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I Can't Find a Pattern for this Yarn!

Apr 1, 2013

That's what I was saying a few months ago, after I impulse-bought some beautiful sparkly S. Charles Luna. It's brown with the most delightful golden sparkle. It's 71 percent mohair, and it's really fine, so I thought I'd run it with another yarn to add a special touch.

Here's the back of my sweater. You can see the halo of brown mohair and the twisted ribbing at the bottom.
I had sweater quantity of Madelinetosh Sport, in a beautiful bluish color—Mare—and when I pulled it out, I thought, "Nah. The brown would just make the blue dull." Not so! I'm so glad I swatched. The two yarns blended beautifully and the subtle variegated color in the Madelinetosh was enhanced by the brownish sparkly mohair of the Luna. I fell in love with the combo.

And then I started looking for a pattern that would go with the yarn. I just couldn't find anything! I swatched a cable pattern and saw that the yarn was too dark to really show off the cable work. Then I swatched a lace pattern, and I wasn't happy with that, either. The mohair filled in the laciness of the pattern a little too much.

So my original stockinette swatch got lonely in its Ziplock bag. I looked at it longingly every once in awhile, and continued looking for patterns, but nothing clicked. One day, the light bulb went on, and I thought, "I can't find anything because what I really want is a plain, stockinette cardigan." The stockinette swatch perfectly showed of the nuances in the yarn, and I love cardigans.

I wanted to make the sweater fit me perfectly, of course, so I pulled out The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd. This book is full of formulas for all kinds of sweater knitting patterns, including cardigans.

Everything is based on your gauge swatch. What you do is knit a good-sized swatch (mine was about 5 X 5-inches), and then decide which style and size you want to knit. The book contains formulas for all kinds of sweaters: raglan, set-in sleeves, dropped shoulder, modified drop shoulder, cardigan, V-neck, crew neck, short, or long. There are fifteen sizes and five gauges provided for each sweater style; that's more than 450 pattern options!

My choice was a crew-neck cardigan with set-in sleeves, so I'm using this chart:
The formula for my simple, stockinette cardigan! What could be simpler? (I know it says "pullover" above—that's because the backs are the same for the pullover and the cardigan.)

I decided to knit the 52-inch bust, and my gauge was 5 stitches per inch, so I cast on 130 stitches. Isn't that easy? You can knit whatever sweater you want with whatever yarn you want to use!

I did a twisted stitch rib (knitting into the back leg of knit stitches and the back leg of purl stitches), which doesn't show up all that well with the mohair, but it stands out more than a regular rib would. I'm going to knit the button bands in twisted rib as I knit the fronts, so there will be six columns of ribbing down the front instead of the usual ribbing that grows sideways out of the fronts.

I can do this because the twisted rib is tighter than regular rib so I don't have to go down a needle size to get a good, firm rib look. And I'm going to do snaps instead of buttons. I've never used snaps on a cardigan before, and I think this is a good way to use them. And maybe I'll put just one great button at the top, to add a decorative element to go with the sparkle! (More is not enough, you know?)

Find your perfect pattern with our new kit: the Knitter's Handy Book series. You'll get The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, and The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweater Patterns. It's everything you need to create any kind of sweater!

Get your kit today and cast on a project with that yarn that's just been yearning for a pattern!


P.S. Have you used one of the Handy Books? Share your experience in the comments!

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Doodledaddy wrote
on May 20, 2013 3:20 PM

I, too, would like to know of the latest printing, and whether it is due to be reprinted any time soon?  I am new to the knitting world, and do not own a single book.  I just got  into it back around the end of October or beginning of November of 2012, and though I have learned and made quite a bit since then, I am searching for the best available reference book, book set, or computer program for calculating the things you mentioned, and for referencing different types of stitches, cast on stitches, and finishing stitches.  I may be new, but I am already well into making my very first cardigan with a shawl collar, large and small cables, and honeycomb stiches, and absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the whole process; the more detailed the better!  I do want to learn absolutely as much as I can about knitting, so I want knitting reference material to be as exhaustive as possible, for the least amount of money. as well.  Is this the best one to buy, or would anyone recomend something else?  

mbcrui wrote
on Apr 6, 2013 10:32 AM

LOVE LOVE LOVE this book.  It's my handy "go-to" book when I need  to know things like "If I change this pattern to this yarn, and it's 4 stitches to the inch instead of 5 stitches to the inch, am I going to have enough yarn?"  And "Oh, I like that cable pattern but want a cardigan instead of a pull over."  And even "25 Christmas gifts to make in 3 months... what am I going to make?"  

on Apr 6, 2013 10:28 AM

SNAPS?  I am interested in how you will be doing the snaps.  I just tried to put snaps on a swatch of sock yarn in preparations for putting them on a baby romper.  One of the snaps held tight and looked great.  The other tore a hole in the swatch!  

