Elma Family Finished Handmade for Kitty Kitty Knitting Photography

My Christmas Cardigan {handmade for Kitty}


Way back in the summer, before we went travelling, I took Kitty to choose two sets of yarn for two new cardigans.  A summer growth spurt had made most of her existing cardies a bit chilly around the wrist and I thought I’d use all the travelling time to make good inroads on the replacements.  And so she choose a purple and a red; the purple I was to knit for her birthday and the red was “my Christmas cardigan”.

Note to self: don’t promise knitwear if you’re not sure you’re going to be able to make good on it.  In the event my pre-Christmas time was taken up with finishing Elma’s birthday cardigan and the Christmas knitting for all three became crowns.

But even though the yarn was still sat skeined up on my desk, and the Christmas decorations were long put away, Kitty still referred to it as “my Christmas cardigan”.

And so as January threatened to turn into February, and the last of the flurry of baby knitting was wrapped up, I cast on.  And as you might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, Kitty and I chose a very seasonally appropriate pattern, the gorgeous Martinmas Cardigan, named for Martinmas Day…..which is in November!

Space for the Butterflies - Martinmas Cardigan

Ah well, whatever the time of year it is a beautiful pattern.  I knit the size 10-12 on 4.5mm needles because I like the fabric I got at that tension, and it did make it slightly smaller than the original dimensions for a 10-12.  Kitty is five but she wears age eight in commercial clothes, so it’s not the pattern sizing that’s out, I just have a very tall daughter.

The only other change I made to the pattern was that I didn’t slip the first stitch of the button band.  I can see why, if your first stitch tends to be a bit loose, you might want to to ensure a nice firm edge, but I thought it looked crisper without.  That and I kept forgetting so in the end I just went with it.

Space for the Butterflies - Martinmas Cardigan

The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Geranium; the softest and bounciest singles yarn you’ve ever met.  It’s going to pill like crazy I’m sure, but it is so snuggly and warm and cozy it would make cashmere look scratchy.  I think I might want to knit something for me in it, and I know Elma is eyeing it up for her next knit.

Space for the Butterflies - Martinmas Cardigan

When it came to the buttons, it seemed only fair that Kitty should have the final say, having so far chosen both yarn and pattern.  I had some nice simple wooden buttons in the stash but her heart was won as soon as I pulled out a little bag from Paris and the reindeer buttons spilled out onto the table.  Lil Weasel had the most incredible amazing selection of buttons (and yarn, and patterns and everything – if you have to choose one yarn shop to go to in Paris go there); I could quite easily have bought a set of all of them without regret, and that I came away with six each of only half a dozen is testament to some serious exercise of willpower. If we end up travelling past Paris again in the summer I know exactly where I’m headed!

Kitty adores it, and has been wearing it nearly every day since (she just didn’t fancy having her photo taken hence the fence is standing in for her in the pictures).  The colour she chose is fabulous, a very appropriate colour for Martinmas (pictures of St Martin tend to draw him sharing a red cloak), and it all but glows in the sunshine, just what you want to be knitting in the greyest months of the year.

Space for the Butterflies - Martinmas Cardigan

The next knits on the needles (apart from H’s socks) will be for Pip and then it’s Elma’s turn, but here I have a quandary: I really like the Martinmas pattern and I’d happily knit it again for Elma in a different colour, but I’m very aware than in a few years time assuming Kitty doesn’t wear straight through this one, Elma will be the owner of a Geranium red Martinmas Cardigan.  Part of me would love to make matching knits for the girls because I think it looks adorable and I’ve got to get all the matchy matching in while they’re small enough that they think it’s fun, and part of me wonders whether that’s a bit unfair on the little sister who gets everything twice.  But I’m an eldest so I don’t know what it’s like to get matching handmedowns, I can only guess.  So, little sisters of the internet, let me know; when you were small did you mind getting repeat outfits? would you rather have had your own? or if it’s in a different colour does it not matter?

Joining in with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and Frontier Dreams  for Keep Calm Craft On 




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  • Mandycharlie 04/03/2016 at 9:58 am

    Beautiful, just beautiful and such a pretty colour.

    • Carie 07/03/2016 at 10:17 pm

      Thank you lovely 🙂

  • Evelyn 04/03/2016 at 11:44 am

    *swoon* that yarn is gorgeous. Beautiful cardigan, I love the buttons and the lace pattern down the front.

