Sweater Workshop: Knitting the Jali Cardigan

A note from Kathleen: The Jali Cardigan by Pam Powers is a standout among standouts in the Summer 2010 issue of Interweave Knits. Knits editor Eunny Jang is here to look at the pattern in-depth for us, including sharing some styling ideas!

So here's Eunny to talk us through the Jali!

The Jali Cardigan

The Jali Cardigan by Pam Powers
The Jali Cardigan, back view

The Jali Cardigan is one of my favorite sweaters from the Summer issue of Interweave Knits. Let's take a walk through why it's so wonderful:

Jali chart
Jali stitch detail

1) A truly lovely stitch pattern. Pam was inspired by an eyelet and cable motif she found in a Japanese stitch dictionary, which formed large, separate crosses over a body fabric.

After playing around, she found a way to line up the eyelet diagonals to form an interlocking mesh fabric crossed by cables at each intersection—very handsome! It reminds me of the geometric latticed stone screens found in Islamic and Indian architecture—hence, the Jali Cardigan.

The pattern's lush ornateness is a result of repetition. Though it looks complicated, anyone who can make a yarnover, a decrease, and a cable can turn out a lovely result—as you can see in the chart and corresponding stitch detail at right, the eyelet lines and cables flow into each other in a very orderly and predictable way, making it easy to catch and correct errors quickly.

This is one of those fantastic stitch patterns that just works—you'll know it inside and out after a couple repeats, and be able to knit it without even referring to the chart.

Jali schematic

2) Simple, straightforward construction. This sweater is like a canvas for showing off the gorgeous stitch—no frills or furbelows to distract from the pattern, which itself is all the ornamentation needed. A simple collar and clean edge treatments provide an unfussy frame for the canvas. It pleases the eye, but it's good knitting as well: Pam begins the sweater at the bottom edge and knits in one straight piece until the armholes (1). The body splits there for right and left fronts and the back, leaving simply shaped armholes (2). Plain sleeves, knitted separately, are seamed in during finishing (3).

Finally, a band is picked up all the way from one bottom front corner, around the neck, and down to the other front corner, and then worked flat in a simple stockinette/reverse stockinette welting for a generous collar that drapes and moves well (4).

Simple, easy, with minimal finishing and minimal fuss.

Jali styling options

3) Wearability. I love sweaters that are wearable across seasons—the magazine sample is knitted in a cotton bamboo blend that, combined with the slightly open stitch, is cool and breathable enough to wear as a summer jacket, but this sweater would be perfect as a cool-weather layer as well.

The shape is classic and simple—tailored at the shoulders for clean fit but forgiving at the waist—making it flattering for a wide spectrum of body shapes and sizes. And it's flexible enough to wear in a ton of different ways: I might wear it as a loose, slouchy cardigan over a fitted, flirty summer dress—or use it to top off jeans and a tee shirt on the weekend—or belt it for a neater silhouette and wear it in place of a jacket at the office.

You could even wear it as a beach cover up over a swimsuit (you'll have to use your imagination for that styling option, though!).

At Interweave Knits, we're interested in sweaters that fit—your body, your knitting style, and your life. How will you knit the Jali Cardigan? Leave a comment and let us know!

Happy knitting,

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