Katie's Love Braid Cardigan

Our incredible stylist, Katie Himmelberg, is a pretty smashing knitter as well—she's appeared on this blog with some of her finished projects before, and has designed projects for Knitscene. When we were working on the Knitscene Summer 2013 issue, she fell in love with the Love Braid Cardigan designed by Melissa Wehrle.

Knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico yarn, this open cardigan features an alluring detail in the back—stitches are bound off in strips, then looped to form the distinctive heart-shaped braid. Katie took hers one step further and knit the cardigan as a pullover, working the braid on both the front and back of the sweater. Read on to hear about Katie's process!

When I saw the Love Braid Cardigan by Melissa Wherle from the Summer 2013 issue of Knitscene, I was immediately drawn to the prominent design feature of the center-back; the loops that form a column of giant knit stitches. It is so cleverly designed, especially the way the loops stand up from the fabric and show the contrasting reverse stockinette texture of the wrong side. The Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico yarn is so silky and drapey that the loops hang just right. I loved it so much I wanted to make a garment with double the fun, so I converted the pattern into a pullover with the column on the front as well as the back.

To start, I knit the back exactly as written in the pattern. Then I began the front following the back directions until I got to the point where I wanted the front neck to fall. I bound off the same number of stitches in the center on a bind-off row for the loops, then began working each shoulder separately. Using the back shoulders as a guide, I calculated how many stitches I needed to decrease in the neck shaping so that the front would match, then decreased those and continued to work until the front and back matched in length and number of stitches at the shoulder.

Since the Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico is so wonderfully drapey, I decided to keep this project knit in two pieces rather than circular. Seaming was a dream with this single-ply yarn, there was no splitting or bulky seams. I picked up stitches around the neckline and finished it off with a 1×1 rib to match the hem.

In the end, the pullover used the same number of skeins called for in the pattern. If I were to make it again, I think I'd choose a larger size and make an oversized tee out of it. The size I chose has about 3” of ease at the bust and I think I'd prefer to go a size or two larger. But I'm glad to have such an interesting layering piece to add to my fall wardrobe!

Have you converted a cardigan to a pullover, or a pullover to a cardigan? Let me know about your experiences in the comments!

Happy knitting,

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