Category Archives: brennan cardigan

The Brennan Cardigan

[Edited note, Dec 2013 - I'm no longer able to make this pattern available. Many thanks to those who have knitted and shown interest in it! I'll be sure to keep bringing  my attention to new designs in the future :) ]

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For anyone just tuning in, my full explanation of why I wrote this pattern may be found in this post from May. The name belongs to Dr. Temperance Brennan, the main character in the television show Bones, and in the Kathy Reichs series of novels upon which the television show is based. Dr. Brennan wore a sweater very similar to this one in an early episode of the series, and quite frankly, I wanted to figure out how to knit one for myself. Thus, this pattern was born. I believe this is a modern, flattering, stylish looking garment which is also comfortable and cozy, and it is only for the sheer volume of projects I have in my ever-changing knitting queue that I haven’t actually managed to start up on one for myself.

I am now pleased to offer this pattern for free in PDF format (download link appears below) in 5 sizes, measuring 32[34, 38, 42, 46] inches across the bust. I would recommend 2-3 inches of ease for a close but comfortable fit. I would like to add another size, possibly two, when I have another spare few moments to devote to it. Also, it is entirely likely that this pattern will still have errata, so I am comfortable putting out this version into the world as-is and making adjustments as necessary.

Why am I offering this pattern for free, you might ask? Well, there are several reasons. But really, the main reason is that, as will be clear from my previous post, this design very obviously takes close inspiration from a commercially-made garment, and as such I do not feel comfortable charging $$ for it. (The pattern instructions and sizing, however, are all the product of my own brain, so you can bet your ass I’m quite happy with that.) I will note, though, that my sweater is not a completely exact replica. There are some details in the inspiration garment that do not appear here. (Don’t worry, if you really want me to charge money for stuff, I’m quite sure I’ll find other new designs to do that with in the future ;) )

If you download this pattern and find value in it, I would recommend taking whatever money you think the pattern deserves and giving it to Knitters Without Borders, or, failing that, another deserving knitting-related Enterprise For Good.

This pattern assumes the knitter has already had some experience knitting sweaters, as it will provide some challenge through the use of short-rows, extensive seaming, work with a cable-needle, and working set-in sleeves. It is a garment constructed in pieces, and the back and two front pieces are both worked in sections, including long pieces of ‘diagonal ribbing’ which seam up at the sides to create a v-shape style at the side. (See picture below). This is the biggest challenge of the pattern. My sister Martha who knitted the pattern, and who is shown modelling the sweater, will happily tell you that these diagonal ribbing sections nearly did her in. This pattern also makes use of an “at the same time” instruction, for the front pieces, which involves working the armhole sections at the same time as the neckline decreases. In this pattern I also assume that you already have a comfortable method of working your decreases and increases at each side, for example, which is why the pattern instructions do not go into detail about whether you should ‘k2tog’ or ‘ssk’ any particular decrease. Other than that, I hope you will find that the pattern is worked in a very similar format to other standard knitting patterns.

Two small changes I have made between the sample pattern and this version is that I have made the front neckline slightly deeper, and the sleeves are slightly more fitted.

 

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As for yarn and gauge, this pattern requires worsted-weight yarn knitted in a Stockinette gauge of 5 sts/6.5 rows per inch. There are a wide variety of yarns available in this gauge, which means you should feel at liberty to choose what best works for you and the pattern. My preference is for something woolen or wool-based, since it is light, warm, and keeps its shape well. Ubiquitous and priced-to-own yarns like Cascade 220 or Patons Classic Merino would work just fine. The sample in the photos was knitted with Brunswick Sheepswool, 100% worsted-weight wool. If you choose a non-wool fibre, I would recommend something which does keep its shape and isn’t very heavy (i.e. not 100% cotton!)

[Edited note, Dec 2013 - I'm no longer able to make this pattern available. Many thanks to those who have knitted and shown interest in it! I'll be sure to keep bringing  my attention to new designs in the future :) ]

Download the pattern:
BrennanCardi-July18-07

If you choose to knit this pattern I would be pleased to hear from you, and if you discover anything that needs adjusting I will be happy to start up an ‘errata’ page. Happy knitting!

