Category Archives: finished object: sweater

New Pattern: Jurisfiction Cardigan

So, for the past month or so I was knitting away on a cabled orange sweater for Rhinebeck. I’m happy to report that it got finished well in time for Rhinebeck, though in a fantastic piece of irony the Saturday of Rhinebeck ended up being far too warm to really get away with wearing sweaters, so finishing well ahead of time was all beside the point. No matter, though, because now we’re settling into the cool months and I fully intend to spend a lot of time wearing this cardigan this season.


I happily present the Jurisfiction cardigan, available online in my Ravelry pattern store and on Patternfish. Many thanks to Elspeth, who obliged me with some modelling last weekend. Fellow knitters always understand about these things. (As an aside: I do need some photos of myself in it, but since I also finished my Ravine pullover and it wants photos as well, I’m going to have to find some time for a two-for-one photo shoot some time – that is, if it ever ceases raining around here. Between hurricane season and fall weather shifts, I think we may just keep going from rain directly into snow and then eventually spring will show up.)


This is named for the ‘Jurisfiction’ crime solving agency of the literary world featured in the ‘Eyre Affair’ series of novels written by Jasper Fforde. There’s a fabulous line in the second book when the intrepid heroine Thursday Next visits Jurisfiction for the first time, and the Cheshire Cat greets her by saying, “Welcome to Jurisfiction…everyone here is quite mad.” And you know, that’s pretty much how I feel about knitting world a lot of the time, so I think it fits.

Also Thursday Next pretty much does everything you could possibly do as a literary lead character (solving crimes, finding her kidnapped husband, changing storylines from inside literature itself, counselling co-workers who track down vampires for a living, occasionally time-travelling, you know – the usual), so I figure if anybody needs a nice cabled cardigan it’s her.


This is a classic style cardigan worked from the bottom up, in pieces, then seamed before working the button-band and collar. It uses Cascade 220 Heathers (or your preferred worsted weight wool), and presumes a stockinette gauge of 18 sts/4 ins on 4.5mm needles. It’s meant to be a comfortable cardigan so positive ease is recommended, between 2-4 ins of positive ease depending on just how slouchy you’d like.


The ribbing and cables on the sleeves maintain some of the simpler motifs used at the sides of the body, making for a nice fit throughout. The standouts, though, are the paired twining cables featured on the back and fronts. I don’t always say this, but this cardigan was an easy design from start to finish. The cables were a pleasant combination and after having the concept in my head since last winter, it was extremely satisfying to just sit down and knit the darned thing. I’m sort of sad that I don’t get to knit it anymore, actually, which is also partly due to the colour – I could really get into reddish orange, now that I’ve started trying it out!


Jurisfiction is  available in my Ravelry pattern store and on Patternfish for $7.00, and takes between 6-10 skeins of Cascade 220 (or comparable yardage of your preferred worsted wool) depending on size; it is written for seven sizes, for a finished bust sizes 34(37, 41, 44, 48, 51, 55) ins around when worn closed.

Enjoy, enjoy! And I hope whereever you are this weekend (and coming week) is cozy, dry, and has some knitting in it.


Filed under cables, design, finished object: sweater, sweaters

New Pattern: Chatelaine cardigan

I’ve been a bit remiss here on the blog, in that I haven’t formally introduced you to my latest self-published pattern. Allow me to rectify that, and present the Chatelaine cardigan, available in my Ravelry store or on Patternfish.

This is what happened with that delicious pile of ‘sequoia’ coloured Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK I purchased back in the summer – I decided it needed to be a nice fall cardigan, and am very pleased with the results! Allow me to thank Bridget from Needles in the Hay in Peterborough, for some on-location knitwear modelling a few weeks ago, I think she looks super in the cardigan.


Chatelaine is a fitted cardigan with waist shaping, mostly stockinette (back and sleeves are all stockinette after the ribbing) with some fine cable details on the front panels. The scoop neck is just modest enough to keep you comfortable, and the button-bands and collar are all worked in twisted ribbing for a touch of elegance. Full sleeves are also just the cozy thing for fall. Everything is worked in pieces from the bottom up and then seamed together in finishing.


This is suitable for DK-weight wool, at a gauge of 21 sts over 4 ins in stockinette. A relatively quick knit that doesn’t add too much bulk. My goal was to design a relatively simple cardigan that would still be a little bit dressy enough to wear around town. I really like how it turned out and am pleased to share it with you.

