Holiday Knitting a Woolly Carbeth Cardigan in Alafosslopi

Finished knitting Carbeth Cardigan

My son worked Thanksgiving Day and since it’s only me and him, I spent the day getting a new knitting project on the needles (I finished it on New Years Eve). The Carbeth Cardigan (Ravelry pattern page) is a design by KDD and Co., Kate Davies Designs. The pattern suggests holding two yarns together, but I chose woolly Alafosslopi yarn for this garment.

I did a swatch in size 10.5 with Alafosslopi yarn which was too large, so knit up another in size 10. That one turned out to match gauge exactly. I’m knitting this sweater in Icelandic wool which is bulky weight. Color is Ecru Heather. I will also need below gauge needles for the ribbing, neck and front bands.

Sweater Construction

I began with a sleeve and since I did not have a “below gauge needle” I knit the rib with size 10. The cuff is long. The body is knit, bottom up, and then everything is attached. This makes sleeve length a bit tough to figure. I knit 19.5 inches and the pattern called for 18. I’m glad I went longer. This pattern seems to have been written for a mini-sized person. I am 5’5” so pretty average.

Here (below) I have reached the point where my decreases are almost done. The back of the neck seems low, so I will try to figure out my own short rows to bring it up. Other knitters have done this and I can see why.

Adding Short Rows to the Back of the Sweater

I watched this video to figure out my short row placement, but added a life line (good video at Very Pink Knits about adding a life line) before I got to this point. I’ve never tried to figure out my own short row placement and wanted to be able to rip them out if need be.

The blue yarn is my lifeline. Above that, in the center of the back, see the raised part which happened when I added short rows. I’m very glad I did this as the sweater seems to fit better.

Short Row Placement

I marked off the stitches for my short rows one row too early. Next time: Do short rows after the last row where the two center back stitches are purled together (or knit together for some sizes) and markers are removed. This is the row just before the neck decreases begin. **Another knitter made a note that she did the short rows after the decreases. This may work better as my short rows left a bit of a pucker in one spot. I didn’t notice this until AFTER the collar was worked, and I was not ripping that far back!

The Front Bands and Neck Ribbing

There is a lot of putting stitches on hold in this sweater. Once the joining of the sleeves and body and yoke knitting is done, stitches are held until time to knit the collar. The collar and front ribbing is knit on the smaller gauge needles. I have one size 9, 32-inch needle which I needed for all of this. The front ribbing has to be completed before the collar is knit.

The front bands were difficult for me as far as trying to pick up the right amount of stitches to make the top three work. Also, because I knit the body two inches longer, I needed to pick up extra stitches and not what the pattern said..! I ended up doing about 80 stitches on each band – which were way too many – but I won’t realize this until it’s way too late.

The button loops are added with an i-cord edging so no buttonholes were made.

Carbeth cardigan knitting
Front ribbing on hold with neck ribbing begun

Neck Ribbing

The neck stitches are knit in ribbing and will be folded over to the inside and attached. I followed the advice of other knitters and put a softer yarn inside the collar. I used gray Quarry yarn because I had it, and it matches the thickness of the Alafosslopi.

Knitting the neck was easy but then it had to be folded and attached inside. I used a size 5, long circular needle with pointed tip to pick up those stitches. You really need much smaller needle to make this easier. This video helped me see what exactly I should be doing as far as picking up stitches. I picked up two stitches for each knit and each purl section and then two stitches on each end. This matches the number of rib stitches to do the bind off – that number has to match the number knit for the ribbing! Purl Soho has a good 3-needle bind-off video if needed.

I used a much smaller size needle – size 5 US when picking up those stitches. Then I used a size 9 US DPN to knit the bind-off. I began binding off with a 5 DPN but the stitches seemed very tight. (A helpful note from the designer about all this would have been very nice!)

Explaining Pattern Section 8

I got to section 8 in the Carbeth pattern and was stumped. After some searching, I found a good explanation in the Ravelry forum, because it seems other knitters were also stumped.

The point in section 8 is to close up that hole in the collar, which was made by folding it over, by picking up stitches along the edge. Then, the collar and front band becomes one long set of stitches.

My band is being held by scrap yarn so I needed to pick up all those band stitches also. Now the needle is full, from top of collar to bottom of sweater. Go back to the top (on one side, the bottom on the other) and begin the i-cord bind off.

Although this video, by Andrea Mowry, is not exactly how the i-cord is done in the Carbeth pattern, it gave me an idea of what I needed to do, only with a different amount of stitches. Begin the Carbeth bind-off by adding two stitches to the LEFT HAND NEEDLE, and continue as the pattern says.

Firsts For Me While Knitting This Sweater

I did my very first spit splice using this yarn! It was pretty cool and I will definitely be using it more often when knitting with wool.

The lld decrease on the wrong side. Clear directions are given in the pattern abbreviations page.

Added my own short rows – successfully – for the most part. I’m very glad I did this because the sweater would not have been “high” enough around my shoulders and neck otherwise. I’m very surprised the pattern didn’t include short rows as many knitters added them in on their own.

It was not my first 3-needle bind-off, but the first time I’d done it to tack down a double collar.

I-cord rib and buttonholes. This was pretty easy to do, but the fact that I had picked up too many stitches (way back) for the bands, made the ribbing wavy. At this point I was frustrated.

I am trying to fix this with button placement and blocking. A simple note from the designer about how to pick up those front stitches – such as “pick up 2 stitches for every 3” – or something, would have helped. She does say how many to pick up – if you follow the pattern exactly and want a cropped sweater.

Final Review of Knitting the Carbeth Cardigan

Some previous knitters of this pattern mentioned that the sweater runs small. I would agree. I made my sleeves and body longer.

In my opinion, it is necessary to add those short rows at the back too. My gauge swatch was exact, so I chose the correct size to knit, it just would have been very small had I followed the pattern.

There is a lot of picking up of stitches and putting stitches back onto needles. Also, parts of the pattern directions were difficult to understand, and I needed to search the Ravelry forum and use YouTube videos (none were referenced in the pattern) to figure things out. I have notes written all over this pattern just in case I ever want to knit it again …. which I highly doubt.

I love that this pattern uses a bulky yarn because the project is completed quickly. Overall the construction is unique, but it’s not flattering to my shape and the button bands are wonky due to reasons mentioned above.

Because many parts of the pattern needed some figuring out, I certainly would not suggest it for a beginner sweater knitter.

Other Sweater Patterns I Have Knit and Reviewed

L-R: Top row – Playdate and Marshland (by Tin Can Knits) Calliope by Espace Tricot (a free pattern)

Row 2 – Polliwog Popover, Cobblestone (Brooklyn Tweed), Fine Sand

Row 3 – Farfuglar (Lettlopi yarn) and my first sweater Umpqua – lots of mistakes here.

7 thoughts on “Holiday Knitting a Woolly Carbeth Cardigan in Alafosslopi

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