This year I wanted to learn how to knit a jumper or cardigan seamlessly top down. After browsing Ravelry a while I found Quiet stars cardigan by Joji Locatelli which is a lace cardigan with a shawl neck and a-line shaping. It matched my criteria of seamless and buttonless top-down cardigan. The cardigan has shaping that fits perfectly my body and has so many beautiful details that I had to make it.
It took me a month to finish the cardigan. I knitted almost every night at least a little so I have to say that this is not the quickest knit. However, I am very pleased with the result and this is going to be for sure my favourite cardigan. It is so pretty that I can wear it with a cocktail dress but most likely I’m going to wear this at the office.
Joji Locatelli is professional and fairly popular knitwear designer so the pattern met my expectations and was very clear and easy to follow. There are two different textures: spots and lace, both very easy to memorize. In addition there was a nice detail in back and some shaping so there was something new going on every now and then which made the cardigan interesting to knit but at the same time you didn’t have look at the pattern all the time.
This was my very first top-down garment and I had no difficulties following the instructions so I would say this pattern is doable for beginners as well. Mostly the cardigan consists of basic stitches, increases and decreases. In addition you need to do some short rows for the shaping but the pattern contains a link to a video tutorial if that technique is not familiar to you.
The recommended yarn was Julie Asselin Fino and this cardigan was actually designed specifically for this yarn. However, I found it too expensive considering the fact that I had to order the yarn online without having any idea how it feels and how the colors look like in real life (yarns for my size would have cost almost 160€ here in Finland). Instead I chose fairly affordable Norwegian yarn Sandnes Garn Alpakka Silke (8,90€ / skein). It worked well with the design and was also very pleasant to knit. In addition it feels wonderful next to my skin. Does not itch a bit. Costs including the pattern were in total approximately 70€ .
I did a swatch before I started to knit and with the recommended needle size (3,5mm) my gauge was quite near to the one in the pattern. I used 1387 meters (7 skeins) of yarn. The pattern suggested that for size L I would have needed 1540 meters (7,7 skeins of yarn) so I used approximately 10% less yarn than suggested.
Sizing, construction and modifications
Usually I wear clothes size M but I chose size L because I’m breastfeeding and my boobs are currently h u g e. I did not do any modifications since this was my first top-down cardican but maybe I should have made the front according to size L and back and sleeves size M.
First I knitted according to the pattern and started with collar. Then I did back and front and joined the body. I knitted until I was quite near to the recommended length and left the body stitches on hold and knitted the sleeves. After finishing the sleeves I had maybe half a skein left and I did not want to start a new skein so I knitted the body as long as I run out of that skein. The length turned out to be quite ok and I have enough leftover yarn to knit something for my baby daughter. Optimizing the usage of yarn is one of the pros when you knit top-down. The other is of course that you can try the garment early and thus it is easier to make adjustments if needed.