Ginny’s Cardigan KAL: Customize It! Part 2

Other Considerations
Here are some more thoughts on customizing different parts of the sweater. If you’d like to shorten the sleeves on your sweater to make them 3/4 length, figure out how long you’d like your sleeve to be, and start your sweater at that point in the directions. For example, if you’re supposed to cast on 46 stitches, and you work ribbing for 2″, and then increase 2 stitches every inch, and you’d like to shorten your sleeves by 6″, then you could cast on the original number of stitches – 46  + (2 sts per inch x 4″) = 54 sts. Cast on 54, and then work the increases every inch as it’s written in the pattern.

P.S. This only applies to sleeves that are knit from the cuff, for top down just knit until the sleeve is long enough.

Adding stitches to the bust
If you are busty than you might be concerned that the short row bust darts in the pattern won’t be enough to make sure that your sweater doesn’t gape. In this case just increase one stitch on either side of the front at the bust. With a gauge of 5 sts per inch if you increase a total of 6 sts (3 on either side) you’ll be adding just over an extra inch of fabric to your bust area.

Adding Length
It doesn’t really matter where you are adding length the process is the same. Whether you’re increasing the length of the torso, armhole, or sleeve it’s all very easy with this pattern! Look for a portion of the pattern that says work to X”, this is where you can easily add length. If you did your homework you already know where you need to add length to YOUR sweater.

If you’d like to add length below the waist, to the hip area, then work extra rows before the waist shaping. If you have a long torso then you can add a few extra stitches before, in the middle of, and after the waist shaping before you attach the sleeves.

If you have long arms you can either work the ribbing for a longer portion, follow directions for a larger sleeve size, or just knit to the desired length after you’ve worked all the decreases.

If you want to lengthen the armhole then just work extra rows just after attaching the sleeves, before the decreases start for the yoke.

For all of these options you will want to measure yourself and compare to the schematic, so you know how many inches you want to add. For all of these you’ll also just keep repeating the owl pattern on the back, as you’ve established in the previous rows.

Adding Stitches
Whether you are increasing stitches in the bust, or working a larger sleeve, you may need to increase the number of stitches in the pattern. When working the yoke section you’ll have more stitches than the pattern calls for. There are two ways to compensate for this. The first option is to decrease those extra stitches out when you initially start decreasing for the neckline, so if you added an extra 4 stitches to either side of your cardigan for extra room in the bust you’d need 4 extra decreases in the first decrease row of the yoke. With this option once you do the initial compensation you can follow the rest of the yoke directions as written. If you had to increase a lot of stitches however, like if you worked a larger sleeve and added stitches for the bust, it might not be possible to decrease all the additional stitches in the first decrease row. In this case add a few decreases each row until you have the same number of stitches as the pattern. This means your stitch count will be off for several rows, but as long as both sides of the cardigan and symmetrical you should be ok!

Have more questions? Feel free to leave me a comment here, or join the Ginny’s Cardigan KAL in the Mari Knits Ravelry Group.

Want to see how my sweater is progressing? Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to see daily photos, and use #MCginnyKAL so I can see yours too!

8 Responses

  1. Sarah
    | Reply

    Ok, from the rest of the pattern measurements, I should be wearing the 36 1/4″ bust, but my actual bust measurement is about 39″, so I should be increasing the pattern by probably at least 4″ in the bust area. Where in the pattern should I start the increases/how quickly should I increase, do you think?

    • Mari
      | Reply

      You can do it just before, during, and right after the short rows. I would increase 2 sts per row, and increase as quickly as you need to get to the bust circumference.

  2. Chris
    | Reply

    DD is short and short-torsoed. Only 5 ‘2.5″ tall and approx. 5-5.5″ from a string tied round the natural waist to a tape measure held round the fullest part of the bust, measured along the side seam. I’m trying to figure out when to start the bust dart, and also considering my slightly too many rows/inch row gauge (28 vs 26). Right now, from the center of the waist shaping (which should fall at the natural waist) to the needles, I have just about 4.75″. How far below the fullest part of the bust should the bust dart start? She’s a B cup, so I think the total short row section should be about 10 rows or at my gauge about 1.25-1.5″. I’m thinking I should perhaps start short rows now rather than at the full length for the size I’m making..

    • Mari
      | Reply

      Assuming DD is available I would start the bust darts right where the bottom of the bra band starts. Good luck!

  3. Jill Westwood
    | Reply

    Hi Mari,

    Thank you for Ginny’s cardigan. I fell in love with the owl pattern as soon as I saw the magazine in August. (I’m a big Harry Potter fan)

    I had lots of Christmas projects to finish it before I could start thinking about it. I have my wool, purchased at Knitche in Downers Grove, IL.

    I was wondering if I could customize it to a circular knit pullover? The last four sweaters I’ve made have been cardigans and I think I might like this one as a pullover with a bit of pattern along the sides of the front (maybe the lacy pattern from the Sword of Griffyndor mitts).

    Has anyone converted the owl pattern to circular? I know I can do it, just thought I would not reinvent the wheel.

    I’m going to use Acadia (wool/alpaca/silk blend) in Douglas Fir color. Very excited about it, and wondering your opinion?

    • Mari
      | Reply

      Sure! Since the button bands are knitted on after just follow the directions, and after casting on join to knit in the round, then follow the directions! When you start the decreases for the neckline you’ll have to start working in rows, and I would suggest binding off a few stitches in the middle to recreate the round neck. If you just do the decreases without binding off in the middle you’ll end up with a v-neck.

      Also Acadia is a great yarn, I’m a huge fan of the ladies at the Fibre Company!

  4. MaryRuth Shanks
    | Reply

    Is there a misprint in Interweave magazine of “The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits” pattern of The Owl Cardigan. I am getting ready to start the last of the decrease rows on the body of the sweater. I have been reading carefully over the rows to understand and make sure I have everything straight in made head before I start. On the next to last Dec row the numbers of stitches remaining on each side of marker is higher than the previous Dec row. They are in fact the same number of stitches as the Dec row above the previous row. It’s hard to explain but you have 7 Dec rows printed and the numbers on stitches remaining each side of marker are the same for decrease row 4 and 6. Also no matter how I count my stitches when I get to my last row there will be an odd number of stitches remaining. Is the middle stitch of the Owl chart just a knit stitch and all the other stitches SSK and K2tog?

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