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Cable Luxe Tunic Knit-Along: Let’s Get Started!

November 20th, 2008

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CableGreetings, cable-loving knitters, to the second Knit-Along (KAL) by Lion Brand! I am very excited to be the host of this KAL and look forward to making this gorgeous Cable Luxe Tunic along with so many of you. I was thrilled that so many of you voted for this tunic because I have wanted to make it for awhile myself! As a knitwear designer who sends away much of what I make, I have often referred to my two daughters as the “Cobbler’s Children” based on the story of a cobbler who sold all of the shoes he made, resulting in his kids being barefoot! The oldest of my kids, Lizzie, will be getting a fabulous cable sweater as a result of this KAL that she can wear as she goes off to college next year.

I have been a knitting teacher and freelance knit and crochet designer for about 15 years now. I learn so much from my students when it comes to explaining how to knit or finish a project, so I will do my best to answer questions or give you hints to help you with knitting this beautiful sweater.

First things first. Go ahead and download that pattern for the Cable Luxe Tunic! It is only free to download until November 27th, so make this the first thing on your list of things to do.

Now comes the important question of what yarn to use. Although the yarn used in the pattern is Wool-Ease, there are many yarn choices perfect for this pattern. Other yarns that would be great to use would be Vanna’s Choice, Cotton-Ease, Fishermen’s Wool, or Lion Cashmere Blend. Just remember to use a yarn listed as “Category 4 – medium worsted-aran weight” yarn and make sure you have at least the same amount of total yardage as called for in the Wool-Ease to make the size you want. A smooth, light, or bright color yarn will be best to show off all those cables!

What yarn did I pick out? Actually, I decided on Wool-Ease. One reason is that there were so many great color choices. The one I chose was a perfect pink, Blush Heather, that I know my daughter will love. Secondly, as she will be heading off to college this next year, this will make a wonderfully warm sweater that she will be able to wash and dry on her own. I will be making the small for her and I already have my 7 balls of Wool-Ease. I’m ready to get knitting!

Stockinette swatch

My students know I am quite a stickler when it comes to making a gauge swatch, and it is always the first step to making sure a sweater will be the size you want. The pattern gives 2 different gauges, one in stockinette stitch and another in cable pattern. I concentrated on the gauge for the stockinette stitch, which will tell me the size of the largest needle to use. The gauge calls for 18 sts = 4″. An easy way I get the gauge is to make a swatch starting with the size needle called for — a US 8 (5 mm). I like to cast on either 3 or 4 stitches on each side of the 18 sts to make a garter stitch border, which makes it very easy to measure the center 18 sts in stockinette stitch. When I made the swatch using the US 8 needles, the measurement over the 18 sts was about 3.5″ — too small. To make the stitches larger, I went up one needle size to a US 9 and the swatch measured a perfect 4″ between the garter stitch borders. For this sweater, I’m most concerned about the number of stitches, rather than rows, as it will affect the width of the garment (although the row gauge was right on as well!) I will use a needle one size smaller — US 8 — for the circular needle for the yoke of the sweater.

Cable Luxe Tunic KAL badgeNow, I’m ready for the first part of this sweater –- making the beautiful cabled strip (see above) that will go all around the tunic just below the yoke. This cable pattern is a 16 row repeat pattern, so I find either marking down on paper what row I’m on or using a row counter a great help. I will be busy knitting this pattern for 44″ during the two weeks until my next post. In the meantime, print that pattern, get your yarn, get swatching, and have a very happy Thanksgiving! (Our next post will be Dec. 4.) I look forward to seeing your pictures (join our Flickr group) and hearing from you!

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  • Zilicia

    I am so excited to join this knit along, although how much will get done before I finish everyone else’s Christmas presents remains to be seen.

    I have LOTS of wool-ease in a few discontinued colors in my stash, so now I have to decide between a gorgeous royal blue or a lovely lilac pink or a classic camel tan. Either way, it will be the first thing I have made for myself and kept.


  • Colleen

    I am new to KAL and I would love to join in the fun. However, leaving in this part of the world, Singpaore, with summer being our 365 days climate, Wool-Ease will be impossible!!

    Would anyone suggest me using bamboo yarn? Given the heavy cables? I tried ordering Cotton-Ease with Lion Brand but they don’t seem to sent to Singapore??

