I always identify myself as a ‘sweater knitter’ and more specifically, a ‘cardigan knitter’ but have I finished one in forever?! Nope! I think I kind of overdosed on cardigans. Although I wear one almost every day, I think I was sick of fitting issues, knitting in general and wanting to mix it up with other projects. I had bought/received 8oz of Sweet Georgia Yarns’ December 2014 fibre club, a colourway I’ve spoken about quite a bit both on here and the videocast {link to my finished handspun here}. I had spun 4 different samples, wasn’t sure which route to go, etc.


I knew exactly what I wanted to knit with it, though! I had stumbled on the Cambio by Stephen West a few times, along with the Eternalism Vest by Talitha Kuomi. I loved the natural striping of the Eternalism, the texture of the Cambio and the simplicity of both.


Pattern :: Solaris by the Berroco Design Team

Needles :: 5.00mm

Yarn :: Sweet Georgia Yarns’ Glitterati in Starry Nights (December 2014 club) – handspun link


Original Yarn :: Total of 758 yards (8oz)

Ratio :: 16:1 singles & plied (high twist)

Traditional 2-ply


I have knit the Solaris cardigan before, with sleeves. I didn’t have enough yarn to knit an entire cardigan out of this yarn – I knew I only had enough for a vest. And I didn’t want sleeves anyhow — too hot!

My original Solaris was heavily modified, so I figured I could do it again. One major complaint I had about my original was the amount of bulk at the back neck. I wanted a slightly wider front band on this cardigan without the added amount of fabric that would create at the back. Instead, I worked short rows across the back. An illustration will help me to explain:

illustration to explain short rows

Does that help?! Please ask if you’d like further instructions. I calculated my short rows based on my need, which was 18” across the mid-back. I needed a total of 72 rows, therefore I worked 6 short row repeats (of 12 rows each) across the back. I worked 5 of the short rows at 5%, 10%, 50%, 50% and 75% of the stitches on the back (remember that each short row is accompanied by a row back, so that’s 10 rows total). The last two rows were across all stitches (12 rows total). This was all based on my gauge, both row and stitch, and is part of the reason why it is sooooo important to swatch!


The result is a lovely fit across the back, not too much bulk at the back of the neck and a lovely seaming line across the mid-back. I used wrap & turn short rows but if I were to knit this again (which I plan to), then I would use Carol Sunday’s Short Rows (my favourite).


The front collar can be folded for a completely different look, which I love due to the interest of the reverse St st of the handspun.


Or the original look:


One admission I have about knitting with my handspun has to do with the fact that it usually naturally self-stripes. I didn’t like this at first. All of my handspun projects thus far have this natural striping. It can be prevented with different techniques but as time has gone on, I can see that actually, it makes the projects more interesting. This is an example wherein it works really well. The contrast of the reverse St st across the back as a perfect design element change that I really like.

The hem was the last thing I had to decide what to do with – and since I started by casting on from the lower right front, I had to decide before I cast on! I decided on a 2×3 garter rib:

RS: Knit

WS: *P2, K3, repeat from * across row

This creates a garter section between the knit columns, rather than a purl section. It’s quite lovely and adds some interest.


Personally, I find my handspun inspires a different type of knitting compared to commercial yarns. The handspun tends to tell me what it wants to be, rather than choosing a pattern and fitting the yarn to go with it. This yarn was so meant to be this vest … but it would have been lovely socks or a warm, washable toque. I absolutely love how this turned out and because I had enough yarn to make this, I’m so glad I was able to play around with the back collar as much as I did – the fit is perfecto!


Where do you find inspiration from in your knits? Do you knit with your handspun?

Happy knitting :)

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  1. I am so impressed that you knit with your on handspun! Now that is art.

    1. Thank you!

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