Posted by: jinniver | June 9, 2009

Wanted: A Simple Cardigan Pattern

About 3 weeks ago, I posted the story of my custom hand-dyed yarns, Corpus Christi Beach and Texas Sky.

3IG Corpus Christi Beach and Texas Sky (1)

So, now I have all of this beautiful yarn…and no idea what to do with it.

Well, not no idea.  I have enough yarn to make sweaters for myself and both children.  But that’s about as much as I’d decided.

I’m not thinking ahead to the kids’ sweaters just yet.  Jeffrey has one already, and I’ve got plans for some items for Lexie for her current size.  I’d like to make their sweaters a bit bigger so they can wear them a bit longer (since I’ll be using such beautiful yarn).  But I am ready to get started on mine.

I know in general what I’m looking for.  I want a cardigan.  It has to come in plus sizes (48″ bust minimum).  The lines should be clean, the look casual, and the stitch pattern simple.  It wouldn’t make any sense to do an intricate stitch pattern anyway, since it would get lost in the yarn.  The yarn clearly has to be the star–it will be no matter what I do.  So I’d better find a pattern that can be a good supporting cast for my prima donna yarn.

One of the first patterns I thought of was the Minimalist Cardigan. I don’t have the copy of the magazine that it was printed in, but I’m fine with buying the perfect pattern–the yarn is worth it. I love the look of this cardigan…but I’d rather not tackle an entire sweater of moss stitch. I’d also like a sweater that I can button; that gives me more options with how to wear it.

So, I initiated a wide-open search in Ravelry’s pattern database. I love the advanced search; it allows me to really narrow down exactly what I’m looking for. If I wanted, for example, I can search for a child’s cardigan pattern that’s available for free and online, knit with no more than 500 yds of worsted weight yarn. In this case, I only filtered for “knitting,” “cardigan,” and “worsted.” Result: 48 pages of patterns.

It’s taken me less time to page through the options than I expected (although I’m still only on page 25). But it’s been easy with the thumbnails and titles to eliminate a lot of the options. I can quickly see which cardigans don’t have those clean lines…and if the title has the word “cabled” in in, I can move on without even looking.

One of the first options I found was March Basic, a free pattern from Berroco. It’s stockinette stitch, clean lines, buttons…but it’s a little less casual than I wanted. Of course, that might be just based on how it’s posed and the fact that the sample was knit in solid, dark colored yarns.

I also put out a call for help to my fellow Three Irish Girls fans, who gave me a couple more ideals:

  • The just-released Monday Morning Cardigan:  at first I thought this was a ribbing pattern, which I like the look of but don’t enjoy knitting.  Instead, it’s a slip stitch pattern on a reverse stockinette background.  It’s got the pluses of March Basic, but a more casual feel.  Still, maybe a bit more fitted than I’m looking for.
  • The DROPS 105-39 Jacket, also a free pattern, is a bit more casual.  It’s longer than I’d want, but I could shorten it.  I’m just don’t think I like the way it looks in the plus sizes (the other great benefit to Ravelry is that I can look at all the the linked patterns, and several people model their finished items for the pictures so I can see how it looks on all body sizes/shapes, not just the model).
  • Madeline, another free Berroco pattern, might be the winner.  It looks nice and casual, simple and clean…and I like the trim detail in another color.  That would allow me to add a trim in the Texas Sky colorway.

I haven’t made my mind up yet…but I’ve got some good options to work with, at least.



  1. Have you looked at some of the modified versions of wicked? It looks really great as a cardigan. Here is a version that was done in the 44″-47″ inch. I’ve used this pattern myself and found it really easy. Good luck! If not, I still have my copy of the minimalist cardigan (wanted to knit it) if you decide on that one I’ll send it to you. Find me on ravelry as autumnblossom.

    • That’s a cute sweater! Yet another entry into my queue… I’m not a fan of the wide neckline, since I can’t wear anything like that without something underneath (big bust = wide bra straps!), so it’s not going to give me the look I want here…but it’ll be cute for something else, that’s for sure. Thanks!

  2. Madeline is cute – and it can be dressed up or down – I like versatility since it takes me forever to knit a sweater ( no attention span) I mailed Jeffrey’s t- shirt this afternoon and a National Guard Lanyard a Guardsman gave me at the track – it’s got something on it for a free poster ( or I gave Curt’s to my neighbor’s kid who is pretending it’s a Nascar hadcard so he can just play with it) Obviously I’m not getting any use out of it!

    • Thanks, Ria! I know Jeffrey will be so excited. 🙂

  3. Also – wanted to thank you- your yarn helped me decide on the colorway for a cotton beach throw I’m making in another group. went blue, sand color and a blue/green/sand varigated.

  4. That yarn is GORGEOUS. Maybe the Weekend Retreat Cardi, with alterations? I lengthened the sleeves and the body, & built in the bands (added to body knitting, not knit later) to button all the way down. It’s a simple stitch pattern, not too open of a neckline, lets the yarn shine. Also, I liked it because it doesn’t emphasis my chest. It’s very wearable.

    Good luck. Such pretty, pretty yarn.


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