    Any suggestions of yarn substitutes will be most welcome 😀

    Zontee says: Hi Colleen, while does not ship outside of the U.S. and Canada, there are companies that do ship internationally and sell Cotton-Ease, such as Royal Yarns.

  • Claire Gonzalez

    Hello Everyone,
    This is my first attempt at participating in a blog. When my daughter was very young about ten years old she designed a similar sweater for me to knit for her. She approached me with detailed sketches in hand and a list of colors she felt would suit her best. Surprised at her faith in my ability to create a sweater being new to knitting I made a simplistic version (no cables). Some 14 years later she received the email to join in the making of this sweater and immediately pleaded with me to make it for her. The plea was accompanied with a description of the colors and length of the sweater (a soft rose color, some things never change). I agreed with the stipulation that she must attempt cables in the hooded sweater she is currently working on. Thanks for the pictures of real people wearing the sweater. The yoke is turning about beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing,

  • Becky Webb

    I’m new to KAL and hope to keep up, but need to know about substituting yarns in order to be able to begin.

    Because I have a “pause” in my life, I am fearful that the Wool Ease will be way too warm for me. I have seen a couple other postings asking about using Cotton Ease, but haven’t seen any responses. Please, please let us know if the cotton would work for this sweater? Thanks so much and I can’t wait to make it.

    A hint I found elsewhere and use is to just run a scrap of yarn through a row every so often so that in the event you would find a mistake in your work, you can easily rip back to the scrap yarn row and not lose any stitches.


    Zontee says: Hi Becky, as Heather says in this post, you can certainly use other category 4 yarns, including Cotton-Ease (which is a great yarn for garments, as it is lighter than regular cotton and holds its shape better). The hint about the scrap of yarn (sometimes called a “lifeline”) is a great one — thanks for sharing!

  • Sara=Sally HP

    I just finished about 6 of the 16 row repeats for the yoke, and I’m getting really excited! This is a pretty do-able project for most levels, just may take more time if you’re not as experienced (like me).

  • Karen

    Oooooo!! I missed getting the free downloadable pattern by one day. Does anyone have it available that they an send me please?

  • Deborah

    I’m not quite sure how raverly works. What is the thing about the “invitation” to join? It doesn’t seem to be like flickr where you just search for pictures with key words.

    Zontee says: Hi Deborah, Ravelry is a social networking site for yarncrafters of all sorts. It has groups, forums, pattern searches, yarn organization and more. Since it’s still in “beta” (testing mode), you need an invitation to join. For more information, check out their tour.

  • Deborah

    I just looked at the online catalog for Victoria Secret. The sweater that is the twin for this KAL is DEFINATELY a boatneck. How can I change our pattern to a mock turtle? Don’t particularly like my chest exposed since I tend to get cold easily and I don’t think I’d like to wear this over a turtleneck.

  • Miryam

    Deborah #108,
    this pattern is not really a boatneck, but if you wanted it to be tighter and higher, just add say 4 to 6 rows and decrease a row a few more stitches like 8 or 10, evenly. That should take it up around the collarbone, I’d think. But don’t bind off until you put it on and see where it hits, cuz that might even be too high.

  • Aleta

    This is my first kal. I voted for the zen jacket which would have been WAY easier for me to do, plus I like it better, but I’m giving this a try. I don’t know how far I’ll get. It has been a long time since I did cables. I started this and have had to start over for the 3rd time but I think I’ve got the hang of the cables now. So I’m on row 12 and that’s an accomplishment for me! I have narrow shoulders so I may have to use the advice by Miryam because I don’t want it hanging down.

  • Carolyn

    I was fascinated by the Tree of Life Afghan, and voted for this one for the nrxt Knit-A-Long. I plan to make the tunic, but not until the beginning of next year when I have finished some other projects. Not sure about ordering the kit versus buying the yarn locally as I will need the Large size and don’t know how many skains are included in the kit.

    Zontee says: Hi Carolyn, you can order the kit in whatever size you’re making. For a large, you would click the “Knit Kit” button that includes 8 balls for $24.95, or as you said, you could also simply purchase 8 balls of Wool-Ease locally.

  • Emily

    Heather – Thank you so much for your advice on the sizing. I am going to make the size small – look forward to getting started!

