I realised the other day when I was looking at instagram that one of the cardigans I make most often is a V-neck called Go Buffalo. I rarely mention it because I've been making it so long it's lost the new and exciting feeling that would make me write about it. But that is what is so good about it - it is so simple and so sweet that I make it time and again. Because of it's less distinctive nature (unlike something like Granny's Favourite!) then it doesn't feature as much in photos - but in a way that makes it more wearable. A staple if you will.
So I guess what you need to know is that I love this pattern and I love the resulting cardies. Go Buffalo is simple, sweet, and emphasizes their little shoulders and stick like arms. Basically it's simply a top down raglan with nice proportions. It also lasts each kid for a long time as because it is DK then it is light so when it gets a little smaller and ends up having 3/4 sleeves then it works great over a frock for cool summer nights.
Now I've included quite a few pictures in this post however most of them are quick snaps from instagram. And that is because I don't seem to feel this cardy is as photo worthy as others I make. I couldn't find proper finished photo photos. Crazy because these are some of my all time favourite sweaters my kids own.
Of course I modify it every single time. I've never actually made it as written but my modifications are simple. And I'll share them with you now.
1. The neckline.
I like a deeper V - a V that hits at the underarm level - and so instead of what's written I start by doing the neck increases every four rows rather than every two. I don't have a plan I just do them until it looks about right and then I switch to doing them every second row as written in the pattern. This gives a steeper slope initially near the neck, before switching to something closer to a 45degree angle when you get closer to the middle of the chest, about where the first button will go.
How I keep track of how many to increases to do is that I simply count the number of neckline increases in the pattern for the size I'm making and keep increasing until I have that many. As they are a kfb increase then they are easy to read but if you aren't sure then go to this post and it will show you what they look like. Generally I increase until I hit the underarm so that the V is inline with the breastbone. An extra increase or one less increase will not make any difference to your cardy. So don't stress too much.
2. The raglan increases.
Due to the fact that I muck up the row counts with what I do on the neckline then you need to make sure that you do the right number of raglan increases. I generally do this by increasing until I hit the stitch count for the sleeve OR I simply count the number I've done every few rows.
3. Garter Bands.
I love a garter band - especially when comparing it to a horizontal rib band. I think garter bands are tidier. But to make them tidy I decrease my needles size (normally to a 3.5mm from the 4.0mm of the body).
Another thing I do to make the sleeve and the body hem tidy (and sit in nicely) is that I also decrease the number of stitches on my last knit row before I start the garter band. Something like a [k6, k2tog] repeat works well. It doesn't matter whether this repeat fits into the number of stitches you have as noone will know but you. Make something up.
A word about yarns.
The only other thing I'd say/recommend is that I've often made this out of Rowan Felted Tweed. Not a cool and groovy yarn by any stretch of the imagination but it is one of my all time favourites. It is a light DK which means that it has over 150m per 50g ball rather than the standard 100m per 50 of most DK yarns. This makes a lighter fabric which is nice for kidlets.
Also Felted Tweed seems to wear better than any other yarn I've ever used (I'll put Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca Silk and Shilasdair DK in this camp as well). It doesn't really pill, it survives a mild felting and looks great after years of wear. The other thing I love about it is that due to the tweedy nature of the yarn the fabric darns incredibly well. All of these sweaters have had holes put in them by enthusiastic kids in the playground. They have been repaired again and again without looking any worse for wear. You can't even see the darns and that isn't due to my skill. To be honest, I'm a bit of a slapdash darner.
Alrighty then - there you have it tigers. A great pattern that looks sweet and fits any given kid for years. A big V salute if you will.