So small girl cardigans are something I know a little about. Over the years I would have made at least….hold on a sec….I just went to Ravelry and counted….at least 30 of them. I have actually made more than 30 as I am sometimes too lazy to post them on Ravelry, or don't get around to taking photos of them before a child mucks them up. There are so many patterns to choose from and yet at the moment, I keep coming back to the same one. Knit after knit after knit.
The pattern in question is Granny's Favourite by Georgie Hallam, who you all know is one of our teachers. She released it last September* and at last count I had made four. Five soon as I have just been asked to make another by my daughter, as her original has been worn so much it is starting to look a little too well worn (read: stained) and small. You may remember that version from last year as we used her cardigan on our postcard.
So what do I love about it.
1. The fit.
The yoke has a beautiful shape that both emphasises the beautiful lacework and their shoulders at the same time. It only has three buttons which gives a lovely swing shape which is great over frocks. Plus at the start of the pattern Georgie gives you great advice on how to get a good fit, rather than just suggesting that you knit for age.
The cardigan in the photo at the top of the post (Rav details here) was actually knitted for my niece, who is two years younger than the girl in the photos. But it still fits and that is one of the things I love about it - it's longevity. Due to the circular yoke hugging the shoulders, and the fact that as she grows the sleeves just move from full length to 3/4, then you have a garment that looks good on a range of ages. Often a cardigan that is too big just looks too big - this doesn't.
2. How fun it is to knit
I love how quick and simple the yoke is once you get going. And when you have made it a few times you can knit the yoke in your sleep. Quick and addictive. Then, once the yoke is complete you don't want to stop, because you want to see a finished knit because the yoke is so pretty.
3. The details
Two things in particular here. The first is the slip stitch edge which means that the button bands don't curl. This technique is so clever and simple and yet I hadn't come across it until I made this pattern.
The second is the technique that Georgie suggests when you start knitting the body and sleeves top-down from the yoke. Normally this results in a hole that you have to darn up at the end. This technique means that there are absolutely no holes and a beautiful join. I now use this technique everywhere.
4. The yoke!
I mean - c'mon! Timeless and beautiful. Old fashioned - but not in a lumpy way. It has a refined heirloom feel to it. Pretty without being fussy.
The last one I made - there is a photo on instagram here - was the newborn size. Super quick and super super sweet.
Now I know this post started by saying small girl cardiganS with an "s" and I have only given you one. So here is a couple of others I love ….
For babies - my all time favourite, would knit it over and over again even though it is a bit of a bugger to start the yoke, would have to be Maile. It is just a beautiful pattern. Read other people's notes on Rav. They will help. I have three versions of it on my project page if you fancy a look at some others. Not for beginners though (a suggestion for beginners in a minute!) as the join may make you want to give up knitting altogether. And that is never good for the soul.
For small girls an absolute favourite is Little Buds. I have only knitted this once. And we managed to lose it (I blame the child!) but for garter squishiness which looks fabulous on small girls I love this. I do plan on doing it again at some stage. In real life I spend a lot of time squeezing this child, but with this cardy on she was practically irresistible. She may have got a little impatient with me. I may have ignored her impatience due to the irresistibility of the garter.
For slightly older girls another favourite is Go Buffalo. I have actually made two of these (only one on Rav) and plan on making more. I love how it sits on her shoulders and the tomboyness of the V. Super cute. I made a few alterations to the neckline to make the V a bit deeper so check those out if you like what you see. I also used garter stitch for the button bands and gathered cuffs. Modification can be addictive….even with a great pattern.
And finally for beginners - I would try In Threes. I have never made one but have started a few friends off with them, as they make the move from scarves to garment knitting. The combination of the worsted weight yarn and the simple sleeveless shape means they race through them, to a very satisfying result.
I'd love to hear about your favourites if you have one. I'm always on the lookout for something new to try….
* Georgie released an update which is a bit more concise than the first iteration so make sure you have the latest version.