  • Traci Gardner

    I voted for this pattern because it’s lovely and is rated experienced. Next to the word chicken in the dictionary,is my face.If this weren’t a KAL,I wouldn’t even dare contemplate this EVER ! That said,I’ve got questions and I’m just reading the pattern through. When starting the back,each knitter according to her size,picks up and knits the appropriate number of stitches from the cable yoke between the markers. The next row is the foundation row. The next row is called Row 1 and it says inc 1 first st. I never understood that in pattern instructions. This looks like a Bar increase. Am I knitting the st. and not sliding the st. off the needle,and knitting into the back of it to produce 2 sts.? Or should I be doing a Purl Bar increase instead? I’ve got other questions but I don’t want to bombard everyone in one sitting. I’m so determined to participate in this KAL that I registered with ravelry for an invitation to join. I can’t make heads or tails of that site as someone else mentioned in one of the two lists of comments. We can do this ladies good luck! Thank You Lion Brand.

    Heather says: “Hi, Traci: The increase called for in the pattern is to increase in a stitch, so I would knit into the front and back of the edge stitches.”

  • Marlene

    Hi Everyone,

    I work at Lion Brand & am also excited that this pattern was the winning vote. I have been knitting for quite some time now but have not yet ventured into the sweater territory. I had first seen this pattern at a trade show we had & it was love at first site. When I read about the KAL & knew for certain that if this pattern was chosen I would have to participate. This is my first KAL as well and I am by no means an experienced knitter so I will be learning along with some of you. What a great way to share ideas & tips!!

    I did my practice gague and will be working with size 8 needles as instructed. I started the yoked cable & it is looking very good if I may say so myself. My only concern so far is that the edges fold in a bit. Any recommendations on how I can get it to lay flat?

    Heather says: “Hi, Marlene: Don’t worry too much that the edges fold in a bit as both edges will have stitches picked up and that will solve the “curling” problem. However, if you want your edges to ease a bit to make it easier to pick up those stitches, you can simply dampen the piece with a spray bottle, then let it dry.”

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  • Beth

    to Marlene, regarding blocking

    I’m not a very experienced knitter, and I have learned that blocking pieces as you go helps immensely!!! I have just finished my yoke strip, and it, too, was very “curly”. I soaked it in cold water, squeezed it out, used the blocking kit I got at, and now I have a beautiful rectangle ready to go for the next step.

    Heather, for the planning obsessed among us, do you think you could tell us what will be covered in the upcoming blog? I think you mentioned you would give a tip for how to make a nice seam, so I don’t really want to continue, if that is what is coming next. It would help if I knew how far to go before your next post.

    Thanks, Beth

    Heather says: “Hi, Beth: I will show how I sewed that seam in the cable strip in the next post. Thanks for your advice on blocking!”

  • Marlene

    To Beth post # 116,
    Thanks for the comment on blocking. I didn’t know such a kit was available. I am going to look into it since I have a few projects I need to uncurl.

  • Rose

    Hi all – It has taken me several days to read through all the posts. I tried to figure out how to respond to specific comments, but since that didn’t work for me, I’ll just list my comments here along with the original post number.

    Susie (post 38) worried about the sleeves not being the same length. I’ve always worried about that, too, because even if you manage to get the same number of rows, tension in not always the same depending on what else is going on in your life. So I solve that problem by knitting the sleeves at the same time. If you put them side-by-side on the same needles, you can knit a row on one, the same row on the second one, and then turn and come back. The only trick is that you can’t stop between sleeves – either finish the row on both sleeves or stop in the middle of one sleeve so you know where to go next.

    As far as picking up the stitches on the side of the yoke, I used a crochet hook to pick them up and then, when the hook was almost full, slid them onto a circular needle. (I was thinking about adding a loop around the circular needle at the end of each row as I went along, but didn’t think of it soon enough. So I may try that on the next version. (Yes, there will be a next version. This is my practice piece – I really want to make it into a poncho for my daughter, but my good knitting buddy promises me that I won’t go to knitter’s hell if I actually follow the pattern the first time!)

    Thanks for all the support. I love hearing how others are coming along. – Rose

  • Nicole

    Hi Heather,

    This is my first knit along and my first attempt at a “cable” sweater. So far the yoke strip looks great, although I’m a little slow just getting used to making the cables… I just wanted to thank you for the great tip of adding 3 or 4 extra knit stitches to the border of the guage swatch, I’ve never done this, and it made it so much easier to measure!!