I’ve got more orange sweater knitting to do (and others), but I’ll be back tomorrow with a giveaway post for you courtesy of Canadian Living magazine. Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone!




Filed under design, finished object: sweater

Royale revised

A little over two years ago I released Royale. It was one of my early sweater patterns, and one which still represents my great affection for twisted stitches and travelling cables. I designed the original sweater for a deep scoop neck and 3/4 sleeves as modern details at the time. After a time I realized a few folks were modifying it to their own preferences, for full-length sleeves and a higher neckline for more versatility and cold-weather comfort, and so I thought, hey, I can make that a bit easier for people. Why don’t I just update the pattern? And while I’m updating the pattern, why don’t I knit myself another one?

And so, I did.


This new sample (nicely modelled by fellow knitter Lisa) shows off said full sleeves and a more modest scoop neck that, with the ribbing, ends a little above the beginning of the armholes. I asked Lisa to model for me for a fresh set of photos since she’s about the same size as me, and this one actually fit her so perfectly I told her she would have been totally justified in stealing it. (She didn’t, though, which I appreciate).


Royale is available here on Ravelry, and here on Patternfish. The new pattern contains not only two options for sleeve length and neckline depth, but also an additional size in the 3XL range, for a total of 7 sizes ranging from 31 to 53 inches at bust circumference. It uses your preferred worsted weight wool (shown in Cascade 220 heathers) at a gauge of 21 sts/4 ins over twisted moss stitch in the round (noted in pattern instructions), and I definitely recommend doing a swatch and gauge check before starting to make sure you’ll get the right fit. This is a sweater that works very well with a close fit, and zero ease or negative ease would be the ideal. As shown here, the sweater measures the same at bust circumference as the body of the wearer at the bust (in other words, it is being worn with “zero ease”), which is one reason it looks so awesome on Lisa. Negative ease would also be fantastic though, and show off the twisty cables even more.


Even though this is more of a re-release than a regular release, admittedly I would normally choose to release a full length pullover like this a little closer to actual cold-weather time (speaking as a Northern Hemisphere resident, at least), rather than in the spring. But on the other hand, I always think it is one of the great ironies of knitting that we often knit items during the season we want to wear them – inevitably this ends with some projects being completed just as that perfect wearing season has ended. (Said the gal who just cast on a laceweight shawl that will probably take most of the summer.) So, at least if you start on a sweater in the spring or summer, you know it’ll be ready and waiting for you in the fall when you need it.

I’ve also heard tell that a couple of folks are planning to use this as a summer Olympics knitting project, which – go ahead with your mad skills, knitters. I salute and support you! Also why didn’t I think of that.


Since this sweater does use quite a lot of those twisted stitches and travelling cables, as per usual I include in the pattern instructions some tips on how to work these without a cable needle. If you can get the hang of that technique, it will likely make your knitting proceed much more efficiently, and I’m a big fan. In fact, look for an updated photo tutorial from me soon on this technique as well – I’m planning a new one dedicated just to these little 2-stitch travelling cables so familiar to Bavarian twisted stitch work like in these motifs.

Other notes about this sweater – it is worked in the round up to the armholes, from the bottom up, then worked flat across the back and fronts separately. The sleeve caps are also worked flat, then the sleeves are sewn into the set-in armholes. All told there’s only small amounts of seaming involved, and working mostly in the round is a great approach for twisted stitch cables like these, because ktbl (knitting through the back loop) is a lot more fun that ptbl (purling through the back loop), I can tell you that.


Finally, if you’re just tuning in here this week and would like a chance to win a fabulous little zippered notions purse from Pog Totes, check out my previous post which also holds a book review of Circular Knitting Workshop by Margaret Radcliffe. I’ll post a winner sometime after noon tomorrow.

Happy knitting this Wednesday! May you have a refreshing beverage waiting for you at the end of it.




Filed under cables, design, finished object: sweater

Urban Collection: Water Street Cardigan

Since mid-March is upon us, it’s time for the March releases in the Urban Collection to begin, and the first of these is now available! The Water St. Cardigan can be found here on Ravelry, (once the collection is complete, all patterns will also be available individually or as a set on Patternfish.) and well as part of the collection. (If you’ve already purchased the collection – or do so at any time – you’ll receive all the new patterns as they are uploaded). I’m so pleased to show this one off to you, as it is the very first one of the collection that I started on! In fact, it’s been finished for a year, and I’ve been sitting on it waiting for the rest of the collection to catch up. I think it was worth it, though, because this is a light and comfortable cardigan just perfect for that point when Spring is just peeking around the corner.



