Baby its cold outside – merino waterfall jumper


Am I obsessed with the weather? Hang on, don’t answer – I can read minds! Yes, its 36℃ here in sunny Sydney, but not that long ago I was considering how I would keep myself toastie in Old Blightie. So the night before departure I rustled up a very snuggly cardigan with what one might describe as a waterfall front? This shape works so well for travel I find. Wear it open when the weather is sunny and warm, toss one front over the shoulder for demi warm, and then go the full Canadian over both shoulders when your eyelashes are snapping off! Bonus, this shape obscures bloated airline belly – (a mild form of altitude sickness you know) and can be dressed up or down though I rarely manage the former.


3 times random strangers asked where I’d bought this cardi – gold stamp of approval right there! My Mummy who was travelling with me proudly told anyone who’d listen “oh, she made it herself, you can’t buy this in a shop”. Only just recovered from the embarrassment! Thanks for the photos Mum x

demi open
demi open

I have a stretch block with darts – I loathe the darts. Just cannot bring myself to insert darts into a T shirt, so I contacted Judy Jackson of Craftsy’s Patternmaking for knits: Essential Slopers and asked the question.

“How do I eradicate the dreaded dart Judy?”.

JJ is a really approachable teacher with the most encouraging tone (yep, they’re still not paying me for this free advertising – hellooooo Craftsy).

Judy promptly replied “Lesley you half wit (JJ would never say that BTW, she’s a doll), just use the back as the front so you’ll be working with 2 backs.” “Oh derrrr, thanks JJ!”

The draft worked beautifully, partly because the front is totally unfitted of course but maybe I should make up a straight T-shirt and test it? I purposely left the sleeves longer, being a sheila that often covers her hands with sleeve ends – teen angsty style I call it. But I’ve decided they have to be shortened, just a bit too daggy though too long sleeves might work in a finer knit.

Full Canadian
Full Canadian and front teeth – see no spinach!

My intention was to introduce a powder blue merino wool binding, but I chickened out as I often do with colour and bound the edges in a dark grey –  cos, tone on tone is never wrong – is it?!

The very next day Jen at Grainline Studio posted a tutorial for almost the same garment, so, because I am lazy and Jen is a Master tutorialist, I present to you Jen’s Lark cardigan hack. To say that I’m astonished that we both came up with this concurrently no doubt speaks to the ubiquity of waterfall front cardis rather than any kind of genius on my part. One thing Jen has affirmed for me, the side seam does indeed require less curve than would normally be used for T shirts. Luckily I’d tested the general idea in a black wool funnel neck snaffled by Princess.

Photos taken at the Manor House (I think thats what it was) behind Blarney Castle, Ireland, where I did indeed invite peril into my life by kissing the  herpes laden Blarney stone. The myth is that it gives you “the gift of the gab”, but I reckon its the side order of communicable diseases that really adds excitement! This is a beautiful castle to visit, if not a little over touristy.

Now, onto the 21st speech for this weekend’s party, watch out #1 son, Mummy’s coming to getcha!!

Goodbye, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen etc.
Goodbye, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen etc.





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  1. This is beautiful on you and I like the dark binding a lot. I always see these types of tops and think they wouldn’t look good on me because of my wimpy shoulders and straight hips, etc., but that’s probably not true. This seems the perfect garment for travel – like a blanket and sweater all in one! Tell me more about the fabric though and how the binding was finished. 🙂 This seems a lot easier than knitting the whole thing…

    Very funny about the t-shirt. I mean, when we knit we often use backs and front the same, although the 1930s sweater I knitted last year suggested knitting the front one inch longer to the armscye and then easing that in when seamed, and also knitting the front of the armscye one inch longer than the back’s (to be adjusted depending on overall size of garment, I would think). I have not sewn with knits in years and even then I only sewed DKNY twisty things when I did, so I have no idea how to fit a t-shirt properly. I can’t imagine a darted t-shirt. I took a knitting class in which we did full bust alterations using short rows (essentially changing the shaping around the bust and adding more room), but I think this is more useful for people with very large busts and I wouldn’t so I wouldn’t bother for myself as I don’t like the look that much.

    • I love the short row technique S, but it does seem to draw attention to the chesticles! I’ve used it on that James sweater over the shoulder neck area. This fabric was bought ummm, years ago! Its one of those things that I just couldn’t bring myself to cut. I also had some softer black which I used for the funnel neck sweater, it was scrumptious. Perhaps one of the online retailers have sweater knit merino jersey? We’re lucky enough to have The Fabric Store which source wools from NZ manufacturers. Maybe try them. they have a shop in LA now. I didn’t use the overlocker – too much bulk in the stitch. The seam is softer with just a teensy tiny zig zag. Place the stretch binding,(cut from finer jersey) RST, stitch desired distance from the edge – your choice. Then wrap the binding around to the back. While the binding is too wide I used a teensy zig zag to stitch in the ditch on the front, then cut the binding back on the wrong side, carefully! The edges don’t need finishing since jersey doesn’t unravel and the single thickness on the back seam keeps it all nice and pliable. I was impressed with a video I watched demonstrating Chanel attaching bindings by machine and I thought, if its good enough for them… Let me know if thats clear as mud!!

  2. Great Job!!
    I really Like the bias all-over the Jumper! it gives a very refined touch

  3. It’s a beautiful fabric and the colour seems to suit your colouring and that of the licheny stone behind you (which is in no way similar to your colouring!). But three compliments from strangers: either this is clearly a raging success or the Irish can’t help chatting to strangers. Or both 🙂

    Like Stephanie, I’m tempted by this style but worry that it might not suit me. Which is why I’ve borrowed the Tessuti Sydney Jacket pattern but haven’t made it!! I love the idea of wrapping up in woolly layers and at this time of year (what I’m about to say will not make you happy in the Sydney heat!) I gravitate to the huge, discarded fleeces of the other half. No style whatsoever, just cosy. I don’t even want to answer the door dressed like that! So yes, a waterfall label wrap is called for.

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