  • Vida

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was so excited to see that the cable sweated won for my FIRST kal. I am a new knitter (just the basics), with 2years under my belt as a crocheter. It took me two days to get the cable for the yoke just right! But my perseverance paid off. My husband was very impressed! He has already hinted at a sweater for himself. I’m glad to find out that I can make the maxi. I will be sure to order the pattern, as I follow along! My only regret is that I missed your first kal with the Tree of Life. I’ve had that pattern for 2 years awaiting the time I would be able to make it.

  • Rhea

    I’m sorry if this question was already asked, but I made my swatch of stockinette stitch and had to up one size from an 8 to a 9. Then my gauge was spot on. As I’m knitting up the yoke, I’ve noticed that according to the pattern it should be 4.5 inches wide. Mine is only 3.5 inches wide. Is this going to be a problem later? Can I block the yoke after finishing it or should I change needle sizes again? Please help.

  • Jane Clark

    This appears to be a very popular pattern right now. I was shopping at JCPennys last night and saw almost the same sweater. The one at the store has a 2 button front. I am making this one for my daughter out of Vanna’s Choice Seaspray Mist.

  • Beth

    I’ve been preparing to start the back, just as soon as Heather teaches us the great seaming method. In studying the increase row (I’m doing a small), I notice the increase of 2 stitches between the cables reads thus: inc 1 st in next st, p1, sl 1, inc 1 st in next st, p1. I’m an engineer, so symmetry is somewhat a given. In this increase pattern, the increase is done in the first stitch, and then in the second to last stitch, rather than the last one. Is this correct? I hate to get going and find out it’s incorrect. Thanks

    Heather says: “Hi, Beth: I did the increases just to each side of the cables as a purl make 1 (raised-bar increase). I think it is much more invisible when it is at the side of the purl stitches, rather then in in the middle. Either way, all these purl sections will flare out evenly.”

  • Beth

    oops, one more thing, Heather. The instructions show three 3/3 LC cables on either side of the 4/4 center cable. The photo makes it look like there should be 3/3 RC cables on one side. Am I reading the instructions incorrectly?

    Heather says: “Hi, Beth – You have a good eye, and you are right about the cables. The pattern does have all the cables on each side of the center cable as LC cables, and that is the way I am working my tunic and it looks fine. The pattern will be changed to reflect this, but if you want to, you can certainly place RC cables on one side and LC on the other.

  • Jennifer Wiltrout

    Beth, #116

    Is the blocking kit at JoAnn’s called Knit & Lace Blocking Wires Kit? That is all I could find on their website. I’m hoping if it is that they will have it at my local store.

    It sounds great. I always have had issues with blocking.

    Many thanks

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  • Tiffany

    Denise I would also love to have charts if they are available! I am going into this sweater a little nervous and would love all the help I could get!

    Zontee says: Hi Tiffany, don’t forget to check out our Flickr group, where KALer Grace has charted out the yoke.

  • Beth

    Jennifer (#125)

    Yes, that’s the kit – you’ll love it!


  • Sue Trefethren

    I have a question on knitting the back. When knitting the back. It talks of increasing stitches in rows 1, 3, 5 and 7 at the beginning in end. To increase stitch, I am pearling in the front and knitting in the back of the stitch correct? When I knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches on the way back, what are the increased stitches suppose to be, purl or knit stitches?

    Heather says: “Hi, Sue: You can increase just the way you are doing – that is fine. These stitches that are increased are worked in reverse stockinette (Purl on RS, Knit on WS), however, I also worked one more slipped stitch into the pattern 2 stitches away from each of the outside cables.”

  • Jennifer Wiltrout

    Beth #116 & 128

    I ordered it online last night and can’t wait to get it. They were offering free shipping for the next few days for anyone wanting to order it. The kit isn’t available in stores.

    Again thanks for the tip Beth.

  • Louise

    where it says p2 sl 1 p2 what do you do with the sl 1 when you k all knits and p all purls

    Heather says: “Hi, Louise: On the WS, purl the slipped stitches – this makes a very pretty elongated knit stitch between the cables.”

