Community Cardi

Young woman standing in front of a mirror wearing blue pants and a pink tank top under a grey cardigan.

It’s been a long time since I’ve made anything for myself in the realm of a garment. The reason for this has been twofold: 1) I didn’t want to make something that wouldn’t fit right and 2) I wanted to give myself the space to be patient with my ever-changing body.

Pregnancy is a crazy experience, the closest I can get to describing how you see yourself through the process would be to equate it to walking through a room filled with funhouse mirrors. Even as you accept what’s happening, you’re onto the next mirror which also brings dramatic changes. Then, just when you think it’s all over, you’re out the other side and you don’t really remember what the original mirror actually looked like. Sure, you can compare yourself to photos of what you used to look like, but you still have to come to terms with what you look like now — and even that continues to dramatically change over the next several weeks. I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans by week 3, but my body still looked weird to me. They say 9 months in 9 months out, but as someone who has struggled with body dysmorphia all my life, I’m not sure exactly how long it will be until I feel as though I’ve truly stepped out of the funhouse.

At first, I thought my first knit sweater would be Puntilla due to its shapelessness. The hypothesis was that the forgiving design would give me time to adjust to my body and that it would fit as my body changes over the years. Then I rediscovered In Stillness and started daydreaming about how elegant it would look paired with one of my work outfits.

As this post is not called “Puntilla” or “In Stillness”, it’s safe to assume that those sweaters are still on my knit list. I have yarn set aside for both: Puntilla will be worked up in two colors of Wonderland Yarns and In Stillness will be worked up in Blue Sky Fibers. In fact, I was debating which sweater to cast on first (the yarn came in at the same time) when Alicia Plummer put out a test call for her Community Cardigan.

Community Cardi was inspired by exactly what the name suggests – the knitting community. The short version of the story is that Alicia was going to release a cardigan version of Justin’s Flannel, and discovered her design was too close to another that was recently released. Over the next few weeks, Alicia solicited opinions and feedback from her Instagram followers and the result is this sweater! Community Cardi is exactly the sweater I needed, something to be lived in day in and day out without fear of baby fluid. The pictures screamed knit me in a superwash and wear me every day, it was all I could do not to beg to be included in the test.

Real talk: the stitch pattern is so meditative I was actually bummed when it was over. I’ve already offered to make a matching cardigan for my husband and am thinking of attempting to make one in child size for our daughter. Usually when I work a pattern I need time before my brain can handle knitting it again. Like Justin’s Flannel, I see myself reaching for this pattern again and again. Surely one can have one of every color in their closet?

I did make some modifications to the pattern to ensure its everyday use: I ditched the pockets and buttons. I’m not a huge fan of buttoning my cardigans and didn’t want the (slight) additional bulk that the pockets would add. In hindsight, the pockets would have been fine, but I’m happy with the final sweater!

Young woman standing in front of a mirror wearing jeans and a blue tank top under a grey cardigan.

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