A step-by-step guide to knitting the Polly 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 Polly Cardigan is a dream to knit up and perfect for beginners. 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, a stockinette stitch and a seed 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;
- 12mm needles
- 7-11 balls of Cardigang Chunky Acrylic yarn
- A darning needle
- Made by me tag
You also want to have a pair of scissors handy.
📏 Sizing and measurements
🥣 Test your tension
GET READY TO SWITCH OFF. STITCH ON. Let's knit up a storm 🧶
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 rectangle.
Using your 12mm needles cast on the correct number of stitches.
💭 Your stitches will run down onto the plastic tube connecting your needles. That's totally fine!
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 5 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.
💭 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.
We're going to start knitting in stockinette stitch next. This is where we knit all the stitches in one row, then purl all stitches in the next - we repeat this pattern as instructed.
We knit the back piece in alternating stripes of stockinette stitch and seed stitch. So it's time to introduce the seed stitch.
Seed stitch is made by alternating knit stitches and purl stitches within a row and between rows. It is called seed stitch because the stitches create little bumps that may look like seeds. Seed stitch is identical on both sides and lies flat.
Continue alternating your bands. Note that you'll start your stockinette stitch always on a knit row.
💭 Starting a new ball: You'll need to start with a new ball when your first runs out. The best method for beginners is as follows. When you've got about 30cm of yarn left in your current ball, you incorporate the tail from the new ball into your next stitch. You do this by starting your next stitch with your new tail and knitting on with that new ball, making sure the loose ends for both balls are on the wrong side/inside of your work. Then all you need to do is tie the two ends together in a knot once you finish the row.
Step 10 (11, 12, 13):
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.
💭 You'll see that the different sizes will complete a different number of rows so just make sure you cast off when your size is instructed to.
🔥 NICE WORK! THE BIGGEST PIECE OF YOUR cardigan is done!
DID SOMEBODY SAY WINE TIME?! 🍷
THE FRONT PIECES
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 with a band of seed stitch.
Cast on the required number of stitches using your 12mm needles.
Continue knitting as the pattern instructs.
📉 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.
We knit the cuffs in a 1x1 rib stitch so they have a nice stretch.
Hot tip: Cast off your stitches loosely so your hand can fit easily through the end of your sleeve!
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.
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 💥❤️