November 7, 2013


I’ve wanted to knit Kaari for years. It started when I saw versions from Wiksten (here and here) and Garment House (here and here). It seemed like the perfect knit – a simple raglan sleeve sweater with so-odd-they’re-cool pockets.



shoes: seychelles scoundrel // pants: jcrew pixie pant // earrings: nc solstice

I didn’t do a gauge swatch, which is one of the worst things you can do as a knitter, and ended up with a sweater that could fit my husband. The pieces blocked into huge, drapey sections of fabric that I was not expecting. I ended up laying the sweater on my blocking board and smooshing it into the correct measurements. As it dried, it shrank a bit and the sweater was salvaged. I’m worried about future washings.

The original neckline wasn’t quite what I wanted and, despite picking up more, I was worried about running out of yarn again. I did a simple 2×2 rib then bound off loosely when I thought it looked right. Usually high necklines irritate me, but the yarn is so soft that I hardly notice it.

I’ve been a nervous wreck about sewing on those pockets from the moment I first saw Kaari. How on earth was I supposed to sew a selvedge edge to the completed front?! I referred to my favorite reference book, The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques, for instructions. If you knit at all I would highly recommend that you have this thing laying around. It’s small and spiral bound and perfect. I have to refer to it every time I finish socks because I can NEVER remember the kitchener stitch. Anyhoo, I looked up how to seam the pockets and it was so easy! No big deal.

pattern: Kaari by Norah Gaughan
yarn: Karabella Aurora 8 in colorway 201
mods: changed the neckline

So, I finally have a Kaari and I’m really, really happy with it. It fits well, it’s neutral and it’s soft. YAY!


In other news, I was just given a huge hide of black cow leather. GIVEN. My poor industrial hasn’t been turned on in months and I desperately need a black bag, so I’m pretty excited about this incredibly gracious gift. Have you seen any awesome bag patterns? I’d like something slouchy and simple, but lined so I can add interior pockets.


  • Melizza

    I wouldn’t have guessed you encountered a few hiccups. The sweater is gorgeous and looks great on.

  • Natasha Jane

    This sweater is incredibly wonderful! Yet another project that makes me want to learn how to knit.

  • Sara

    This is so fantastic! I have yet to knit any type of sweater since I’m a very slow knitter, but now I’m certainly tempted. I love the neckline mod you did! And those pockets are fantastic.

    • stephanie

      SARA! I was worried that you disappeared forever. Well hello. I’m glad you’re still out there somewhere.

      I think I’m a slow knitter too. Projects take me forever. Definitely give one a try someday!

  • Jen

    Dude!!! So worth the hassle finishing this sucker up, it looks awesome! I still can’t believe you found that ball of yarn…destiny. Hahahaha! Also MAJOR props on the shoot, you so bold 😉 Now that we’ve both finished and posted our ex-in progress knits you know what that means….SCARY!!!!

    • stephanie

      THANKS!! Oh I know. That was a crazy find. I totally lucked out. Ha ahahahah!!! Oh man, I can’t believe I did it. I feel so empowered now. It wasn’t even a big deal. AAAAAHHHHHHH! I’m pretty much a nervous wreck.

  • Sarah

    Lovely jumper (or sweater, ha!)! What about the Birdie Sling pattern, I think it’s an Amy Butler pattern, but would look gorgeous in leather!

  • Andrea

    You must be so pleased with yourself for having finished this beauty! It really looks great on you and the fact that it is soft will probably mean that you reach for it lots.

    And how awesome about the hide? No patterns come to mind, but if I were you I would go window shopping for something similar to get ideas and then just whip up your own thing. What you are describing sounds like a simple carry all type bag but with some fun details so not hard to replicate, right?

    • stephanie

      I’m thrilled to have it completed! It’s been so long in the making. I actually finished it a week or so ago and have worn it almost daily at one point or another.

      I KNOW! I’ve been dying for some leather, but haven’t been able to justify buying any. That’s a really good idea! You’re right – I don’t want anything too complicated, so I should be able to knock something off!

  • sallie

    This sweater is so dreamy!! The yarn looks SO soft and snuggly, and I love the interesting pockets! And I’m pretty jealous of your gifted hide… I need to find some friends that will give ME black cow hides… that will be the criteria for all new friends from here on out! Haha!

  • Ginger

    Wow! This looks great! I love it! It really fits well– I’m surprised to hear it was too big. Isn’t wool the best? I love that you can kinda manhandle it until it’s the right size.

    • stephanie

      Wool is the best! Ha ha, I totally manhandled it. Like, I was poking and squishing wet wool for hours. Such a pain in the ass. It worked out though! I think all of the seams will help it to retain it’s shape. Or I’ll just never wash it. Gross.

  • Sara

    ahh, yes. aurora 8. it stretches like mad. it’s possible in a future washing that you could try to dry it in the dryer for a little while. it’s a superwash wool right?

    your sweater looks great on you. i just saw at grainline that you’re doing the stonecutter sweater. that one is so gorgeous. i want one too!

    • stephanie

      I had no idea! And yes, I think you’re right about it being superwash, but it doesn’t say that anywhere… which is weird. I’ll dry it for sure. YES! Knit one with us. I just started the cables and have already screwed up. Ha ha. My chart reading skills are a bit rusty.

  • Amanda

    The sweater turned out great!! It is a lovely style and colour on you and the pockets turned out great!! Softness is a huge bonus… I recently finished my first sweater and I don’t wear it cause it’s kind of picky-itchy without another shirt underneath.

