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Announcing the Penny Dreadful Knit-A-Long

Motivated by my love of Penny Dreadful, and a general lust for all of Vanessa Ives’ clothes, I’m starting the #PennyDreadfulKAL for this cardigan, as seen in one of the most romantic episodes, Season Two, Episode Seven’s “Little Scorpion.”


She also wears this sweater in the opening scene of Season Two, Episode Nine. Given how many darn sweaters she seems to keep in this cottage, it’s probably her favorite one, since we see it twice! You can read my initial reactions to this sweater over in my Penny Dreadful: Gothic Sweater Chic post.

I’ll be checking in the second Tuesday of every month to let you know my progress, my trials and errors, and hopefully we’ll emerge with a pattern for this fabulous sweater. If you’d like to knit-a-long, use the hashtag #PennyDreadfulKAL on Instagram, comment on my Penny Dreadful Knit-A-Long posts, or you can sign up for my weekly newsletter here. Anyone who uses the hashtag on Instagram, or signs up for my newsletter, or comments, will be emailed a PDF version of the finished pattern once the knit-a-long concludes in May.

#PennyDreadfulKAL: Yarn

I’ve never knit a cardigan without a design before. So I’m looking forward to this new challenge. To start, I decided to buy yarn. Because that’s the most fun.

I browsed KnitPicks, and went with the Swish DK in Deft Heather.

I chose to buy A LOT of it. (At least by my standards.) I bought 1963 yards or 16 skeins! I wanted plenty to swatch with, and I wanted to minimize my yarn stress. Also, I got to buy all the yarn which is great fun. Click images above to check the price of Swish DK!

#PennyDreadfulKAL: Research

I then decided to go all in on my examination of this cardigan. I spent some time on Netflix and gathered this gallery of images with multiple angles of the sweater:


I realized that this sweater is way longer than I thought it was! I’m not sure the ultimate finished sweater will be that length. I will leave that to doing math later.

#PennyDreadfulKAL: Stitch Choice

I then posted on Instagram to get my gang of knitting expert followers to give me an idea of what they thought the primary stitch was. There was quite the debate between moss, seed, double seed, broken seed stitch, and even seed stitch with just a large gauge. I decided the stitch is in the eye of the beholder…and also I needed to start swatching!

Ultimately, I decided to swatch moss, seed, and broken seed stitch. Mostly I’m knitting broken seed stitch because that would mean two rows of pure knit stitch, and ultimately an easier knit! Ultimately, I’ll go with what I like after I finish swatching.

I also swatched the 2×2 ribbing of the cuffs and collar. All swatches photographed are with size 3 needles. The suggested size needle is typically 5, but I tend to knit loose. Needles photographed are my personal favorite brand: Chiaogoo.

Beginning of moss swatch

#PennyDreadfulKAL: Design Research

I’m going to be using Shirley Paden’s book, Knitwear Design Workshop, to help guide me through design decisions.

I also found this pattern Global Warming by Suvi Simola with similar sleeves that I may use as a resource later.

#PennyDreadfulKAL: Goals

Next month my goals include completing my swatches  and deciding on a stitch, and casting on with a plan for the body of the cardigan. See you on Tuesday, Feburary 13th for the update!

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My name is Monica Rodriguez and I can’t stop fidgeting with yarn. I live in Albuquerque, NM with my husband. We belong to two terriers who manage to cuddle us just enough to keep us from revolting.

Let me know what you think!