Interweave Knits Winter Galleries

Gerda's Livingstone Cardigan

Livingstone Cardigan by Amy Miller, knitted by Gerda Porter
Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, color# 3729, Chestnut, 11 skeins

Gerda's Measurements
Gerda usually wears a size 12-14 top. She's 5' 4" tall.
Bust: 38"
Waist: 36"
Hips: 30"

The yarn is scrumptious soft and cuddly and the pattern is fairly easy; I knitted the fronts, backs, and sleeves over a few days. The cables are so interesting, they kind of look like DNA strips!

I decided to knit the size 40½" based on the measurements of the schematic and my size 38" bust, and I used a size 9 needle. However, it turned out way too small and modifications had to be made.


—I knitted the pieces a little longer; I finished a full repeat of the 23-row cable pattern before starting the shaping.

—I decided to do a 2 X 2 rib for the sleeves. I like a more fitted sleeve, and the reverse stockinette stretches too much for me.

—Once I sewed everything together, which was simple due to the designer's garter edges, I tried on the sweater and it was way too small to close.

—I added 2 inches more on the collar so that I could close the sweater, I decided to just pin it shut instead of using the toggles.


Back view of the
Livingstone Cardigan

—The best way to move quickly through this pattern is to lose your cable needle and work the cables without one. This will help you to knit much more fluidly without having to stop and start fiddling with a third needle. The chunky weight of this yarn made it easy to work with.

—The charts may look difficult at a glance but once you figure out what the symbols stand for they are very simple. For example, if the cross on the front is going to the left that is the way the stitches will slant, if the cross is colored they are purled.

—Try using highlighter tape and moving it along as you go. Fold an end of it to make it easy to grab and move!

I adore knitting cables but I don't like the way the front of the sweater looks on me (I wish it took 20 pounds off me!). Perhaps just cables on the back would have been enough. It is a beautiful sweater, though, and the cabling is unique.

Ms. Miller is a very talented designer and her pattern was well written and fun to work.


Kathy's Livingstone Cardigan     

Livingstone Cardigan by Amy Miller, knitted by Kathy O'Neill
Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, color# 1662, Stone Blue, 10 skeins

Kathy's Measurements
Kathy usually wears a size 12 top; she's 5' 4" tall.
Bust: 38¾"
Waist: 33"
Hips: 40"

A couple of things really attracted me to this pattern. Number one on my list was the appeal of the baby alpaca yarn. It reminded me of an incredible trip to Peru I took with my family a few years back. A part of every market we visited included the pervasive barking of the sweater vendors. They were touting "the finest baby alpaca" used in the items they had for sale. Even my then 7th-grade son would not have anything else but a baby alpaca sweater. And I loved the toggle buttons, loop closures, and detailed cable designs.

This particular yarn is incredibly soft, somewhat like mohair but without quite as much shedding. (I still wouldn't wear polypro pants while working with it.) I used the Stone Blue without the tweed. Found some lovely, blueish mother of pearl 2-inch rectangular buttons to substitute for wooden toggles.

I did play with gauge a bit, trying to get a slightly smaller size. I ended up on size 10 needles. I was aiming for a 5 percent reduction, but I think the blocking process lessened that a bit. It fits, though!

I made it 17 inches long because I like longer sweaters, and I really like the length—covers the middle nicely!

The interlocking puzzle-piece cable pattern added a bit of a challenge to the back, but it goes quickly once you finish the first section of cable crosses. At first my computer-programmer brain was very tempted to line them up; I had a love/hate relationship with them for sure. Be careful on that setup row, it's really crucial to get it right. I had to do it a couple of times.

I struggled with keeping the pattern correct in the back sleeve decrease section, sometimes doing k2tog instead of p2tog—I just lived with it, though, and you can't really tell in the finished sweater. As you get fewer and fewer pattern stitches to work with, it helps to count from the center of your work out to see where exactly which stitch in the chart row starts the pattern. So give much careful attention to this section.

The Finishing

I forgot to increase the length of the collar front ribbed piece to account for my longer sweater. Darn it, that TV knitting always messes me up! (They do say that TV watching is mind-numbing, and now I know it's true.) And what a bunch of casting on that was. Ignored the suggestion to use the cable cast-on—it's too slow when I do it. It makes sense with a large number of stitches, however.

Not sure I like my rather lumpy, bumpy pearl reverse stockinette side of the sleeves as the right side. The stockinette side is so much more attractive! Thank goodness for the blocking process!

I blocked the separate pieces first so they would relax and be easier to seam. I used the mattress stitch for the sleeve and shoulder sections. The result was more attractive than whip stitch, and that part will actually show.

I probably don't want to wear this sweater in a rainstorm. An odor slightly less pleasant than "wet dog" wafted around the living room while I was blocking. Even got the family critter excited and sniffing around with a crazed look trying to locate the wild beast in the house!

The Livingston is a nice, cozy garment. I'm looking forward to wearing in our suddenly cold weather!

Audrey's Livingston Cardigan. She's still looking for the perfect buttons.

The Livingstone Cardigan, knitted by Audrey Dhillon and Sucia Dhillon
Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, color #4304, Blue, 11 skeins

Audrey's Measurements
Audrey usually wears a size 12-14 top. She's 5' 2" tall.
Bust: 40½"
Waist: 38¾"
Hips: 45"

When I saw this pattern I thought it would be a bit of a challenge for me but since it was on bigger needles I might be able to work it up in the time frame, however I had not allowed for the birth of my first granddaughter, the holidays, or being under the weather during my winter break!

