Unbuttoning the spring

Coming home from work in the daylight, daffodill buckets at the supermarket checkout, blosssom appearing on street corners, and leaving the house without long johns: spring is on the way and for me that means my knitting plans are opening up – or at least acquiring buttons so they can. Cardigans are the original 2-for-1 sweater. Wear them all the year round by all means, but surely spring time is the season most aligned with the fundamental optimism of the cardigan. Here’s our first crop of 9: plain or patterned, we recommend all of them..

Purl Code by Isabel Kraemer, uses IK’s signature raglan shaping and delightful finishing. Random lines of purls playfully disrupt the stocking stitch without adding complexity making it a perfect pattern for having fun with The Wool Kitchen’s 4ply sock Zip Yarns that send you a prism of colour every time you need to purl.
Trouville by Sophie Ochera – Yes it needs steeking, yes it uses 4ply and yes, there are loads of colours, bobbles and stripes, but oh boy, a more joyful knit is hard to find. Plan your colours using SO’s handy colouring-in page, use up your sock yarn left overs and come to our steeking class. If ever the
Double Trouble by Veera Välimäki: This one is equal parts knitable, finishable and wearable. Your very first garment project or a palette cleanser after an epic fairisle. And if the 2 colour thing is not your thing (I’m not sure it’s mine), just do it in one. Make it in £6.75/ball Dlana and it’s also a sweater-for-less winner coming in at £30-£40 for the first 4 sizes
Fanel by Orlane Sucche : broken rib, folded cuffs, shoulder shaping, discreet buttonholes. Fanel is all about details. Beloved by all who knit it, and the DK weight means you can take it where you like yarn-wise. We recommend the WYS Bluefaced Leicester DK for soft and lustrous fabric or Dererum Natura’s Robinson for a cottonier springier version.
Pearson by Julie Hoover : Don’t say ‘if only she made it seamless’. Do say ‘Oh thank goodness it’s not one of those all in one patterns again!’. For all you straight knitting sewer-uppers, this one is for you. Some call it the most perfect cardie-basic in the world. Go luxurious with Penelope, soft with WYS Pure, rustic with Brusca, or hard-wearing with Vovó.
Black Basalt by Åsa Tricosa How I love this cardigan! Another one of AT’s beguiling Ziggurat patterns where the next step is always unexpected and everything is contiguous: neck, shoulders and button band- and it all fits perfectly. Oh, and that shaped intarsia triangle on the cuff – a spicy epilogue to remind you of its genius construction and thrilling knitting for all the years you wear it.
Burgos by Rosa Pomar: Made it straight to both our lists as soon as it came out last year – Burgos uses just 3-5 balls of João mixed with mohair silk. Knit it in a fortnight, wear it with everything. This is the one you won’t ever want to take off.
Time Piece by Ailbíona McLochlainn – the more you look, the more enchanting details there are to discover in this timeless and versatile pattern which includes instructions for a lighter DK or heavier aran versions, opening up loads of yarn possibilities: choose Gilliatt, Rauwerk or Dehesa for an 18 stitch gauge, or Vovó, Penelope, WYS Pure for a lighter 21 stitches.
Shandy by Thea Colman. This one’s here for cardie-ists who like their knitting with a twist. I chose Shandy but truthfully, I would happily have picked Vodka Lemonade or any other TC jacket. Beautifully scaled cables that never seem to overpower the garment. I like mine muted in Rauwerk but choose Dehesa for smoother more defined texture.

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