design process

Royal Treatment Ribbed Cardigan

Photography © Paul Amato for lvarepresents.com © 2011 SoHo Publishing Company

My ribbed cardigan design is in the Winter issue of Knit Simple which is on the newsstands now. I’m so excited that it’s the first featured pattern in the magazine.

The publishers sent me some decadent, Baby Alpaca Chunky (by Cascade Yarns) for the project. I loved it which is why I’m so disappointed that I don’t get to keep the sweater. I wonder what the Vogue Knitting people do with all of the designs from the past issues of all of their magazines and books. Hmmm, makes you wonder …

Highlights of this cardigan include the varying ribs starting with a deep hem of 1 x 1 rib, followed by a 1 x 3 rib through the waist and finally a 1 x 7 rib across the bodice. Waist shaping is achieved not with the ribbing—because the alpaca doesn’t have enough elasticity and memory—but by using progressively smaller and then larger needles. A set of interchangeable needles really comes in handy.

Originally I designed the sweater to have a standing high collar. Because I was given the alpaca I knew it wouldn’t have the strength to stay up so I adapted the front bands so the collar could flop open and the selvage would be enclosed. It looks great both buttoned up and open which makes the sweater all the more versatile. I love this technique and I’m sure I’ll use it again.

When knitting with alpaca it’s important to knit a sizable gauge swatch and then hang it to dry after soaking and squeezing out the water in a towel. Alpaca’s a dense fibre and it will stretch while you wear it. By blocking your swatch in this manner you’ll get a good sense of how much it will stretch. Don’t forget to measure it before and after blocking!

If you’re not using alpaca you might need to add a little length to the body and sleeves. Check out this design on Ravelry to add it to your “faves” or “queue.”

 

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