In keeping with the Urban Collection theme, the patterns are all named for streets in towns I have lived in as a knitter. March’s patterns are all named for Peterborough, Ontario, which is where I not only spent my years as an undergraduate student, but came back to teach for a short stint last year. When I did so I was very pleased to discover Needles in the Hay, a local yarn shop which had opened not long before I arrived there for my year of teaching. I made some great friends through the knitters in town, and dearly miss being able to stop in one or two afternoons a week for a knit and chat. It was really really great being in walking distance to a yarn shop, nevermind such a friendly one, and I miss it.

Needles in the Hay is situated on Water St, one of the main streets running north-south through the downtown, so it was a pretty easy decision for me to figure out what to name this one! It is a light and comfortable cardigan that is relatively simple to knit and easy to wear. I recommend this to be worn with some positive ease, 2-4 ins, depending on preference (I.e. the garment when closed, measures larger than your bust), but the open nature of the cardigan means that fit is quite flexible.



I enjoy how current knitting trends are becoming more inclusive of light knitted fabrics, and fingering weight yarns (or even laceweight!) are not an uncommon selection for sweater patterns. This cardigan uses Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label fingering weight – a blend of superwash wool/cashmere/nylon – worked at a looser gauge of 5 sts/inch to allow for a very lofty and drapey fabric.

The hint of cashmere content in the yarn also doesn’t hurt, let me tell you! When we did the original photos (the lovely detailed shots) for these back in the fall, at one point we were paused while Jane (photographer) changed camera lenses, and (model) Emily turned to me and said, “this is really warm,” in pleased surprise. Now, I wouldn’t recommend it as a cold-weather outer layer (as secondary model Austen can attest, when I stuck it on her quickly during our January photoshoot to grab a couple more full shots as backup), but really, it does quite well as a transitional piece, and it’s pretty comfortable. I actually have a couple of large skeins of Verb For Keeping Warm wool/silk blend fingering weight that I’ve been wanting to pull out to make myself another one, but I’m betting the wool/cashmere sock yarns out there now will offer quite a few other yarn options as well. I certainly enjoyed working with the TFA Purple Label on this one!


Water Street Cardi

This piece uses only knit and purl stitches (well, and some increases and decreases, hee.) At first glance, this might look like just a regular stockinette cardigan, but actually there are one or two detailed elements that add a bit of interest and personalization, while still keeping it simple. I’ve made use of garter ridges placed around the lower portion of the sleeve, and the upper portion of the torso, inside the raglan decreases for the yoke. I really enjoy the way these add a simple amount of detail, and you can personalize for yourself how frequently you place the garter ridges – every 3-10 rows how you choose. I did them in a slightly random sequence.

The collar extends from the edges of the cardigan fronts, and is then grafted in the centre and then sewn down to the back of neck, at the top of the cardigan back. This allows for a small amount of seaming and stability in an otherwise seamless piece, and also means that there are no picked up stitches – none whatsoever! Work the sleeves in the round, work the cardigan body back and forth, then join for the raglan yoke and away you go.


Thank you again to Emily and Austen for modelling, Jane for photography, Tanis for the yarn, and Stephannie for the technical editing. I hope you’ll enjoy, and I’ll be sure to keep you updated as more March patterns are added to the collection!

Happy knitting this Thursday!



Filed under design, finished object: sweater

The finish line is worth it

It’s done! Gwendolyn is done! Guys, I can’t remember the last time I took seven months to finish knitting something. I mean, I did knit other things in that same seven months, so I can cut myself some slack there, but still. That much time between start and finish can mess with your head a little. And I had some gauge indecision in there, and changed sizes, and modified the sleeves a little bit, so by the time I got to the sewing up I think my brain was genuinely curious to see what was going to happen next. It also occurred to me that since I know Fiona, there was every likelihood that if I messed it up, I would personally have to tell her about it. (Kim even wrote me a note about it in case I ended up needing a permission slip, which I thought was really very considerate.)

As it turns out, I don’t think I messed it up at all.


Cables, cables, CABLES. Gimme gimme.

What can I say but this is a lovely pattern – which shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that over 100 other folks on Ravelry have knitted it. I wanted it as a comfortable, wear-anywhere-you-want sort of sweater, and I am well pleased with the result. The yarn is Cascade 220 Heathers, in a nice turquoise colour. The trim (a detail included in the pattern) is also a Cascade 220 Heather in a brownish/purplish/reddish colour, leftover from a past sweater.