  • Louise

    Thank you Heather i will give that a try

  • Sandy

    I have been trying to follow along although I am intimidated with knitting sweaters. I’ve knit afghans before but very few sweaters. My weaknesses are picking up stitches and seams but I’m taking it a step at a time. I was going to make it for myself but I don’t think the style will look good on me so I’m making a small instead and will probably give it away. I just finished the yoke and starting the back tonight. I’ll have to read the directions a few times because the first time reading them made no sense. Wish me luck.

  • Sandy

    OK I hate to appear stupid but I’m already confused. I started the back tonight. I’m doing a small. I picked up my 82 stitches from the yoke and did the foundation row and row 1 ending with 84 stitches as it says. I did the second row knitting k stitches and pearling p stitches. Now what? The stitches don’t come out right for row 3 of the pattern (inc row). What pattern do I use to get to the 90 stitches so I can cast on 4 at each end for the armhole and then continue to the inc row on page 4 of the pattern.

    Heather says: “Hi, Sandy: While increasing on the sides of your back, keep working your cable pattterns as set. Increasing can be confusing to know where you are in a project where there are cable patterns. An excellent way to keep track of your cables (and to know where to work them) is to place stitch markers on each side of every cable.”

  • Viv

    Okay so I’ve never done cables before. I figured that this sweater would be the perfect thing to “cut my teeth” on. I’ve done sweaters for small people, countless scarves and tons of mittens and hats….this is going to be a real challenge. I started the yoke this weekend, after the 2nd pattern repeat it just started flying….I’m so jazzed!!!

  • Sandy

    I have a question but I’m not sure how to ask so that you will understand. My question concerns the back and the increasing on each side. I’m knitting in the front and back of the stitch for the increase. Now, on the 2nd row do I knit or pearl the increased stitch.
    I’m assuming I don’t start the increase row within the cable til after I reach my 90 stitchs (size sm) and do the 4 cast on stitches on each side. Is that correct? I hate to go too far and have to rip out.

  • Linda

    When is the next update scheduled? Hopefully there will be some further clarification on the pattern for the body of the sweater. I’m an experienced knitter, but am struggling a little with getting started on the back with the increases and the 2 cable patterns. It’s a great, challenging project!

    Zontee says: Hi Linda, the next update from Heather will be up tomorrow morning.

  • Aleta

    It has been slow progress since I’ve struggled with doing the cables, but I’m working on the yoke and it seems to be coming along okay. I don’t know if I’ll get it done in time to wear THIS winter, though!

  • Cynthia Mulliken

    I have been sick and off work for quite a while and am now just catching up on my email. I was amazed that this sweater pattern was offered for free as I had seen it in earlier emails. However, I was sad to see that I had missed the download dates. Would it be possible to have the pattern shared with me? Money is tight right now as the off work time was without pay. The sweater would make a lovely late Chanukah gift for my daughter. If not, I certainly understand.


  • allie

    oh, i am so bummed. i missed this by a month. i’ve really wanted to knit this, but was so busy with school, then my wedding. i wish i had found this KAL a month ago.

  • allie

    omg, i just read post #139….if someone could share the free download, i think i could try the KAL, too. is that at all possible? sorry if my post offends anyone.

    Lion Brand says: Hi, Allie. We’re so sorry that you missed the KAL! Unfortunately, the download is no longer free, and sharing the pattern violates copyright. It is still available to download from our website for $3.95, which you can view here. We really hope you’re able to join us for our next KAL.

  • Ray Mazzeri

    I am attempting this sweater. I started the yoke per instructions. I am lost. Row two says to knit the knit and purl the purl but mine is not turning out like the picture. Is the picture done puling the knit and knitting the purl. My looks like it is all gartner stitched both sides. I do not have the stockinette look on the cables.


    Heather says: “Hi, Ray: On the wrong side, knit those stitches that appear as knits (they were the purl stitches on the right side) and purl the stitches that appear as purls (they were the knit stitches on the right side). Hope this clarifies this for you.”

  • Christine W


    I was confused by the same thing. Heather’s instruction has it right, it will look just like the picture then.

  • Barbara

    I am alittle late getting started but better late then never.I have been following all the comments and updates and have printed them for reference.Hopefully I wont have too many problems.It is such a pretty top and I look forward to getting started.

  • Leslie


    I would like to make this sweater for my daughter in law, but she is very petite – probably around a size 4/6. The small measurement across the bust is 36″. Is there some way of making the sweater smaller or do you think with the design, it will be okay?

    Thanks for any help you can give me.


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