KnitBits #214 from Berroco

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Reconstructing the Cardigan

It was 10 years ago that I discovered the shawl with sleeves while shopping at a favorite boutique in Florence, Italy. This new silhouette evolved on the heels of the Pashmina Shawl craze and thus opened a pandora's box of cardigan possibilities. StevieWe designed Stevie, a cardigan that was simply a rectangle with sleeves. It was very popular at the time and in retrospect was just the beginning of so many great silhouettes.

Several years later, I spotted a piece in one of the booths at Pitti Filati, a coat that was created around a circle. "Brilliant!" I thought, "but how could I interpret this new inspiration in our collection?"

Meanwhile Norah was exploring new sweater constructions as well. When she published her first book, Knitting Nature, I was intrigued by the silhouettes that she created, which Fleurwere inspired by shapes in nature. I was charmed by her ability to use these shapes to create forms that draped and fit on the body.

After her book launch, Norah joined our team at Berroco. Our two approaches came together to create what we like to call "reconstructed" cardigans that are hybrids of geometric shapes and traditional pieces. One of our first collaborations was the circle cardigan Fleur, answering my circle cardigan dreams. Since then we have published may of our joint designs and she has created some great pieces, Capecho and Russian Coat in Vogue Knitting and Tilted Duster in Interweave Knits that have evolved from these early pieces.

Lotus knit in Japer™

Today's free pattern is Lotus, a Jasper™ cardi with Norah's signature approach to fit and flair.
FREE Pattern Instructions

Lotus (back)
Audio Clip


Tina from Saskaatchewan wrote:  "I want to knit your free pattern, Montparnasse, because it looks so great on the mannequin. It is just the style I love. MontparnasseI will knit it in Pure®Merino as you have recommended, but I am concerned about the following. From the line drawing of the pattern pieces it surely looks like the size large will be very small. The shoulder seams are only a couple of inches long and when I add that measurement to the back neck, I see that the cross back will be very narrow. Is there a mistake in the measurements on the line drawing? I want to be sure that it will fit me because it is a significant investment in time and money."

Tina, thanks for writing, we have had this inquiry from several other knitters so your letter gives me a good opportunity to explain to all who are interested. Montparnasse is one of those reconstructed cardigans in which:

1. The sleeve caps are an unusual semi-raglan fashion therefore you can't read the cross back measurement on the schematic drawing in the traditional manner.
2.  The collar actually becomes part of the shoulder. I finished this sweater myself. I picked up all around the center fronts and back neck to create a telescoping collar that actually becomes an extension of the fronts and back neck.
3.  The fronts aren't the same length as each other.
4.  The seams are sewn to the outside.

There were some corrections to the pattern since it was originally posted in KnitBits. I recommend that you refresh your screen and print out the revised pattern before you begin. This is a good rule to follow before you start knitting any pattern you download from our site. As soon as we find any typo or error, we make a change on our website.

All the best,

Margery Winter
Creative Director

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