Life in the Big Wool Lane: Main Squeeze Cardigan

By Kay Gardiner
September 19, 2019
Field Guide No. 12: Big Joy is full of knits that will make everyone happy, especially the knitter.

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48 Comments
  • Kay! I love it! It looks great on you, and now (also being matronly, but without the hutzpah to model) I’ll know what it will look like on me.

    • I was not attracted to the sweater as shown in the Field Guide, but this is gorgeous. It fits you so well and looks like something anyone could live in every day in colder climes. You look mahvelous. The styling, fit and proportion are all spot on. Well done! Very inspirational!

  • I read that the new Rowan Big Wool is also superwash, which would explain some of the growth. I have a back to knit and then connect everything – should be ready next week when the first cold days roll around.

  • oh Kay ! such a lovely knit. you look so fabulous in it !

  • Gorgeous sweater-perfect model. You look like a (handknit) boss!

  • It is absolutely perfect! You styled it so great. My obsession continues.

  • Fantastic!!! The fit is perfect!!! 🙂

  • I absolutely LOVE the look of this sweater. You nailed it Kay. I want to knitvone also. But especially in a warmer knit I like closures. Is the front wide enough on gauge do that? That green is awesome!!

  • Well done! I especially like the shot with Olive and her pooper scooper bags standing in for the shawl pin!

  • Words cannot express how much I love this!! SO good, Kay!!! (Big stitches don’t mess around. They get the job done. Yesssss.) This looks so fantastic on you standing out there with your belt and tee in Central Park. Such a good look! Thank you so much for knitting this and I hope it makes a cozy addition to your wardrobe. Love love love, all the love.

  • Not glum at all! Beautiful and so attractive on you!

  • Love it! Picked up No. 12 last weekend and have some perfect hand-spun set aside for it.

  • Never has Glum looked so glam. Love this!!!!!

  • Looks so great on you! and Olive clearly approves, although she might refrain from mentioning it.❤️

  • That first photo is one of the best pictures of you I’ve ever seen, Kay! Terrific sweater, and just my style. But I have to be the cranky “get off my lawn!” old lady here and ask: “what is it with the distressed jeans?” (Katie Holmes, not you.) I see these young-ish women wearing jeans with holes in the knees and thighs, which they probably paid a lot extra for, and I think “That’s just plain stupid.” I think it’s a modern version of The Emperor’s New Clothes, where no one is willing to say how stupid they look walking around with holes in their clothes. Well, I’ll be the little boy this time and say it out loud: THAT’S A STUPID LOOK!

    • While I won’t weigh in on the “ripped jeans affair”, I do have an amusing story. One of the women in my knitting group was sitting in a cafe wearing her very-distressed jeans, working away on her latest project when an elderly man approached her and said “I see you’re a knitter – don’t you think you’d do better to invest your time in mending your clothes?”

      And lovely, lovely sweater, Kay – it looks great on you.

    • I love all the young-people fashions including the distressed jeans, but my jeans always distress in the wrong spots.

    • I totally agree with you……it is a very stupid look.

    • Distressed jeans were big in the 1960s, the 1990s . . . let’s just say that it isn’t a startlingly new look to me.

    • Distressed jeans and leggings worn as pants. No, no, NO!!!
      (But your cardigan looks fantastic. I am about 2/3 of the way through mine, and you have given me the inspiration to push for the finish line.) Thank you! And thanks Jen for the design and the helpful tutorials.

  • I love your look! You did such a great job on your sweater, and thank you for mentioning the time involved in knitting it, as that is a key factor here for me. I’m only 5’4″, so I wonder if I’d look dwarfed in a long sweater like that? Your thoughts??? I do love those pockets…..can never have too many of those, can we? I also love your Belinda Wrap. You have such a thoughtful friend in Mrs. Ann Shayne! All in all a very good look……..and I can’t wait to see the sweater with a coordinating bra or bralette!

    • Hi Judy!

      I’m 5’5″ and short-waisted, like really short-waisted, so while I was knitting the 4th size, I knit the length only to the smallest size, and for me the length is a plus. I am of the school that a sweater/jacket has to either be short enough that it doesn’t reach my derriere in the back, or it extends well below it. TMI! Real talk here on MDK! Bisecting the hindquarters is not a good look for me.

      • I never thought about knitting my size but using the length row end for my shorter frame..
        Thanks for the tip…the sweater looks fabulous on you!

      • Wow. I would never guess you were short-waisted Kay. You must have some real tricks up your sleeve. My fashion issue also. The only thing keeping me from cover model status. But obviously not a problem for you. You look fab in that outfit and you wear that length well. Looking forward to Field Guide No. 12 when we finally alight some place.

  • You look mah-valous!!

