A Knitter’s Feast: The Zarabel Sweater

Sometimes a pattern catches your eye and you can't stop thinking about it. Whether it's the yarn that gets you, or the texture or fit, there's just something about certain designs that grab you and won't let go. You put them in your queue, or buy the patterns or books and keep them on top of your pile of knitting to dos, and you're so happy when you wind your yarn and make your swatches. At least that's what happens to me!

And I think I have a new one for you—it's today's free pattern! 

The Zarabel Sweater

We're so excited about Margit Sage's online-exclusive design: Zarabel is a sweet, intricately textured pullover in a modern wool yarn.

Margit, known as "Fiber Fiend" online, is known for her beautiful cables and fitted knits, and Zarabel is a perfect addition to Margit's design collection.

It's a knitter's feast—with shaping built right into woven cables and delicate lace accents, there's enough detail to keep you knitting well into the winter.

When I first saw Zarabel, I admired how the lace and cables worked together so well. Cabled knits can be bulky, but since this one is interspersed with lace, you get the best of both worlds—a lovely cabled sweater with some delicate, lace "air-conditioning."

The lace pattern is called Cat's Paw lace, and it's just beautiful, as you can see in the detail photo at right. I think this lace pattern would make a beautiful center pattern in a shawl—maybe knit out of a fine silk or cashmere mohair or something! I love the openwork look and the circular pattern. This lace repeat is only 6 rows, too, so you'll get it memorized in no time.

Whoa! These charts look hard!

I know they do. Charts are like that for me, too. I know some of you can look at charts and see the picture in knitted stitches, but I have to work the chart for at least one repeat before I can see it in my knitting.

I was browsing through an article in Knitscene recently, and I thought I'd share some tips about reading charts.

Charts 101

Cable patterns are often written in chart form to save space. If you see a chart, don't panic—they're actually quite easy to decipher once you get the hang of them.

Charts tell you how many stitches are in your cable and which way to twist them. The X shape spans all the stitches in the cable. The angle of the top leg of the X tells you where to hold your cable needle (in front of your work for a left-leaning cable or back in back of your work for a right-leaning cable) and therefore, which way the cable will slant.

When the top leg if the X in a chart angles to the right, you will have a right-slanting cable, and vice versa. For instance, indicates a left-slanting cable. The key to a chart will tell you how to work the actual cable.

Take It One Line at a Time

What's really helped me is taking a chart line by line, using a sticky note placed right above the line I'm working on. That way I can see how the work is playing out below and compare it to the chart, and the row I'm working on is isolated from the rows to come. See how much easier it is to concentrate on one row rather than the whole chart?

This vs. This!

And, here are some tutorials we've shared with you recently in Knitting Daily, just in case you need to brush up on some skills before you cast on for this project: cabling without a cable needle 1 and cabling without a cable needle 2  and here's some info on following lace charts. Once you get going, you'll be so anxious to see what comes next that you'll whiz through the cables and lace.

And as if you needed more convincing, this sweater is worked in the round from the bottom cast-on to the armholes, so you'll be able to try it on as you go. We've labeled this sweater as advanced because of the combination of lace and cable work and the increasing and decreasing in the cable pattern. You can see the cable decreasing in the detail photo at left.

Go ahead and download Zarabel now; maybe you can work on swatching for it over the weekend!



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