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Emily's Stillwater Cardigan

On Replacing an Old Favourite: Emily’s Stillwater Cardigan

May is here and people all across the making community are celebrating their handmade wardrobes, both big and small, as part of Me-Made-May.

This wardrobe challenge was created by Zoe of the So Zo, What do you know? blog nearly 10 years ago and it has now been embraced by thousands of makers as a way of wearing and loving their handmade clothing more.

As enthusiastic knitters, we are joining the conversation this month by sharing some of our favourite pieces from our own handmade wardrobes. First up, we have Emily, who works with our stockists. She will be sharing how a tatty old cardigan led her to knitting the most wearable cardigan in her wardrobe so far. Take it away, Emily!

Sometimes, we choose a knitting project because we fall in love with a design. Sometimes, it’s the yarn we hanker after; it calls to us, asking us to make it into something amazing. Sometimes, it’s because our wardrobe requires a piece to complement our existing clothes.

And every now and again, all of those things come together to make the project of your dreams… So it was with the Stillwater Cardigan by Marie Greene at Olive Knits.

I am so lucky to work with such beautiful yarns at The Fibre Co. I could never choose a favourite, but there are certain colours in certain blends that seem to jump off the shadecard as I talk to retailers about their own options and choices. Buttermere in our worsted weight yarn, Cumbria, was one of those.

Searching for the Perfect Mustard Cardigan

Every time I had the shadecard in front of me, I would hover over this sumptuous mustard yellow, knowing that I must find the right project for it.

I wanted it to be a cardigan, as I had recently said goodbye to a very old, very tatty, shop-bought mustard cardigan. I could no longer wear it in public, due to the holes in the cuffs! After I spent two seasons searching all over for a replacement, it occurred to me that I could make the thing my wardrobe was crying out for.

Over the last year, I have cast a critical eye over my wardrobe. I would never describe it as a capsule wardrobe, but I have learnt what I like. I understand the colours that suit me and the clothes that I am comfortable in.

I have some pieces, often not expensive, that I wear over and over for years until they fall apart. I now want to replace those with excellent quality, ethical alternatives.

Whenever I go shopping, I consider whether this is something I will wear year after year or if I will tire of it after one season. I want my purchases to last, not only physically but in my fashion tastes too. I try to work out what items fill the gaps in my wardrobe and look for those, rather than buying or making indiscriminately.As knitters, we can’t really do fast fashion – or at least I can’t. Limited time and slow fingers mean that large projects, like a sweater, take a while. I knew that a cardigan in Buttermere would become a wardrobe staple, so it was worth the time investment.

Stillwater: A Cardigan Pattern by Marie Green

As soon as I saw Stillwater, I knew it was the one for me. I could imagine myself wearing it immediately.

It’s a top-down, all-in-one construction, which I love. I am not a fan of seaming and being quite short, I love that I can adjust the length, without the need for maths! It was a joy to knit, with lots of soothing, Netflix-watching stockinette. It also featured a simple faux cable pattern down the sides to keep it interesting.

As soon as it came off the needles, it went straight onto the blocking board and within a couple of days, I was wearing it.

My prediction was right: it has become an essential wardrobe staple. I have worn it at least twice a week since I finished it! In fact, I am almost sad that our UK weather is finally warming up and it will soon be time to pack it away until Autumn.

The yarn makes it very cosy. As someone who works from home, you will often find me with two sweaters on in the cold months, but Cumbria keeps me toasty warm at my desk.

Planning Ahead

I loved the process of analysing my wardrobe to help me decide on my next knitting project. As a result, my next cast on is the Boxy Sweater from our Foundations collection.

I’m using Canopy Fingering in a charcoal grey. The fine yarn makes this a much slower knit for me, but I know that it’s going to be such a wearable piece when it is finally finished.

My next challenge is to face my fear of the sewing machine so that I can finally make a cotton tee that actually fits!

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