shop. My other knitting projects I’ve struggled to find occasions to wear when they were finished, but this cardigan is firmly in my everyday jeans-and-top-and-warm-thing rotation.
Overall this was a lovely, happy project. The actual knitting was very easy, so it’s not for you if you’re looking for a challenge, but for a relaxing, fun project to plough through House of Cards with, I can’t recommend it enough.