Starflower48 wrote
on Apr 6, 2013 9:07 AM

srander - I found the kit. Go to the top of the page, click on SHOP, then do a search for kits, scroll down and you will find the digital version. I just purchased the kit.

srander wrote
on Apr 6, 2013 8:34 AM

You mentioned a KIT the Knitter's Handy Book series. Where would I find that? Thanks

Relenned wrote
on Apr 6, 2013 7:38 AM

I noticed these books were printed in several different years. Can you please tell me what the most up to date printing is?

Thank you

MichelleN wrote
on Apr 5, 2013 2:27 AM

Can't understand why you don't release them as software. In book form it is hard to follow unless you photocopy and mark up or go to the trouble of writing out the parts you need to follow. I don't use them anywhere as much as I would or should, though I own them all.

on Apr 2, 2013 7:06 PM

I will share a photo when the sweater is done.

on Apr 2, 2013 2:45 AM

What is the finest yarn given in the charts please?  Does it go down to the old "4 ply"?  Does it give wraps per inch or just gauge?

Thanks, Margaret

Dubhglas wrote
on Apr 1, 2013 6:53 PM

I have "the Book of Patterns", and I have made everything with that book... sweaters for myself and the smallest grand-daughter... same pattern - different size, socks for my sisters and all of her boys and grand kids.  Hats.  Oh, at the hats!  pick the hat, chart it on graph paper and then add the counted cross stitch repeat...  It's a GREAT book.  For EVERYONE, not just beginners.  I'm just sorry that I didn't have it 30 years ago....

on Apr 1, 2013 4:33 PM

I have used the Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for several sweaters, most recently a navy-blue one with a few Celtic cables for my Small-ish Son for Christmas.  I learned to knit socks and hats and mittens and gloves from the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.  Ann Budd really jump-started my knitting!


marywoods wrote
on Apr 1, 2013 4:04 PM

These books are my go to knitting guides.  I love the fact that she has already done all the basic math and lists the yarn requirements.  My two guides, the pattern guide and sweater guide have a permanent home in my knitting basket.  I plan on ordering her 3rd one, top down sweaters as soon a possible.

Wendibtz wrote
on Apr 1, 2013 2:05 PM

I have this book and you have inspired me to take another look at it. I must admit that after I recieved this book  I paged through it onced and put it on the shelf. And you know why?  Nothing to do with what is probably a gold mine of information between the was the photographs of the finished sweaters on the models. They are quite simply the most awful I have EVER seen! It was like the majority of the sweaters were knit without any consideration for the size of the recipient (the model). And that's a shame to be put off because of the photos. But thanks to your post I've got it down off the shelf and I'll have another look.

jean guimond wrote
on Apr 1, 2013 1:26 PM

this is not a comment.   Would like to find a pattern for a baby tam.

on Apr 1, 2013 1:22 PM

I could start my own Ann Budd fan club - I *love* her books. I own all the Ann Budd "Handy" books - I got hooked years ago when the first one came out, and she spoiled me for any other book, because I much prefer making items to my gauge and yarn (and thread) than trying to fit into someone else's gauge! i've made at least 20 vests, cardigans, sweaters over the years, in all kinds of sizes,(daughters, nieces, babies, husband) using those books. I've bought the Top Down, haven't used it yet - I mostly do crochet when doing top down.

s_i_smith wrote
on Apr 1, 2013 10:05 AM

I own all three "Handy" books. I've used "The Book of Patterns" to make a couple of pairs of gloves that turned out great.

I used "The Book of Sweater Patterns" to adapt to top-down (that was before the "Top Down" book came out). I am a large woman and I have quite large, fleshy upper arms. While the rest of the patterns worked out all right, I found that the sleeves are much too narrow in the larger sizes. It seems clear that either no one tested the larger sized patterns or they were designed for women with sticks for arms. Kathleen, be careful when you get to your sleeves. You may have to adjust the pattern.

Iris Faigin wrote
on Apr 1, 2013 9:44 AM

I've used the Handy Book of Sweater Patterns quite often, especially when buying a yarn, like you, that I really love.  It is especially good when I think written patterns look a little "off" in terms of their instructions.  Ann Budd has neverl et me down.


Jelly Bean Knits

Jackieknit wrote
on Apr 1, 2013 9:29 AM

Can we see the whole sweater? You hooked me with this article but now I'm dying to see the finished product!

Anitac315 wrote
on Apr 1, 2013 9:05 AM

Kathleen, the color swatch looks amazing!  I really hope you'll do a follow up post when the sweater is done.  I'd love to see a picture of the finished object.  You have inspired me to pick up my needles again and get cracking on my sweater again after a few weeks away due to Spring Break and Easter busy-ness.