In choosing the size, as it turns out, all I needed to do was choose the actual pattern size that I wanted as listed, and then just knit that size. (One needle size down, though.) It blocked out to the intended size after washing, but then over a period of drying actually sucked back up a bit of width, then somehow worked out just fine. I am very glad that I made the decision back in January to stop knitting the original size I had chosen and go back up one size. It lost me some knitting time in the bargain, but turned out to be the right move.


I did, as per usual, do some modification.

I’d heard feedback from a couple of friends/Ravellers that their sleeves had turned out a titch larger than they wanted, so I modified the sleeves to be a bit slimmer by a few stitches, but also added in some ribbing at the inside of the sleeve. I accomplished this by simply continuing the ribbing from the cuff just at the edges where it wouldn’t interrupt the main cable panel, and gradually incorporated more ribbing as I increased.


I also added about 3 inches in length, which is a pretty typical modification for me since I am 5’9″ tall. Especially for cardigans, I like making sure it hits me just nicely over the hip. Modifying for length is one of the easiest modifications you can do for yourself, and I am a big fan – just take the tape measure out one day when you’re with a fellow like-minded knitter, and measure from your shoulders down to where you want things to stop. Or, measure a sweater that fits you really pleasantly, and measure how long it is. (also possibly how wide, etc).

Finally, I worked the button-band to be the same as the trim around the cuffs and hem, with just the outer 2 rows and bind-off done in the contrast colour, rather than working the entire button-band in the contrast colour.


In conclusion, HURRAY I HAVE A NEW SWEATER! I’ve worn it the past 2 days and may well wear it again today to Niagara Falls, for Elspeth’s last day Canada-side. If wearing the same outfit 3 days in a row is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

Happy knitting this fine Sunday!



Filed under cables, fearless knitting, finished object: sweater

It sneaks up on you

This weekend I finally got around to finishing up the last bits of work on my Gwendolyn cardigan. I seem to have the well-honed ability to under-estimate the amount of time finishing will take me, and in this case it had sort of slipped my mind that, oh wait, even when I’d finished the sweater parts, I still had to do the hood and the button-band before seaming everything up. Whoopsie daisies. But it’s done now and having a nice Soak bath before blocking, while I take an easy day recovering from a bit of a cold and resting up before spending the week with a super fun knitting visitor coming in for vacation time and knitterly hijinks. (How many knitting stores is too many knitting stores to show her around Toronto? We will find out.)


Gwendolyn is a lovely pattern to be sure, and one that asks a moderate amount of challenge from the knitter without being fully overwhelming. I like Fiona’s designs (unsurprisingly, since I am fond of cables), and I also admit that I prefer seamed sweaters when I can get them. The seamless sweater definitely has its benefits and I’ve knitted a few of those in my time as well, but there is something very satisfying and structural to me about working up a nice seam and watching the completed garment come together seemingly before one’s very eyes.


This is a pattern that requires you to work up the side seams by seaming reverse stockinette (with the purl side facing), rather than seaming up regular stockinette (with the knit side facing) which I tend to encounter more often and admittedly gravitate towards as a personal preference when designing seamed sweaters myself. As I worked this up I remembered the first time I learned and used that skill – it was many years ago when I knitted my first Ribby Cardi by Bonne Marie Burns of Chic Knits, and man, I was so annoyed. I’d gotten good at seaming regular stockinette seams by that point (and sort of liked it), but had never done it for reverse stockinette, and the idea of seaming up on those purl bumps just seemed far too aggravating. I remember I did the first few inches of the first seam as sort of a haphazard effort, only to eventually cave and go find out the real way to do it.


I went and consulted the nearest knitting reference manual that I could find, which I am pretty sure at the time was my sister’s copy of Stitch & Bitch. The pictures and written explanation were clear, and after a couple of minutes I had it down. (I actually still recommend this book as a clearly written, priced-to-own beginner’s manual. Those books have a lot going on. While I’m here, I also love my Vogue Knitting reference book, and Nancy Wiseman’s book on finishing techniques.)

Last week I was also having a bit of back-and-forth chatter on Twitter with Kate (a Toronto knitter/tech editor/teacher), about how we write knitting patterns and managing the amount of knowledge/explanation that we include in the instructions, and how hard it is to know where to draw the line. How much do we explain? How much do we expect knitters to have to find out for themselves?

