A step-by-step guide to knitting the gorgeous Shannon 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 Shannon Cardigan is the perfect beginner project because it's made up of 90% knit stitches - yep, just the one type of stitch will make up almost the whole cardi. We told you it was beginner-friendly 😎 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 to begin. 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!
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! 💪
⚡️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
- 6-7 balls of Cardigang Chunky Merino Wool
- A darning needle
- Made by me tag
You also want to have a pair of scissors handy.
📏 Sizing and measurements
🥣 Test your tension
🧶 Let's knit up a storm!
Time to get click-clacking and whip up your cosy cardigan.
We start with the back panel, it’s the simplest piece of the knit and will give you confidence as you move on to other pieces. We knit from the bottom up, starting at the rib and going up to the shoulders.
Cast on the required number of stitches using your 10mm circular needles.
Once you've cast on the right number of stitches you move on to the rib. We knit the rib following the instructions in your pattern. To create a rib 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.
Next, we switch to using our 15mm straight needles and into garter stitch which is made when we knit every stitch in every row - simple!
💭 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.
We’ll work the allocated rows of garter stitch. 💭 Use the circles to tick off the rows as you go - this will help you keep track of your progress.
Once we've completed all our rows of garter stitch we need to cast off our stitches to finish the back piece.
We're going to knit 2 front panels so follow this part twice ✌️
Step 1 - 4:
Good news! The front panels are identical to the back in terms of techniques. So simply follow the pattern through cast-on, rib stitch, garter stitch and cast-off.
Onto the sleeves. You'll do two of theses too! 😎🧶 We start at the top of the sleeve and knit down to the cuff.
Using your 15mm needles cast on the correct number of stitches.
We're going to knit in garter stitch for the allocated number of rows. This should be a cinch by now! 💪
To get the shape in our sleeve, we're going to decrease some stitches before we knit the cuff. We do this by knitting two stitches together. For all sizes, knit your first 2 (3, 3) stitches, then knit two stitches together along the row until you have 2 stitches left. Knit these last two stitches like normal.
Once that’s done you'll swap to the 10mm needles and knit your rib stitch. Note the difference in sequence across sizes. With a rib stitch, it's important that your knit stitches and your purl stitches line up on top of each other - that's what gives the fabric a stretch.
Cast off your stitches.
💭 When you cast off make sure it’s not too tight otherwise you’ll have a really tight wrist hole!
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 or the “bumps” of garter 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!
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.
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 💥❤️