My new favorite: The French Braid Pullover

The French Braid Pullover by Angela Hahn

I've finished several hats for Christmas presents and now I'm itching to get back to sweater knitting. Whether knitting for women or knitting for men, there's one thing I know about my knitting personality: I love working cabled sweaters.

I remember seeing Angela Hahn's French Braid Pullover in the Fall 2009 Interweave Knits and liking it a lot. That stockinette cable down the front is really attractive and different. And it's aptly named isn't it? It really does remind me of the French braids I tried to do with my hair and was never successful with!

With all of the new patterns coming my way, I forgot about the French Braid Pullover until I saw it in The Interweave Knits 2012 Calendar: The Sweater Workshop, where it's featured as part of the "Twist and Turn" collection.

The French Braid is a relatively easy knitting pattern with raglan sleeve construction and the super-wide cable. Knit in worsted-weight yarn in the round it's a pretty quick knit, too.

I like this sweater just as Angela designed it, but I think I'll make some mods to suit my figure. While the cables down the arms are certainly lovely, I won't include them in my version because I don't want to add bulk to my arms, especially at the upper arm and shoulder.

To make this modification properly, I'll need to use my gauge swatch to recalculate the appropriate number of stitches to cast on for the sleeves. Cables pull fabric in quite a bit; if I used the prescribed number of stitches I'd end up with huge, baggy sleeves with too much fabric bunched up under the arms, not to mention a way-too-big-neck. I'm up for the challenge of this modification, though. I love this sweater that much.

There's a cable running up the back of the sweater, too, and I'll keep that to make the knitting interesting. I omit back patterning a lot in my sweaters, for no really good reason except that I'm lazy and I want to be done knitting so I can wear the sweater!

Plait Cable

This cable is unlike any I've ever knitted. It's a 16-stitch plait cable, with extra stitches on each side to make the cable look really wide. Here's the cable pattern:

Plait Cable (28-st panel)
Rnds 1-11 and 13-23: P2, k23, k1tbl, p2.
Rnd 12: P2, k8, sl 8 sts to cn and hold in front, k8, k8 from cn, p2.
Rnd 24: P2, sl 8 sts to cn and hold in back, k8, k8 from cn, k7, k1tbl, p2.
Rep Rnds 1-24 for patt.

The cable panel is really easy to work once you get it set up. The last stitches on each side of the cable stand out nicely because they're knitted through the back loop, and the whole panel is set off with two purl stitches, which make the vertical lines on the edges of the panel.

Designer Angela Hahn notes that it's easy to drop stitches or knit two stitches together while working the cable crosses, so it's a good idea to count your stitches after each cross. Better safe than really sorry!

Angela also provides two overall lengths in this pattern; because of the number of rows between cable crosses, the body length can't be easily adjusted without altering the appearance of the neck edge. The two lengths are 25 inches and 26¾ inches. I'm going to do the longer version.

Want to join me? Download your copy of the French Braid Pullover today and cast on!


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