New Design: The Aneeta cardigan

Natalie Warner Aneeta cardigan

Introducing another new design from the lockdown bottleneck: the Aneeta cardigan, knitted in The Fibre Company Luma!  You can find this design in the latest issue of Knitting magazine, issue 210, which is out now.

I published my first design about seven years ago, and I have always paid attention to how women’s clothes have the potential to make them feel; why we have our favourite wardrobe items and why they work so well.  So when Christine, the magazine editor, sent a brief asking “designers to create a design for themselves – something to show off [their] unique design style and fashion sense, which [they] would enjoy wearing”, I saw it as a chance to test out one of the experiments I’ve had in my head for some time now.

Wrap bodices can be flattering and easy to wear if they fit properly – especially if, like me, you have a bust larger than RTW clothing deems acceptable.  Essentially, this design can incorporate a full bust adjustment (FBA for the initiated) in handknitting form.  I don’t know if it’s been done before, but I thought it deserved a proper go, and that I may as well be the one to attempt it.

In truth, I don’t necessarily see myself designing lots of garments, mainly because nobody needs a lot of clothes if they’re well designed.  What I do hope to do is find ways in which knitting patterns can be adjusted to fit, and the Aneeta cardigan is one of those experiments.

I wanted to find a way of increasing at the bust that didn’t compromise the overall design or feel of a garment.  I knew that I’d need all the help I could get with the yarn, and thankfully I found and was allowed to use The Fibre Company’s Luma.  Luma is a delightful DK weight with a beautiful blend of wool, silk, cotton and linen.  A good protein/cellulose mix like this would provide drape and elasticity where needed, and allow the knitter to make any final tweaks during blocking or steaming.

For the shaping (see photos opposite) I went back to working central double decreases through the rib as I did on Bonnie, but  increases were required at the princess line AND side seam to achieve the bust shaping I wanted.  The axial stitch of the rib decreases also works as the fulcrum for the optional bust increases, which are then decreased en masse when the yoke pattern begins.

Stitch selection for the main body was a lacy rib, with a broken rib for the yoke.  I made sure it was all purl on the WS of the lace (alternate rows of the broken rib are plain knit), because I do believe in resting rows! – and the shaping would probably be enough to concentrate on.  The lace pattern is a Shetland type, has a small stitch repeat multiple and repeats over two rows, so it’s quick to memorise and creates a beautiful fabric besides.

The last thing to do was communicate the shaping instructions in the clearest and concise way possible.  I couldn’t avoid writing explanatory notes, but I tried to make them succinct.  When the rights for this pattern revert to me, I plan to add some more in-depth information (there is only so much space in the magazine) in the re-release – but if you like the look of the Aneeta cardigan, don’t let that stop you from knitting it now, you won’t miss out!  Most of all, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my design experiment: they’d be very welcome, especially if you choose to knit it.

Most of all, I wanted to design something inclusive and flattering for myself and other knitters.  The bust range BEFORE adjustment ranges from 85cm/33.5in to 161cm/63.5in, and you can add up to 20-22cm to the ‘default’ for any given size, which is excellent if you have a full bust and a narrow back.

I have been dreaming of a wrap cardigan for ages, and if you’re in the same boat, I hope you’ll give Aneeta a try.  I think she’s beautiful!

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