New Favorites: Lene Samsoe’s fisherman cardigan

New Favorites: Lena Samsoe's fisherman cardigan

To call this Amanda cardigan a “new” “favorite” is the most hilarious of understatements. It’s been on my Ravelry favorites list for over a year, but it recently surfaced again. And it goes well beyond favorite and deep into obsession territory. I’ve long been planning to knit myself an ivory cardigan, to replace one I had to retire, and have been searching for just the right pattern. And you know I love nothing more than a good fisherman sweater. But I resolved to make my ivory cardigan an aran one after a layover in the Chicago airport in early June. Anna and I met up there on the way to Squam and found ourselves stalking a woman in the boarding area. We were convinced she was headed for Squam, too, and thought she might actually be one of our shuttle-mates. She was wearing flip-flops, jeans, a cute indigo floral-print top, and the most gorgeous handknit fisherman cardigan. We stared and whispered and speculated, and Anna finally worked up the nerve to ask her if she was Squamwardbound. She had absolutely no idea what Squam was and was definitely not who we thought she was. But in the aisle of the plane, standing around the baggage claim in NH, we couldn’t take our eyes off her sweater. So Anna approached her again and asked if she could take a picture. The girl was not a knitter, but she said she loved the sweater because she suspected it was handknit (I can’t remember how she said she came into possession of it), and it definitely was. It was gorgeous.

Not long after we were back, Anna texted me while I was out for a walk one night and asked me if I remembered that sweater. I said I hadn’t been able to get it out of my mind, and she asked if I knew a good pattern. I’ve bookmarked many over the past few years — remember it was the idea of knitting my own fisherman that made me want to know how to knit in the first place — and I eventually found my way back to this pattern, Amanda by Lene Holme Samsoe. I try really hard to focus on downloadable patterns here on the blog, but this one is from a book, “Essentially Feminine Knits.” I ordered it the moment I rediscovered the pattern, got it in my held mail upon return from NC, and there are a bunch of good sweaters in there.* I know this because I did flip through it quickly when I pulled it out of the envelope, but once I got to the Amanda page I laid it open on my desk and it’s been sitting there staring at me (and vice versa) ever since.

So I’ll be rearranging my to-knit list a little bit to make room for Amanda right after my Channel. (OK, there may be some overlap.) Anna wants it in wool and I want it in cotton or a blend (more Balance, perhaps?), and we’re thinking of knitting it together beginning in September. Not tag team, just knitalong. Let me know if you want to join in!


*Check out this woman who seems to be knitting her way through all the sweaters in the book! Including two Amandas.


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46 thoughts on “New Favorites: Lene Samsoe’s fisherman cardigan

  1. Have always wanted to do a knit-a-long. Don’t know about being able to keep up. Anyway, love the Channel pattern and very interested in the Balence yarn.

  2. Oh no! I love it. I’d love to join in, but I have already committed myself to a huge knitting project September.

  3. A knit along might get me to not procrastinate and get something finished before starting other projects.

  4. I’d love to do this. But I too might be a little slower than the group. I need a challenging project. This might be it.

  5. Love, love, love this sweater. I have a wool/cotton blend cardigan that is not dissimilar from this (not hand knit) that I love fervently – so fervently that even though it has slightly felted over the years, I wear it anyway. Although I am not a sweater knitter (yet) – I will watch your kal with interest!

  6. Great story! And a gorgeous sweater. The weather in Texas is completely unreasonable for wool right now. I’m thinking of having a walk-in freezer installed in my house so I can have a summer knitting studio.

  7. I love this book. Already made two “Tara” scarves and definitely want to make a Lilly. May join you on the Cardi–have some Rowan Pure Wool Aran just for it!

  8. I’d love to knit this sweater, too. I’ll start looking at yarn : )

  9. Count me in Karen! I’m working on a fisherman sweater *as we speak*. This Amanda cardigan is *just right*. Not to big, not too small. Looking at it in the pictures it looks proper traditional (yay)– which basically means mine is going to be very much the same (even in stoney grey!!) but with differing cables.

    But your post is bringing up another issue, to which I’m confident you will either have the answer, or be as curious: What’s THE BEST scratchy, lanolin-ey, bouncy and sproingy wool available on the market? I ask because I’m currently using Cascade Eco Wool for this one (to which I’m not 100% pleased, but to which I am committed). I’d be tempted to make another if I could find the right SCRATCHY wool.

    • Hm, if you’re serious (and I think you are!), you might try swatching it with a skein of Fancy Tiger’s Heirloom Romney. Such good colors to choose from.

      Less scratchy but still rustic and all, would be BT Shelter or Cestari.

  10. Oh, please do a KAL! This sweater has been in my queue for ages! This would be so fun in a rich berry wool…now you’re making me want to re-do my knit list!

  11. I would love to do a knit along. I don’t have a local knit shop, I know how sad, so could you list needed materials so I can order early. Love this sweater!

    • Finished bust measurements are 33 (35, 38, 40). It’s written for worsted weight yarn (although knitted on 8’s) at 120 yards/ball — 9 (10, 11, 12) balls.

      There’s no recommended ease given, but I’d say 2-4 inches.

  12. I’d be interested in a KAL. keep us posted! (btw – I LOVE this book – I could definitely knit my way through most of it!)

  13. I love this pattern but, before I buy the book, does this pattern include written instructions as well as charted? Thanks!

  14. I might be up for doing a KA(djacent)L. That cardigan isn’t to my particular tastes, but I’ve been planning on upsizing Vika since the moment I saw it (fortunately I’m a smallish human being so it won’t be too daunting a task, I hope).

  15. I will definitely join you. This sweater has been in my queue for a year and a half. I even have yarn for it. Either Shelter in snowbound or Q&Co’s Lark in kumlien’s gull. Amanda is the reason I bought the book and after flipping through it I discovered that I love almost everything in it.

  16. I’d love to join in.
    Especially if it’s in cotton since I’m allergic to wool – which so often really limits you!
    Looking forward to hearing more,

    • You could, sure. The stitch count would probably be different (cable gauge being different from stockinette), so you’d want to swatch and figure out your dimensions.

  17. A KAL…Yes please! I have Lene’s earlier book, Feminine Knits, but may have to acquire this one too.

    Any chance you or Anna could share the photo you snapped of the airport outfit? I’m so curious.

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  19. Karen,
    A KAL would be fun…not sure I’d be able to keep up with the crowd. But it would great to have others trail blaze for slow going me…

    On another note, I am writing to congratulate you on Fringe Association being noted in the “Hottest Finds in Knitting” feature (page 6) in the Fall 2014 Vogue Knitting Issue. I got my copy in the mail yesterday. I love that they featured the Bento bags and your beautiful handmade leather pouches. Way to go Karen,


    Bordergirl on Ravelry

    • Hi, Judy. So glad you’re in and excited! I really am working on the schedule and really will have a post about it as soon as it’s all lined up! But if you want to start swatching, definitely go for it!

  20. Bought my yarn yesterday and made a gauge swatch as soon as I got home. I couldn’t stand to wait so I’ve already cast on and ready to knit the first row, but had to go to bed ’cause it was 1:20 AM 😤😄

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