I’m a coziness lover, forever drawn to any sweater that provides the singular comfort of a blanket or bathrobe, in a style fit for everyday wear. When our first sample of the Ivon Cardigan arrived at BT late last summer, I tried it on and immediately experienced that stealthy robe-ness that I crave, particularly when Fall and Winter are looming large on the horizon.
About a month later, another exciting arrival made its way to our doorstep — the very first skeins of Ranch 02: Forbes, fresh from the dye house! This yarn is particularly near and dear to my heart, and I was hoping to commemorate it in my closet in some way. When I pulled out those first skeins of the colorway Tobacco, images of a big cozy Ivon cardigan flashed into view and took up residence in my head. A week later, I cast on.
Aside from my special attachment to the yarn itself, the knitting holds additional meaning for me, largely done on a late-September adventure in Copenhagen and Berlin. Ivon and I kept close company for an inspiring 2-week period full of new experiences and memories that were knit right into the garment like a time capsule.
The resulting sweater has been one I’ve lived in this Fall and Winter, at work and at rest. Comfortable and easy, with a warm toffee glow... sign me up!
I’ve never been a particularly “well-behaved” knitter when it comes to following knitting patterns. I love exploring new ways of doing things, and almost always find myself customizing and modifying at least a few pattern elements to satisfy my curiosities and to make something uniquely mine. I incorporated a handful of mods on my Ivon — some planned and some improvised on the fly (literally)! Below, I’ve shared a few notes about some of the modifications I made as I worked through this fun pattern.
I subbed Ranch 02: Forbes for the Shelter used in the pattern. Forbes is slightly heavier in weight, and has three plies to Shelter’s two. Although the two yarns can be worked at interchangeable gauges (the pattern calls for 5 stitches-per-inch), I found myself wanting a fabric that felt less dense than Ranch 02 did at this gauge. After knitting a few swatches to assess my options, I gravitated towards the fabric at 4.25 stitches per inch (using a 5.5mm/US9 needle), a not insignificant gauge change! I accounted for this difference by finding the size that had my target finished dimensions (the 4th Size: 26½” Back Width) then worked from the pattern instructions for two sizes smaller than that (the 2nd Size). Knitting the second size resulted in a garment that was a very close match to the finished measurements of the 4th size.
Back Neck Darts
Back Neck Darts are a simple fit modification that I sometimes incorporate into my personal knitting projects, particularly on a garment that has a shawl- or stand-up collar that you want to gently hug the back of your neck when worn.
The goal was to decrease a small amount of fabric out from just below the bound-off portion of the back neck. I placed two darts, each about 2” out from center back neck, then decreased 3-stitches each (6 stitches total) over the final 2” of fabric, just before working the back-neck bind off.
Decreasing that small amount of stitches causes the collar to fit a bit more snugly on my neck when the garment is worn.
The most obvious mod I worked in my cardigan was subbing 1x1 rib for the 2x2 ribbing on hem and cuffs. I also made an on-the-fly decision to omit the tulip-shaping detail at the underside of the cuff (I cast on for each sleeve using the stitch counts at the end of the Joining Round on page 14).
I also experimented with the placement of the sleeve increases, shifting them from their traditional place at the underarm out to the public-facing side of the sleeve. Since this sleeve has very subtle shaping, these mods aren’t super obvious until you look a little closer at the fabric.
I experimented with a slightly weightier facing along the inside of the fronts by subbing a 1x1 half-twisted rib there (the knit stitches have been worked through-the-back-loops on every RS row), rather than working in reverse stockinette. I liked the idea of adding just a touch of heft to the facing, which seemed to suit the heavier-weight fabric that Ranch 02: Forbes created.
I did some hand sewing on the inside to tack down the facing and keep it in a fixed position. This wasn’t absolutely necessary, as the band laid flat and folded back on itself nicely after blocking without additional help, but I love a good finishing detail, so busted out the needle and thread!
Size & Ease
My finished garment is equivalent to the fourth size in the pattern, with a finished chest/bust measurement of 53”. This translates to +13” of wearing ease on my body. This sweater is roomy, swingy and ohhhh so comfortable. While this is my personal “ease sweet spot” for a cardigan like this — which I usually wear over 2 or 3 other layers — it can easily be worn and styled with less ease (or more!) than I’ve chosen.
Pattern: Ivon Coat
Yarn: Ranch 02: Forbes in color “Tobacco”
My finished sweater used about 15½ skeins of yarn, plus one more for my swatches and fabric tests. By weight, my sweater took 1600 yards, about 80 less than the same size calls for in the pattern, using Shelter.