I made size 40.5" bust and got gauge on 10.5 US needles.

I began work on the back before the holidays but didn't start the cable pattern until I returned to a busy work schedule in January, and with the deadline looming I diligently went to work on the back. I have some experience with cabling but this was more intense and it felt very tedious but I persevered on my own working through the pattern. I didn't think the cables looked right but I had been meticulous, I thought, about following each row in the cable chart, and I just carried on.

     Back view

It was taking me more time than I had so I pleaded with my daughter-in-law, Sucia, for help; she loves cable knitting and she agreed to work on the fronts as I completed the other pieces.

The sleeves and front band/collar worked up quickly—a day for each piece. I arranged to meet with an experienced knitter friend and Sucia to put the sweater together last Saturday. What a surprise; as I put my pieces on the table next to Sucia's front pieces, my cables on the back were a mess! Sucia volunteered to re-do the back, which she did in just two days, and that is how this came to be a group project.

I figured out where I went wrong. I followed the chart as if I were knitting in the round and not back and forth. So, when I finished row 1 of the chart, I went back to the right-hand side of the chart and worked that row it, and so on, not going from right to left and then left to right, but just knitting each row of the chart reading right to left. Sheesh. Rookie mistake, right? I knew it wasn't looking great, but I followed the pattern blindly. Sometimes that's a good plan, but not this time!

Now that I understand what I did incorrectly I'd like to make this pattern again, maybe I'll make one for Sucia! I didn't make any modifications to the pattern and it was very easy to follow. The directions were clear; I believe my head was just overwhelmed by the rest of my life and that in turn made focusing on the chart a problem.

One change I might make is to add a few more inches to the collar by doing more short rows. I'd like it to be a little wider.

Overall I LOVE the sweater and know I will wear it often, the yarn is soft and oh-so cozy. I am still looking for the perfect buttons and will add those at a later time.

This project was a team effort—thank goodness for friends and family who gave up their personal knitting time to help me reach the finish!

Dinah's Leif Slipover     

Leif Slipover, by Adrienne Larsen, knitted by Dinah Demers
Cascade Yarns Lana Grande, in color 6045, Latte, 9 skeins

Leif Slipover, back view

Dinah's Measurements
Dinah usually wears a size 10 top. She's 5' 11¾" tall.
Bust: 35½"
Waist: 32"
Hips: 41½"

For my Leif Slipover, I selected Cascade Yarns Lana Grande, in color 6045—Latte, and decided to knit the size 39½.  I choose to use a bamboo needle, and because I knit rather loosely, I went down one needle size from the recommended size 17 to a size 15.

There is a lot going on in this pattern, with the cable patterns separated by other pattern stitches, and I found it extremely important to pay attention to the row I was on in order to execute the required shaping.

I did run into a snag after completing the waist shaping. When the instructions say "K1, pick up purl bump from st below st on right needle and place on holder on WS," I did so, but I could not see anywhere later in the directions where these picked up stitches were specifically referenced! With some prompt and helpful assistance from Kathleen and Joni Coniglio (Senior Project Editor for Interweave Knits), I was soon back on track. Joni told me that "The stitches on holders are the ones you will be placing onto the needle at the beginning of the back instructions (page 86, 3rd column)." So if you get stuck at this section, now you know what to do!

I followed the pattern as written, except I elected to finish off the slipover with a garter stitch edging for the neckline. I felt that I'd get much more wear out of the sweater with a collar rather than the hood. I really like the versatility of the collar—turning it up or down really changes the look of the garment.

Overall, I am really pleased with this pattern—the cables really pop, the yarn is bouncy and shows fantastic stitch definition, and the vest is wonderfully warm and cuddly. I'll be wearing it all this week, as our weather finally turns to winter.

     Melanie's Leif Slipover

Leif Slipover, by Adrienne Larsen, knitted by Melanie Gillette
Cascade Yarns Lana Grande, in color 6045, Latte, 9 skeins

Melanie's Measurements
Melanie is 5 foot 8½ inches tall and usually wears a size med (8) top
Bust: 36"
Waist: 28"
Hips: 37"

I love the look of the cabled vest and hood. After much debate, I chose to make it in gray as pictured; unimaginative, perhaps, but so versatile! I used the Cascade Yarns Lana Grande. I also debated on size. I chose the 39½ size because the 35-inch circumference would have been an inch small. In retrospect, I wish I had knit the 35-inch size and had negative ease.

Hood-down view

The vest knit up too big for me, but I still like it. My swatch was the correct gauge, but the vest is a little too loose for my taste. I love the cabling and design, although I did run into a few confusing points along the way. A few things I stumbled over in the directions:

—The instructions have us move markers in row 9 of the body, but don't mention we need to keep the extra knit stitches until row 16 (for size 39½.)

—On the back, we pick up purl bumps we set aside on stitch holders while working the front. But the stitches are now called left-side stitches and right-side stitches.

—On the back, after the first upper body chart and before the second, several stitches are added. However, the instructions do not tell us whether to make purl stitches or knit stitches. It becomes the pattern down the center back, so I did a knit purl knit pattern; but I think all purl stitches would look better.

I was worried it would take a long time, but the vest knits up fairly quickly, even for a slower knitter like me. It helped to have some cabling experience as well. The shape of the vest is so flattering, and the length is great for leggings or straight leg jeans with boots. I'm excited to start wearing this in our wintry weather.

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