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The Pluie Cardigan: Intarsia in the Rain

Sep 24, 2012

The Pluie Cardigan by Alex Capshaw-Taylor, from the Fall 2012 issue of Interweave Knits
There are a lot of sweaters that caught my eye in the Fall 2012 issue of Interweave Knits, but the Pluie Cardigan (pluie is French for "rain") was the one that stuck with me.

It's so cute! I love the umbrella design; maybe it's because I lived in Seattle for twenty years and I had an umbrella with me almost all the time, plus one stashed in the car for emergencies.

Anyway, Alex Capshaw-Taylor's Pluie Cardigan is worked in intarsia. I know—an entire sweater worked in intarsia! Seems daunting, but I've got a couple of tips for you to make intarsia knitting easier. Here's Eunny Jang, co-host of Knitting Daily TV and editor of Interweave Knits, to show you a couple of easy ways to manage your yarn while knitting.

I love Eunny's tip about using loose, yard-long lengths of yarn and just pulling them out of the "yarn mass" every now and again. I used this technique when I knit an R2D2 hat for my nephew and it was easy to manage the yarns without much tangling. The Pluie is a larger project, obviously, so I think the bobbin technique might be better and leave fewer ends to weave in.

The weaving-in of ends is one of the biggest complaints I hear about intarsia knitting. Yes, there will be ends to weave in. Just put on your big-girl panties and deal with it, okay? The finished Pluie Cardigan is so worth it!

A closeup of the reverse side of the Pluie. Look at all of those beautifully worked intarsia umbrellas!     
I popped over to designer Alex Capshaw-Taylor's blog, Knitting on Top of the World, and here's what she has to say about this cardigan: "Pluie was inspired by a rainy weekend day—umbrellas to will the rain away and a cardigan to stay warm and cozy while curled up with a book. I got the idea of doing an all-over motif from Victoria Beckham's spring 2012 cat dress. I'm thrilled with the result. Not for the faint of heart, this intarsia cardigan is great for knitters looking for a challenge."

The challenge of this project is just working the intarsia, and many think it's more of a hassle than a challenge. However, I think it's fun, and it's wonderful to watch the design emerge as you go. Like stranded knitting, I get the just-one-more-row syndrome because I want to see what comes next!

This is the perfect sweater pattern to work on this fall and winter. You'll have it done in time for spring showers!

Like me, you'll find a pattern that sticks with you in every issue of Interweave Knits. Subscribe now so you don't miss anything!


P.S. Do you have any tips for intarsia knitting? Share them with us in the comments!

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Miryam wrote
on Sep 29, 2012 4:16 PM

Kathleen, I am wondering about the idea of taking this pattern and turning it into a pullover. I really don't "do" cardigans. Is there an easy idea for conversion? I subscribe, so I'm presuming I have the issue or I'll have it shortly.

Laura927 wrote
on Sep 29, 2012 1:00 PM

"big girl panties" = tacky and rude. Find a better, more intelligent way to express the idea. Just sayin'

CarolynS44 wrote
on Sep 29, 2012 12:24 PM

I have not been able to find a copy of the fall INTERWEAVE magazine.  Stores only have the Holiday Knitting one.  How do I get a copy of the above "pluie" pattern?

katj67 wrote
on Sep 26, 2012 3:42 PM

Have sound only.  Never used to have a problem viewing the videos until recently.  This is not Knitting Daily's only video I was unable to view.  Has something been updated that could have caused this problem?

robin elaine wrote
on Sep 26, 2012 10:15 AM

I am unable to view to video but do have sound.

TanyaH@12 wrote
on Sep 24, 2012 1:21 PM

I love working with all the colors of intarsia but I do not like the look of the inside of the piece especially baby sweaters is there a secret to making the inside less messy. Thank you

on Sep 24, 2012 11:17 AM

I took a weekend workshop with Karen Allen (of Raiders of the Lost Ark fame) who has a fiber business in the Berkshires and is a very talented intarsia knitter. She uses the  pull a hunk of yarn method of working intarsia that is mentioned here instead of bobbins, but more to the point she weaves the ends in as she goes, eliminating the need to weave all those tails in later.  It's a great method -- cutting it off to a short tail and weaving them around the next few stitches as you go. Brilliant and she produces beautiful intarsia work.  

kibs wrote
on Sep 24, 2012 11:12 AM

Maybe it's fixed now, but I had no problem with the video.

anneleonas wrote
on Sep 24, 2012 10:30 AM

I can hear her speaking, but there is no video to see.

on Sep 24, 2012 10:14 AM

no video

on Sep 24, 2012 10:13 AM

no video

LMLF wrote
on Sep 24, 2012 9:40 AM

Where is the video?

Helenetm wrote
on Sep 24, 2012 9:07 AM

I love it!

I moreover already realized it!

I who like the Jacquard loom I adored making it. But I brought in the sons as one goes along for not not to have to make it for the end!

Saddened for my English... I am French!:)

MerryMixer wrote
on Sep 24, 2012 9:05 AM

If I make this, I might go you one better!  Don't knit the umbrella handle in intarsia  (just begin with the large part of the umbrella), but leave a longer tail it the beginning.  Then, use that tail to duplicate-stitch or just embroider a handle for your umbrella.  You're creating the handle and sewing in the end at the same time.