Truthfully, I’m still figuring out the answer to that. I enjoy knitting, I enjoy teaching, and if I can impart a bit of knitterly wisdom like how to work a cable without a cable needle by tucking it into some pattern instructions, then boy howdy I’m going to do that. But I do know that, inevitably, every knitter is going to get to a point in their knitting lives when they encounter a new instruction or a technique they’ve never heard of before. It might be something the pattern/book explains to you, or it might not. When that happens, you get the opportunity to learn something new, and run scurrying off to the nearest reference manual/fellow knitter/yarn shop/internet to figure out how to do it.


Eventually, though, you’ll get to a knitting instruction and it’ll sneak up on you that – wait a sec – I already know how to do that, and you’ll just carry on doing it. Years ago I annoyed myself into learning how to do a reverse stockinette seam on a Ribby Cardi (now long since gifted away), and now I can do the same thing on my own Gwendolyn cardi for me, and just go right ahead and do it. (Thankfully, though, there are still plenty of frontiers left to cross. Years later, me and kitchener stitch, we still have our battles – err, learning opportunities to manage. It’ll be good – eventually I’ll annoy myself into learning how to do it properly, and then I’ll have to find something new to figure out.)

What’s something you’ve learned from knitting lately? It’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure. Happy Monday, and happy knitting!




Filed under finished object: sweater, knitting knowledge

Edgewater Cardigan

I can’t tell you how happy I am that it is finally cold enough to not only wear hand-knits, but to enjoy wearing hand-knits. I admit I am not at all the sort of person who rejoices over +17C temperatures in November. I’m a knitter, darn it, and I like being able to snuggle down into the yarny results of my labours. With that said, I’m pleased to have been wearing this sweater the last week – the sweater which I am happy to show off to you today as a new design. It’s what I wore on the Saturday at Rhinebeck this year and it’s a cozy cardigan for sure. Edgewater is available on Patternfish and my Ravelry store, and debuts at a slight sale price for the month of November.


This is a sweater that I designed as I went along, starting with some deliciously soft wool (Manos Maxima – very similar to Malabrigo Worsted), and a wide looping cable running up along the sleeves. By the time I got to the body I had the rest of it figured out – the cables repeat up the back, and are joined by some tinier cable twists up alongside the edge of the button-band. I also threw on some pockets, which I think may well be my favourite detail of the whole thing. I like having that little extra spot to hide things I’m carrying with me – or even just to slide in my iPod while sitting at the cafe.


The sweater is worked from the bottom-up, and the sleeves and body are joined in one piece for raglan shaping at the yoke. There is shaping at the waist, and a slight shawl collar for just a touch more comfort – however, in the instructions I note that a plain button-band could easily be worked and the shawl collar omitted. Because this is worked on a field of ‘reverse stockinette’ – i.e. the purl side of the stockinette shows on the Right Side of the work – all of the decreases on the body are worked on the Wrong Side, or the knit side. I’d much rather ask you to do k2tog and ssk than p2tog and ssp. Those ssp decreases can be fiddly, and I have no shame in admitting I like to avoid them if I can.


I am extremely grateful to Melissa Jaarsma, who took the beautiful modelled shots you see here, while we were at Rhinebeck. It was a gorgeous sunny fall day, and she went snap-snap-snap and before you knew it we had these lovely pictures you see here. I think this might be the most I’ve ever liked myself in photos. I also owe a note of thanks to Jaya Purswani for the technical editing on this pattern. Thank you, ladies, for your helpful work!


I’ll offer one last note on the yarn selection for this pattern, for any eager would-be knitters! Manos Maxima (and Malabrigo Worsted, the nearest substitute for this) are wonderfully soft and a joy to work with. They are single-spun ultra-fine merino that is pretty much like knitting with kittens. However, when a yarn gives so much in comfort and softness, it tends to neglect sturdiness and hard wearing. So, feel free to choose accordingly and go with a plied yarn or hardier wool, if that would serve you better! This is worked at a pattern gauge of 18 sts/4 ins, so a variety of worsted or Aran yarns would be suitable.


And if you are a sweater knitter or no, I wish you a happy Monday (that’s also known as Happy Castle Day, if you’re me), with possibly a refreshing beverage also. I’ll catch up with you again later in the week, with more knitting to be done.
Happy knitting!


Filed under cables, design, finished object: sweater, sweaters