  • I just love this sweater! It looks so comfortable and stylish on you. I have a huge stash of Big Wool and this is next on my list. Can you share how much ease you recommend? I am guessing that about 2.25″ is right. Your smallest size is 37″ bust and the smallest finished measurement is 39.25. But I want to be sure. I am a bit busty (“a bit” may be an understatement!) and I am sensitive about the right fit there. Thanks!

    • Mine has only an inch (approximately) at the bust and a lot more ease at the waist. Which is nice because I generally don’t think of myself as having a waist lol. It looks like it doesn’t want to close at the bust but it would if I had a clasp/pin. I never button anything except my winter coat, so it suits me perfectly.

      • Thanks! I like the look on you, so I will go with just a bit of ease. Casting on this week!

  • You look great in this sweater. You’ve hooked me. I must knit one.

  • The sweater looks great! Such a chic accessory for Olive — all the other models will be jealous of her when she drags you along to her next fashion shoot!

  • I’m knitting the largest size carrying three worsted strands (big time yarn diet and the yarn’s so old I can’t remember buying it) so knitting is going slower but it’s a very meditative stitch and will be so cozy when the snow flies or even when the leaves fall. I love “big yarn, big needles” projects. Thanks, Kay and Ann and Jen!

  • Kay, this sweater, picture and you are gorgeous! Despite the fact that it is still 100+ degrees here, you are making me want the big, cozy cardigan!

  • I love cardigans but wasn’t sure if I wanted this one until now. The pattern photos are lovely, but there is nothing like seeing an entire garment modeled full-length on a real person. A winner!

  • Just plain scrumptious! Love this sweater. You did a fantastic job!

  • Dear Kay, your sense of humor always cheers me up at the core. Do you think, that laughing while and after reading them counts as exercise ?!? Anyhoo, I am surprised you have not matched your bra and cardigans in the past…

  • This looks fabulous! Well done.

  • The cardigan looks fabulous on you! I am working on a cardigan for my granddaughter with DK yarn and 8 buttonholes. The design of your cardigan seems so very smart right now!! I bet she never buttons all the buttons, either. We are watching Country Music at our house. Thanks for the recommend. And thanks so much for the shout out!

  • Okay. The sweater looks GREAT . . . but I am just dying here over the Katie Holmes styling tips! WHO KNEW???? (I have got to go do some bra shopping . . . STAT.)

  • Beautiful…you and the sweater! And 25 hours for a sweater? Just wow. I anticipated your “big knitting” theme last spring when I got Joji Locatelli’s pattern and yarn for a similar Superbulky cardigan. (OK, “similar” except that her pattern is seamless, top, down and mostly stockinette!) It took me a while to decide on yarn, so it was well into spring before I was ready to start, and then I didn’t, as it was so late in the season. Thank you for giving me inspiration to start/pick it up again. I am so ready for fall and winter knitting, but am stuck on my own “Halloween” knitting, which always delays my other fall knitting!

  • It’s looking good, Kay! Love it. Finished so soon, too! I recognized right away the Belinda wrap that Ann had knit for you. Great choice in walking companions, BTW.

  • Quick question-any yarns you could recommend as alternatives to the Rowan Big Wools? Just wondering if I can substitute stuff in my stash like Malabrigo Rasta

  • I have the opposite problem with gauge. I’m a tight knitter and I was not going up to a size 15 needle! So, have to do some math :p

  • Great sweater. Looks fabulous on you!

  • Sorry for doing this here but I need to contact someone about an order. Couldn’t find a contact form. Love your cardi. Thanks, Meredith

  • So this sweater cost around $200 to make then, based on the price of the yarn. For us budget conscious people, is there a comparable yarn that wouldn’t bust the budget? I really want to make this sweater but cannot afford the high price tag of this yarn.
    Thanks!

  • Great styling!

  • Kay……………I just finished my big wool sweater project and all I have left to do is the front and pockets. Actually just took it off the needle five minutes ago. Yes I too was afraid it would be too small as I knitted it. When finished with the pockets , etc., should I wash it and block it to the size I want? Or, should I just block it and hope it fits better and does not seem too small. Let me know what you think. I knitted biscotti and it is gorgeous.
    Mary Ellen

  • i want to knit this sweater! and i want to use this lovely alpaca wool blend from Valley Yarns, called Becket. One reason is that I’m from western MA and am a sucker for the sweet hill town names for their yarns. I know, ridiculous. The yarn is classified as bulky/heavy worsted. I knitted a throw with it doubled for a wedding gift on size 17 needles and it turned out great. my problem is my stitch gauge for the main squeeze cardi is off with the # 13 needles (12 instead of 10 to 4″), and I think the fabric will be flimsy if I go up to a 15. should i add a strand of lace yarn to bulk it up a bit, or what? i’m currently blocking my swatch to see what happens but i’m not optimistic. the stupid row gauge is perfect……