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The ‘Brennan Cardigan’

[Edited note, Dec 2013 - I'm no longer able to make this pattern available. Many thanks to those who have knitted and shown interest in it! I'll be sure to keep bringing  my attention to new designs in the future :) ]

So, a couple of posts ago I mentioned how my sister had just finished a really awesome sweater, and was going to let me talk about it over here. It’s really a stupidly geeky knitting story to be honest, but since I know I can’t possibly be the only television-obsessed knitter* out there, I’d go ahead and blather about it.

 

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The first thing that you need to know is that I regularly watch the show Bones. And when I say ‘regularly’, I mean that it’s become the only show that I have to watch when there’s a new episode out. Most of my other shows that I was addicted to are now either off the air (things like Alias or Buffy), about to be going off the air (Gilmore Girls), on painfully long hiatuses (Battlestar Galactica) or sucking so hard that I don’t even want to bother any more (Top Model, Grey’s Anatomy). To be fair, I don’t think Bones is about to win any awards any time soon. I enjoy the cast and I enjoy the series of books that the program is (loosely, VERY loosely) based upon, but the writing is pretty darned mediocre. Most of the time, I enjoy the pretty. If there’s a new episode airing on Wednesday nights when I choose to go to Lettuce Knit for Stitch ‘n Bitch night, I get M to tape Bones and then we watch it later.

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So, we spent a lot of the first season mocking the wardrobe and jewelry selections for the main character, Dr. Temperance Brennan. Sure, the woman’s a top-ranked forensic anthropologist and spends half her day bent over lab tables or mucking through crime scenes in boots and jumpsuits, but whatever! That’s no reason she can’t look like she walked off a Vogue cover shoot, right? Riiiiigghhhht. Thankfully, by late Season 1 and now in Season 2, her clothes have started to look more like things a 30-something modern professional might actually wear, and occasionally (like when she’s busy brooding over family history issues), she gets a sweater to wear.

This one (pictured in a few scant shots above) was what she wore in a couple of scenes in the Season 1 finale almost exactly a year ago, and M and I both fell in love with it. The shawl collar, the extra-long length, the bits of v-shaped ribbing at the sides, mmmmm. We wanted it. I was emailing with a friend of mine later that same week, who also knits and also watches Bones, and asked her, “Is it wrong that in my head I’m trying to reverse-engineer that sweater Brennan wore in those 2 scenes on Bones?” and she said, “No, because I want one too and if you write up a pattern you have to give me a copy immediately.” And it just so happened that at the time, M had been staring over this heap of worsted-weight 100% wool that she’d gotten for a song from a friend’s sister, and had been pestering me to write her up a pattern for some kind of long cardigan sweater. Well, my fannishness and knitting obsession combined, and I did my best reverse-engineer job that I could. It ain’t perfect, but it’s darned comfy:

 

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Check out that detail on the side:

 

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It took M the better part of a year to execute it, in between putting it down to work on other things. Also, she and I will both freely admit that the diagonal v-shaped ribbing at the side, while gorgeous, slowed things down a whole lot more than if it had just been plain stockinette. Also, while I did my best at pattern-writing, a lot of stuff got filled in later and so there are gaps in my orignal notes with things like, “do stuff with short rows here”, or “figure out how to write this on a chart later”. So if I can go back and figure out how to fix these things, I’ll happily post the pattern here later.

The other thing I failed on with this first attempt is that I should have made the neckline much lower – you know, for that bit of decolletage for when Agent Booth shows up late at night with Chinese food – and made the shawl collar wider. But M is pleased and so am I. I’d like to make myself one, too. You know, when I get done knitting the list I already have that’s a mile long of course. Hah.

Incidentally, there are only 2 more new eps of this show left this season, which makes me kind of bummed. I’ll need to find some more cracktastic viewing for the summer…

*I recently discovered during my time of injury that my television addiction is not nearly as strong as my knitting addiction. Go figure, eh? ;)

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Filed under brennan cardigan, fandom, knitting addiction