Coraline Cardigan

Finally, I was able to get some photos of my Coraline cardigan.

coraline front

I love this cardigan so much. It’s turned out exactly as I hoped. This yarn sat in my stash for some time while I decided which cardigan it wanted to be and I think it’s been worth the wait.

coraline back

Some projects are just destined to be landmark pieces and I think, for me, this is one of them. Ysolda Teague is very, very clever designer. It’s been said before and, given she’s only young, it’ll be said many, many times over the course of her career but damn she’s good. From the hem to the icord bind off on the yoke, it’s pretty hard to fault her so I’m not even going to try. Her patterns are a joy to read and work with; her instructions are clear and precise.

And when you do what the pattern asks, you stop and look at the work in your hands and think to yourself, ‘well look at that! It’s genius!’

I loved working the yoke. Thanks to nearly a week off work, it passed pretty quickly.

coraline yoke

I love the fit; I love the drape; I love the feel of it and I loved knitting it. I worried that the icord edging was going to roll in an annoying way at the bottom but I pinned it down when I was wet blocking the cardigan and I think the curl at the bottom is minimal.

The buttons, miraculously, are from Lincraft. I rarely go to the big shops like Lincraft and Spotlight for buttons because you just can’t get a good range of options. So imagine my surprise when I found these. I think they work really well. There are tiny flecks of black in the Felted Tweed, so it’s a good match.

coraline buttons shot

In a nice touch of synchronicity, I just happened watch the movie of Neil Gaiman’s book, Coraline (the inspiration for the pattern), with our 9 year old niece when I was finishing the cardigan last week. We’re big Neil Gaiman fans in our house, and the story is both creepy and clever.

Our niece thought it was amazing that I was knitting a cardigan called Coraline, while we were watching one of her favourite movies by the same name. If you’ve seen the movie or read the book you know there’s a creepy element involving big, dark buttons being sewn in place of eyes. Sean felt to be true to the story I should sew big dark buttons on the cardigan, but I declined!


So here are the details:

Pattern: Coraline by Ysolda.
Timeframe: April 8 – June 14 2010
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed 7.5 balls.
Needles: 3.5mm for all but the hems, which were on 3mm. I got gauge with 4mm but the swatch grew after washing so I stuck with 3.5mm.
Modifications: My row gauge was off so I had to knit more rows, which turned out ok because I wanted it to be longer than the pattern specified anyway. I just kept knitting until it was the right length, keeping in mind that it would grow a little.

Because my row gauge was off I worried about the yoke and thought I’d have to do an extra repeat of the smocking stitch, but when it came time to do the short rows for the neck, it was the right length so I changed nothing there.

I also changed the sleeves so I didn’t have to do the puffy version in the pattern, instead doing a hem just like the body, which a lot of people had done before me. I agreed with lots of people that the simple hem was better for the sleeves. It meant I had to think through the sleeve decreases a little but that wasn’t hard.

And that’s it! Six weeks and I have a cardigan I’m very, very proud of. Sure it was a bit of a slog in the middle with the long rows of stocking stitch and then the sleeves, but once you’ve joined the sleeves, you’re practically done. If you’re wondering about whether or not to make this one, as I did for nearly a year, I say go for it. It’s wonderful.



42 thoughts on “Coraline Cardigan

  1. Pingback: Honey Cardigan | Bellsknits

  2. Pingback: My Mum’s Cranford Mitts « Bellsknits

  3. Oh wow. And you look GORGEOUS!

    That is such a stunning cardi and the colour is great. In 6 weeks too? I’m inspired.

    Wonderful haircut too.

  4. Oh – it looks so lovely – the felted tweed looks just gorgeous – and who is that skinny person wearing your nice cardi – go get it back! LOL!

    You look great and so does Coraline!

  5. Absolutely gorgeous, Bells! Isn’t Ysolda brilliant? I was lucky enough to meet her and hear her speak here in NYC. She is not only a brilliant designer but what a lovely girl!

  6. It’s fabulous! The smocking adds that bit of special, I think. Well done. I dream of having the skill and patience to knit a whole cardi for myself one day 😉

  7. Helen, the cardigan is lovely, well done. But I just loved your hair, the cut and the colour so beautiful.
    Love Mum.xox

  8. What a gorgeous cardigan, Helen! You did a fabulous job on it, too. The fit is perfect, the colour is beautiful, and I LOVE the buttons…Lincraft! Who knew?! This one really has to go in my queue…

  9. It’s fabulous, and it looks wonderful on you! And a really great, helpful write up too. I’ve avoided this pattern thinking it wouldn’t suit my shape, but it is incredibly flattering on you. Kudos all round!!

  10. that is really lovely! great shaping, it sits so well from all angles (and coordinates perfectly with your lovely skirt). i like the way you desribe working with ysolda’s patterns – i really must get around to knitting something of hers.

    i’m a bit worried about seeing coraline the movie – the creepiness would be enhanced for me given my nutty button phobia!

  11. Bravo! Beautiful job!

    “Coraline” has many ties with Portland, Oregon, where I live. One of which – notice the sweaters and mittens Coraline wears? They were knitted by a local woman using special knitting wires and thread. Pretty cool, huh? They are sooooo tiny!

  12. it’s fabulous! the colour is lovely for you, and the fit is perfect. I love that you have enjoyed knitting it so much, and that it is so very very perfect for you!

    oh, btw – my Untangled Yoke has 3 rows and some buttons left until it’s finished, so it can totally come play with Coraline at Bendi!!!

  13. It is absolutely beautiful! What a perfect fit too – I bet this will be a favourite for years to come. Ysolda is a very talented designer and I do hope she brings out many more wonderful designs. What is your next project going to be?

  14. It is beautiful, well worth all the yoke worry and sleevland time!! My favourite picture is the last one, where your skirt matches your cardi. You look fabulous!!

  15. Oh what wise yarn that Felted Tweed is – gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. The colour, the execution and you.

    Well done for declining the button suggestion, those are a perfect choice

  16. oh its perfect…in so many ways…the colour, the pattern, oh the fit is perfect on you!

    well done, its gorgeous and hope you’ll be showing it off

  17. Its divine Bells! Isnt this just a lovely patterns, and so well written! I like what you did with the sleeves. Mine are about an inch too short, alas, despite adding an extra inch or so to their length. I havent seen Coraline the movie, but I do have Coraline the talking book, read by Dawn French, which was very creepy.

  18. Oh it’s just wonderful! Love it on you, looks great!! And you are right, Ysolda really is a clever and talented designer. The smocking is way cool! Knitting something that makes you feel clever is a lot of fun, and so satisfying too.

    And love the outfit, perfect! And your hair looks great too!

  19. Just gorgeous, I knew it would look great on you and it really does. Great colour, great fit, lovely knitting. And the buttons! Perfect! I love that movie, but I’m glad you didn’t copy that part! Well done Bells.

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