Cardigan stripes with variegated yarn

I’m knitting a zip-up cardigan with one broad and two narrow stripes across. After starting I realized that because the colors gradually change I’m going to have to figure out how to match the stripes on the back panel to not one, but two front panels. Ideally they’ll also match with the stripes on the sleeves, but at a bare minimum the two front panels need to match. Someone has told me I could knit the front as one panel, sew in the zipper, and then just cut down the middle but that sounds terrifying. Another person told me to knit both front panels at once doing magic loop and using the same yarn. Though I haven’t knit two at once before it looks do-able. However the the tutorial I saw showed knitting from two separate yarns so that doesn’t get me closer to my goal. Is there any technique that would have me knitting the two panels at once from the same yarn, or is that just impossible?

The idea of knitting a separate back and front, then cutting the front would work and the two pieces would match. The cut up the front is called a steek and it isn’t as daunting as it sounds.
Another possibility is to knit the fronts and back as one piece, knitting back and forth with the ends of row at the center front. You would work like this bottom up to the armholes and then divide for front and back. The stripes would match on fronts and back up to the armholes but then the stripes would get wider above the armholes on the fronts.

To avoid this completely you could knit the fronts and back as one piece as above but continue past the armholes to the shoulder shaping. You would then need to cut a steek for the armholes but fronts and back would have exactly the same stripe pattern.

The sleeves will be different but you should be able to get the sequence of stripes on the sleeves to match each other.

What pattern are you following? Can you give us a name or a link?

Here’s the pattern:

I already knit the back panel and am about to start the front. If it’s not too hard to steek without destroying the whole thing it seems like that might be the easiest. If the sleeves match up that’s great, but I think there can be a little more freedom there.

Cute pattern! Are you using wool or an acrylic? The wool is a bit easier to steek because the fibers become slightly felted when washed. In either case, a well stitched down line or two either side of the cut works to hold the strands.

It’s 20% wool and 80% acrylic, so not ideal, but hopefully the wool will help a little. I’m going to try to steek, maybe using both the crochet stitch up the sides (which would provide a nice row to pick up stitches for the contrasting color down the middle) and a sewing machine (since it’s mostly acrylic). Should I have a 2-3 extra stitches per row since I’ll lose a little width with the steeking?

I’ve seen directions for steeks that use about 3-5 extra sts in the center (at the cut). You can then cut up the column of the middle stitch. That’ll also compensate for the difference in width between back and fronts.

This tutorial is good and the links to knitty, Eunny etc are excellent, too.

It may also help to knit a small swatch to practice on before you work the fronts.