    One thing I’ve found with my kids having hand me downs is that they wear different outfit combinations and make it their own. So one might wear bright tops with dark jeans but the next one will combine bright tops with bright coloured trousers and a sweater.

    If you want to knit the same pattern again then go for it. They’re only small once 😉

    • Carie 07/03/2016 at 10:17 pm

      Oh that’s true – and Elma has a very definite sense of her own style!

  • Kim 04/03/2016 at 1:03 pm

    It is gorgeous, and I love the colour.

    • Carie 07/03/2016 at 10:16 pm

      Isn’t it lovely, it’s just so rich and velvety, you want to stroke it whe you see it!

  • Alina 04/03/2016 at 2:51 pm

    Oh, your knitting is gorgeous! Beautiful pattern, yarn, color and stitch definition – great FO!

    • Carie 07/03/2016 at 10:16 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Jill 04/03/2016 at 5:26 pm

    Very beautiful sweater and such sweet buttons. (From Paris no less!) Love the story about how you planned on knitting it, time really does get away from us, but you followed through.

    • Carie 07/03/2016 at 10:15 pm

      Exactly – we got there in the end!

  • Bex @ The Mummy Adventure 04/03/2016 at 11:40 pm

    What a gorgeous cardigan and those buttons are just perfect! Only 10 months until Christmas so you sound super organised to me!

    • Carie 07/03/2016 at 10:14 pm

      Oh I hope it still fits by then – I’m already wondering whether I ought to put another couple of inches on the sleeves!

  • Cheryl | TimeToCraft 05/03/2016 at 10:07 am

    Love the pattern and colour. Wish I could persuade my daughters to let me knit this for them, but they prefer me to sew from them now a days, so I guess I can’t have everything. Buttons are as cute as …..a button.

    • Carie 07/03/2016 at 10:13 pm

      Well at least they can still appreciate mama-made – I hope my three will always want knitting for, even if it’s just hats!!

  • Jen 05/03/2016 at 11:42 pm

    If only my girls were small again, I would love this cardigan for both of them. So lovely and the buttons are perfect!

    • Carie 07/03/2016 at 10:08 pm

      I know, I’m going to have to do a button detour in the summer!

  • Jennie 06/03/2016 at 4:22 pm

    Seeing this sweater makes me want to learn how to knit, and I know that’s overly ambitious. But your work is absolutely stunning. You’ve got a lucky girl.

    As for hand-me-downs, can’t help you. I’ve only got brothers, so I never got things second-hand from them. Now from older girls and church, yes. But then I thought it was cool. Good luck with this one!

    • Carie 07/03/2016 at 9:56 pm

      I think hand me downs from outside the family can be cool – I had cousin hand me downs and they seemed very new and exciting – when you’ve seen it being worn every day for a year or so perhaps the novelty wears off!! And you could totally learn to knit – I firmly believe if you can read you can knit!

  • Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts 07/03/2016 at 3:39 am

    My goodness, that’s a gorgeous cardigan! I love the front lace and the buttons. I have seven sisters, so I did get hand-me-downs. I was fine with them since I always hoped that I’d look as good in the items as my older sister. (I didn’t.) I’d let her choose the color and pattern so the cardigan can be hers alone.

    • Carie 07/03/2016 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you, and thank you for the input; I think she’d like the pattern given the option and both girls love the treat of going with Mama to choose the yarn for their next cardie. I’m trying to steer Kitty towards colours that suit both of them too, fortunately they both look good in purple and red!

  • zauberflink 08/03/2016 at 10:58 am

    Totally adorable! It makes me want to knit this pattern!

  • Chrisknits 08/03/2016 at 2:49 pm

    I wasn’t able to wear my sister’s hand me downs due to size, but with my own daughters the youngest hated it. However I think it was her personality that made it a problem, not the fact it was hand me downs. She had a much different style than the eldest. The cardigan is lovely, I would think your younger would love to wear it no matter.

  • Gwendolyn 08/03/2016 at 7:41 pm

    Very beautiful. Your knitting is so pretty. I think the buttons are PERFECT for the sweater. Your daughter has a great eye for detail.

  • Sally 31/03/2016 at 9:13 pm

    Beautiful, what an amazing colour, and absolutely perfect buttons.