Greetings, cable-loving knitters, to the second Knit-Along (KAL) by Lion Brand! I am very excited to be the host of this KAL and look forward to making this gorgeous Cable Luxe Tunic along with so many of you. I was thrilled that so many of you voted for this tunic because I have wanted to make it for awhile myself! As a knitwear designer who sends away much of what I make, I have often referred to my two daughters as the "Cobbler's Children" based on the story of a cobbler who sold all of the shoes he made, resulting in his kids being barefoot! The oldest of my kids, Lizzie, will be getting a fabulous cable sweater as a result of this KAL that she can wear as she goes off to college next year.
I have been a knitting teacher and freelance knit and crochet designer for about 15 years now. I learn so much from my students when it comes to explaining how to knit or finish a project, so I will do my best to answer questions or give you hints to help you with knitting this beautiful sweater.
First things first. Go ahead and download that pattern for the Cable Luxe Tunic! It is only free to download until November 27th, so make this the first thing on your list of things to do.
Now comes the important question of what yarn to use. Although the yarn used in the pattern is Wool-Ease, there are many yarn choices perfect for this pattern. Other yarns that would be great to use would be Vanna's Choice, Cotton-Ease, Fishermen's Wool, or Lion Cashmere Blend. Just remember to use a yarn listed as "Category 4 – medium worsted-aran weight" yarn and make sure you have at least the same amount of total yardage as called for in the Wool-Ease to make the size you want. A smooth, light, or bright color yarn will be best to show off all those cables!
What yarn did I pick out? Actually, I decided on Wool-Ease. One reason is that there were so many great color choices. The one I chose was a perfect pink, Blush Heather, that I know my daughter will love. Secondly, as she will be heading off to college this next year, this will make a wonderfully warm sweater that she will be able to wash and dry on her own. I will be making the small for her and I already have my 7 balls of Wool-Ease. I'm ready to get knitting!
My students know I am quite a stickler when it comes to making a gauge swatch, and it is always the first step to making sure a sweater will be the size you want. The pattern gives 2 different gauges, one in stockinette stitch and another in cable pattern. I concentrated on the gauge for the stockinette stitch, which will tell me the size of the largest needle to use. The gauge calls for 18 sts = 4". An easy way I get the gauge is to make a swatch starting with the size needle called for -- a US 8 (5 mm). I like to cast on either 3 or 4 stitches on each side of the 18 sts to make a garter stitch border, which makes it very easy to measure the center 18 sts in stockinette stitch. When I made the swatch using the US 8 needles, the measurement over the 18 sts was about 3.5" -- too small. To make the stitches larger, I went up one needle size to a US 9 and the swatch measured a perfect 4" between the garter stitch borders. For this sweater, I'm most concerned about the number of stitches, rather than rows, as it will affect the width of the garment (although the row gauge was right on as well!) I will use a needle one size smaller -- US 8 -- for the circular needle for the yoke of the sweater.
Now, I'm ready for the first part of this sweater –- making the beautiful cabled strip (see above) that will go all around the tunic just below the yoke. This cable pattern is a 16 row repeat pattern, so I find either marking down on paper what row I'm on or using a row counter a great help. I will be busy knitting this pattern for 44" during the two weeks until my next post. In the meantime, print that pattern, get your yarn, get swatching, and have a very happy Thanksgiving! (Our next post will be Dec. 4.) I look forward to seeing your pictures (join our Flickr group) and hearing from you!