    Lucky you getting free leather!! If you don’t already have the book “Carry Me” – it’s definitely worth getting; it’s a Japanese pattern book for bags and it’s got some very good patterns that will at the very least, give you some great inspiration! 🙂

    • stephanie

      Thank-you! Ugh, itchy sweaters kind of bum me out. I get hot easily, so if I’m hot AND itchy it’s not going to be worn. Aurora 8 became SO super soft. Thank goodness.

      Oooh, I’m going to look it up! That sounds great. Thanks so much for letting me know.

  • Amy

    One of these days I’ll learn how to knit. Knowing that even people like you need to look up knitting tricks every now and then does add to the intimidation though. I guess the same is true for sewing – just because you know how to sew most things doesn’t mean you know how to sew all things. Then I’ll be able to understand things like blocking and swatting and such. I’m learning from all of the blog posts I read about knitting, but it’s still something I need to experience to really get it. Anyway, as always, you look lovely in your new make. Bravo!

    • stephanie

      You should Amy! Oh my goodness, don’t let that stop you. The sewing equivalent of me looking up a kitchener would be googling how to attach a hook and eye. It’s really simple, just a specific technique that I can never remember. I think if you started looking at baby patterns on Ravelry you’d get on the bandwagon. I’m dying to make my upcoming nephew a few things. Thanks for the kind words!

  • emily marie

    Yep, just added that book to the Amazon wishlist. Always down for a knitting book that is actually useful! This looks sooo cozy and wearable, even if it does stretch out a bit. Can’t wait to see the bag, you lucky duck.

    • stephanie

      It’s seriously my go-to knitting reference book. It’s really fantastic. Ha ha, I can’t wait to see it either! I’ve just been staring at the leather all weekend.

  • Sally

    This sweater is totally awesome – it looks so cozy and soft, and the pockets are super cool!

    Maybe check out the Design/Make Leather Handbag class on craftsy? That is so awesome that someone GAVE you that leather! Can’t wait to see what it turns into 🙂

  • nettie

    Every, every, EVERYTHING about this post is perfection!! I LOOOOOVE this outfit!! Your sweater kicks ass!!!

    And THANK YOU for posting pants and boot deets! I have those kicks on my wishlist and now I know with even more certainty that I must make some ponte pants so I can wear more stretch to work!! ;o)

    • stephanie

      Awwwh, thanks Nettie!! Ok, those shoes are amazing. I’ve been wearing them nonstop. HIGHLY recommend. I lucked out and snagged them at Piperlime when they were having a 25% off sale. Ugh. Those pants. They are the BEST and so overpriced and I kind of hate J.Crew. I’m definitely planning on knocking them off. I bought the Papercut Patterns leggings because I thought the stylelines would be rad in ponte. I want to add an exposed zipper too. Make some for sure! I wear mine constantly.

  • Kristina

    Wow, it’s GORGEOUS!! The yarn is such a great color and looks really cozy. You are inspiring me to finally tackle a sweater this winter.

  • Carolyn

    Wow, your sweater is super cool, especially those awesome pockets! I wouldn’t have believed it was too big at first, the blocking worked a treat. It looks perfectly slouchy and cosy. I love the colour too, chic and modern 🙂

  • Kim

    Wow it looks super good! I like that the fit is a bit looser. Don’t you hate it when a sweater is way too big? With sewing it is easy to take in at least.. The sweater I knitted for my sister was too big as well, but blockimg it didn’t really help.. Luckily she likes baggy things..

    • stephanie

      Thank-you! Yes, there’s a fine line. I like loose, but not crazy baggy. Ha ha, that’s the bad part about knitting. I mean, you could sew a bigger allowance, but it could mess up the pattern and/or create bulky seams. Very lucky!

  • Eva

    This is so great! Casual and comfy yet very put together. Also what a soldier for seeing this through to the end!

    I’ve had an experience like yours where my newly knitted cardigan grew to gigantic proportions after washing — since this yarn came on the cone still oiled (from Colourmart) it could use a bit of fluffing up anyway, so I put the cardi in the dryer, checking every 2 minutes of course, and it worked really well. I know that’s scary though!

    • stephanie

      Ha ha, thank-you! Sara from Knotty Gnome mentioned that Aurora 8 is superwash, so if that’s the case I’m really lucky. I’m going to put it in the dryer next time, but I’ll check it frequently like you’re suggesting.

  • Amy

    Gorgeous gorgeous color! I like how the pockets do a draped scallopy thing. (Of course I went straight to the awesome boots–I just bought another brand version of that very same style, buckles, heel, everything… I can’t take them off!)

    • stephanie

      Thank-you! I am SO proud of myself for picking a neutral. That’s primarily what I wear, but I buy insane yarn (and fabric). I really like the color, too.

      YES! I am loving that style right now. I feel slightly more put together with those on.

  • Alex

    Such a great colour for you and I love the way you have styled it!. I don’t know if it is the right thing for your gifted leather but I see that Colette has just released an oh so cool bag pattern.

  • Michelle

    Oh, Stephanie, it’s fantastic! Kaari is one of those knits all of us have on our list, but you actually finished it! The pockets! I have found that superwash grows a lot, especially in width. I would either knit it smaller than normal, if blocking, or knit it to fit and throw it in the dryer so it snaps back into place. I haven’t quite gotten comfortable with superwash wool.

  • brit

    excuse me while i pick up my jaw off of the floor. i can’t believe you knit that. i mean, i can, but wut?!

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