A cardigan made from pure Denim

Come again?

Yes, you read that right. I knitted a cardigan out of yarn made from recycled denim: ergo, I’ve got a denim cardigan. Recycled yarns have been around a while, of course, but I’ve never been attracted to what was on offer, partly because I didn’t like the colours. And then this yarn caught my eye:

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 12.12.16

I preferred the darker shade (it could have been darker still for my taste) and went ahead and ordered it. It comes in a double knit weight (knitting needles 4.5-5mm) and feels exactly like the cotton I used to use to make pot holders from: quite tough. The yardage is ok, although I did end up using quite a lot of yarn on my project, which made the cardi quite heavy: like a proper denim jacket. One word of warning: the yarn bleeds quite a bit (meaning blue streaked hands as you’re knitting) and may shrink in the wash.

The pattern I went for was Kate Davies’s wonderful Shepherd Hoody. If I’m honest, the cardi probably wasn’t designed for cotton. Wool is stretchier, and I did nearly break by fingers on the big cable pattern bits. But it kinda worked, as you shall see…

First of all, and unusually for me, I followed the recommendation in the pattern and made a swatch. Because of the pattern, the measurements are tricky with this garment, but after a bit of adjusting, things worked out.

As seemingly usual for Kate Davies designs, there are no seams in this garment. You knit it in long rows, knit the two fronts and the back separately, join the shoulders, add the hood and then insert sleeves by picking up stitches rather than knitting the sleeves separately and sewing them on. While the garment ends up getting bulkier and bulkier as you turn your rows, I do prefer the seamless look, particularly with a striking cable pattern like this. You get some pretty long rows, mind!


Here’s me starting out and about 1/3 of the way up. As you can see, the row for the buttons is already included. Once you get into the swing of the cable pattern, it really is a breeze to knit.

And here’s me trying the jacket on after having begun and finished the first sleeve. The fit is snug, but not too snug, and will probably end up slightly larger after blocking.

And here is the finished product:

I’ll say a bit more about how I made the buttons in another post – it’s really easy to make your own buttons from polymer clay, and fun, too!

Now, my least favourite task awaits – weaving in about 100 loose bits of yarn from when I changed one ball of cotton for another. The horror! Coincidentally, we’re just in the middle of a veritable heatwave, and so I’ll postpone this thankless task for a while longer. Then I’ll need to wash my new cardi carefully to allow it to shed any excess colouring while hopefully preventing it from shrinking too much. And I need to block it to prevent the moss stitch cuffs from flaring too much. I can’t wait to wear it – once it’s a bit cooler…


About alycevr

Academic, translator & maker of things
This entry was posted in Crafts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A cardigan made from pure Denim

  1. Espirational says:

    Love the cardigan!

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