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Knitting the Bethany Cardigan (It's a Free Pattern!)

Aug 2, 2013
The Bethany Cardigan by Mathew Gnagy
Bethany Cardigan, back view

It’s been in the 90s here in Spokane, and as much as I love warm weather, it’s a little toasty even for me. I don't much feel like getting out my knitting needles when it's this hot!

So I’ve been spending time indoors, watching videos on Craft Daily. My latest favorite is Knitting Daily TV episode 710, in which Eunny Jang sits down with designer Mathew Gnagy, designer and author of Knitting Off the Axis. He's fantastically creative, and his sweater designs are truly beautiful.

The sweater Eunny and Mathew discuss is the Bethany Cardigan, and it's a real stunner.

To start the Bethany cardi, you cast on a small amount of stitches (24 to 34 stitches, depending on which size you're knitting), and work from the bottom up. You end up with a sort of upside down pear shape, surrounded by panels of pretty moss stitch.

To knit the sides and fronts, stitches are picked up along the back panel and knit outward. The rest of the sweater is knitted sideways, which is Mathew's signature design technique.

The sides of the sweater are welted to ensure a close fit, and then the armholes are created by knitting a couple of short-rows and then casting on stitches for the sleeves.

There is a flattering moss stitch panel above the bust, as well as on the sleeves. It's all very architectural with a Victorian twist.

I know this all sounds complicated, and it is a bit, I won't lie to you, but it's fun knitting—challenging and enjoyable. My favorite kind!

Here's the segment from Knitting Daily TV, where Eunny and Mathew help this all make sense:

The video also gives a tutorial on short-rows, which are integral to the shaping of Bethany, and the cable cast-on, which is used to cast on sleeve stitches.

It's everything you need to get started making the Bethany Cardigan.

I think you should join me on Craft Daily. Subscribe today, watch KDTV episode 701, download the free Bethany Cardigan pattern, and cast on!


P.S. Have you knit the Bethany Cardigan? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

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Knithis wrote
on Aug 3, 2013 9:38 PM

Once again,

please change the text to Caitlin's offensive reference to a German extermination camp in which ethnic Poles

were murdered so that it does NOT read "Polish Concentration Camp" .   The proper reference is "German extermination camp."  In addition, an apology is in order, first for the original use of this offensive phrase, second for allowing it to be published, and third, for ignoring the request to have the phrase changed.

This is a simple request and ignoring it is insensitive to the families of the Polish victims of German Nazi brutality, and continued refusal to change the text is provocative and inflammatory.  

The link to the offensive reference is:

BarbieB@2 wrote
on Aug 3, 2013 11:19 AM

Video explains that the side/ fronts' stitches are picked up from the back. The instructions in pdf pattern cast on the stitches. Which is correct, the video or the pattern?

Thanks for you help

B. Bruce

JST@3 wrote
on Aug 3, 2013 10:33 AM

what rows do you leave out to shorten the body and sleeve length? What are the challenges in knitting this pattern?

Would appreciate any helpful hints before I start this project.

Kate1964 wrote
on Aug 3, 2013 10:00 AM

Beautiful, but it only goes up to a size 42.  We larger ladies like fun knits too.  :-(

Kate1964 wrote
on Aug 3, 2013 10:00 AM

Beautiful, but it only goes up to a size 42.  We larger ladies like fun knits too.  :-(

on Aug 3, 2013 8:16 AM

This sweater seems to be technically challenging and visually interesting, but totally impractical for most of the female population.  This sweater would look great on a skinny girl, but this chubby chickie isn't going to waste her time on something that would only emphasize my "back-fat".  It is too form fitting as demonstrated by the display of bra strap adjusters.  The leading lines on the back of the cardi make it look very masculine, something knit for a football linebacker.  

JoAnn Shupe wrote
on Aug 2, 2013 1:52 PM

I have printed Mr Gnagy's Bethany Cardigan but I see there are no notes in the pattern for compensating for a large waist. Because this pattern is deliberately worked "off the axis" and depends on short rows for shaping, thereby eliminating any expertise I have accumulated over the years in modifying shapes, I hope someone has some suggestions for doing this sweater without the extreme waist shaping.

I look forward to hearing from someone.


JoAnn B Shupe

Peekabo0P wrote
on Aug 2, 2013 10:53 AM

it is the tension thingies on the bra she have on i think

julia v wrote
on Aug 2, 2013 10:17 AM

Dear Kathleen,  

I have knitted this way before and it is wonderful.  I love the side to side technique which incorporates short rows.  I am curious about the back of this sweater though.  What are those two bumps right at breast level but on the back view?  It looks like two puckers which almost look like nipples but on the back of sweater it just looks wierd.  Has anyone noticed this?

kunni wrote
on Aug 2, 2013 8:31 AM

I have been looking for a man's knit V-neck raglan sleeve cardigan.

Any suggestions?

BaRamEwe wrote
on Aug 2, 2013 8:30 AM

I love this sweater-- I made it twice. Once w other yarn, once w the yarn it calls for. Each time, I found that the length of the sweater was much too long ( body and sleeves). I had to frog and leave out rows/ sts to shorten it. The waist of the sweater is so pretty and fitted - it didn't look right too long.

Others have found the same thing w this pattern. Just want everybody to know.

kgregis wrote
on Aug 2, 2013 8:13 AM

If anyone has upsized this please let me know.