A step-by-step guide to knitting the fan-favourite Olivia Cardigan
When it comes to knitting, practice makes perfect
Before we get started on the pattern we suggest you spend a bit of time learning the basic stitches you’ll need to complete your masterpiece.
The Olivia Cardigan is a dream to knit up with her kaleidoscope of colours and asymmetric colour-block style. You'll want to be confident with the knit stitch and its friend the purl stitch before we start. We put the knit and purl stitches together to make a rib stitch and a stockinette stitch. You'll also want to get a hang of tying a slip knot and casting on your stitches which is the first step in any knitting project.
You can use the yarn that came in your kit to practice with. Once you've got these mastered you'll find the pattern a cinch!
Total beginner? 👩🏫
For a more comprehensive lesson on the basics of knitting visit our Learn How To Knit page.
Onto the Cardigan!
⚡️What you'll need
Your kit comes with everything you'll need to make your masterpiece. In your kit you'll find;
- 10mm and 15mm needles
- 6 balls of Cardigang Chunky Merino Wool in 5 colours (you'll have 2 balls of colour 2)
- A darning needle
- Made by me tag
You also want to have a pair of scissors handy.
📏 Sizing and measurements
🌈 Your kaleidoscope of colour
🥣 Test your tension
🧶 Let's knit up a storm!
Time to get click-clacking and whip up your cosy cardigan.
Remember learning a new skill can be a little challenging at first, and you’re bound to find yourself making some mistakes along the way. But as with learning anything, your brain and your hands slowly start to get the hang of it, muscle memory is created, and soon the thing you found tricky/daunting/scary is like second nature! 💪
We start with the back piece which we knit flat from the bottom rib up to the shoulders. This is the biggest piece of your cardigan and once done it will look like a big square.
Using your 10mm needles cast on the correct number of stitches.
Hot tip: your piece will 'grow' as you knit so don't be alarmed if it looks like you're knitting a baby's cardi to start with!
We’ll knit two rows of 1x1 rib stitch. To create a rib pattern, we knit 1 stitch, then purl the next, then knit the next, then purl the next and repeat.
🧶 Make sure you’re moving your yarn tail from the back to the front of your work between each stitch (bring the yarn in through the middle of the needles) to ensure the rib is executed correctly.
💭 Your stitches will run down onto the plastic tube connecting your needles. That's totally fine!
Use your circles!
One of the things we found the hardest when we were learning to knit was keeping track of our rows. Before we were able to easily identify a row of stitches we used a pen and paper to keep track. That's why we've included handy circles in our patterns - you can tick them off as you go. The dashed circles are for the larger sizes.
Change to your 15mm needles and we're going to start knitting in stockinette stitch which is where we knit all the stitches in one row, then purl all stitches in the next - we repeat this pattern as instructed.
💭 To switch to a different size needle we just hold the new needle (in this case the 15mm needle) in our right hand and the current needle with your work on it in your left hand. Then knit the stitches from your left needle onto the new needle in your right hand.
Time for our first colour change! We always change colours at the end of a row. Watch the video below to see how it's done.
📹 Watch How To Change Colours
Change colours again and complete the back piece following the instructions in your pattern.
Cast off your stitches!
When you've got just one stitch left on your right needle, simply cut your yarn from the ball (leaving about 20cm) and thread it back through your last stitch to secure it.
Time to knit up the front panels. The front pieces have a different colour block pattern so you'll need to follow the instructions for each.
The good news! The front panels are knitted using the same techniques as the back so these will be a cinch now! 😎
We knit our sleeves from the top down, meaning we're going to start casting onto our 15mm needles and knit down to the cuff.
Cast on the required number of stitches using your 15mm needles.
Continue knitting in stockinette stitch and changing colours as instructed for each sleeve.
📉 Time to decrease some stitches!
To get the shape in our sleeves, we're going to decrease some stitches in the row before we knit the cuff. We do this by knitting two stitches together.
You'll note that the sequence for decreasing it slightly different depending on the size you're making so be sure to pay attention to the instructions for your size!
Next, we switch to using our 10mm needles to knit the cuff of our sleeves.
Hot tip - when you cast off don't do it too tightly or you'll have a very tight hole for your wrist to squeeze through!
SEWING IT TOGETHER
We're SO CLOSE! I can see the finish line 🎢🙌
Now it’s time to get to work with the darning needle to sew your masterpiece together. We lay our pieces flat and sew them together one by one.
Lay your front and back pieces on a flat surface, the right sides facing you.
Then sew the cast-off edges of the front panels and the back panel together, leaving the gap in the middle for the open front of the cardi. It's best if you work from the edge of the piece and sew inwards.
We use a technique called the invisible seam technique which gives us a nice neat join. In the video below, we cover two variations of the technique - you can pick which you prefer!
Time to attach the sleeves to the body. Make sure the middle of your sleeve is lined up with the shoulder seam. This will ensure the seam of your sleeve is right under your armpit, not half way around your arm! Once you've made sure it's all lined up, sew the sleeves to the shoulders.
For this step and the next, we use a technique called mattress stitch. This technique is used when joining pieces vertically and it gives us a nice neat (almost) invisible join. It's also a great technique to hide loose or sloppy edges! 😎
You work this seam through the “bars” of stockinette stitch.
💭 If you're anything like us you might find seaming a bit of a pain and hard to make super neat. It's a common beginner challenge! The main principle with seaming is no matter what seaming method you use, be sure you are entering into the same place on each stitch along the seam. This consistency makes it harder to see the seam.
Fold your cardi in half long ways with the wrong sides facing each other, we're going to sew the sides together using the same mattress stitch technique.
Start either at the cuff of the sleeve or the rib of the waist and work your way to the armpit and then around to the other end.
💭 It's normal for the wool to get a bit shabby, so we recommend using a few pieces and tying them together underneath as you go! Try to match the yarn colour to your stripes to make the seams as invisible as possible!
The last thing we do for every piece is weave in the ends. That’s basically just tidying up the piece so all loose ends are trimmed down and tucked into the inside of your work. You use your darning need and weave those ends into the seams so they are nicely hidden away.
The final step in finishing a knitted piece is to block it. This step is optional and not all beginner knitters will block their work (we didn't! 🤣) but it can improve the overall shape and finish of your piece.
Blocking your knitting is a process where you wet your piece to set the finished size and even out the stitches.
You can choose to block your work before you seam it together, or after. If you block before seaming together you might get a better result with your seaming because the stitches will be more lined up.
Soak your knit in cool water. You only need to let your piece sit in the water for a few minutes and make sure the full piece is completely wet.
Remove your knit from the water and dry it off by rolling it in a towel. You want to get us much of the moisture out of the knit as possible at this point but be gentle! You don't want to stretch the knit.
Transfer your damp knit to a flat surface to block it on. If you've got a blocking mat - great! otherwise a towel will work. The surface needs to be somewhere where your knit can lie flat and can stay there until it fully dries so that the shape sets properly. Make sure it's not a surface that can be easily damaged by having something wet sitting on it!
Arrange your piece so the right side is facing up and the shape is as you'd like it. If you've got a measuring tape you can measure and adjust the piece so it's the correct size.
Allow the knit to air dry - this can take a few days. You can also use a hair dryer to speed up the process, just use a light heat and don't concentrate the air in one spot.
D.O.N.E! You've finished your cardigan, well done! Epic work 🤩 If this was your first-ever knitting project or one of many, we hope you had a blast click-clacking and making your masterpiece 💥❤️