Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for the 'Knit-Along' Category

Rio Rancho Cardigan Knit-Along Week 5: Seam it, Wear It!

May 25th, 2016

Pin It


It’s time to put together the Rio Rancho Cardigan!  I suggest laying out the finished pieces and making sure the pieces are the right size and length etc.  I found I did not need to block my pieces, as the nature of this yarn, along with the seed stitch, give the fabric a lot of flexibility.  My pieces also knit up uniformly.  If you find a certain section is a bit shorter or longer, it may be worth it to block before constructing.

When I finished my 5 pieces it took me a few tries to understand the construction, but once I did, it came together with ease.

I suggest pinning the pieces together. I like doing this before sewing just to make sure EVERYTHING is working.  Too many times I have started seaming, only to realize a big mistake that sometimes requires re-knitting something or pulling out all the ends I had woven in, etc.  Try it on, make sure everything is going to line up and look the way you pictured it!

Start with the shoulder seams.  These are the gradually sloped top portions of the two fronts and the back.  I started on the left shoulder.  Once I got to just before the center back, I left the tail of my seaming yarn and concentrated on the neckpiece.  I seamed it up quickly and then went back to my tail of yarn and continued along the back with the neckpiece and right on to the right shoulder seam.  I liked how this was one continuous seam.  It worked out great. You can sew the neckpiece up as a first step, I just happened to do it in this order.

Next the sleeves!  Fold the sleeve in half, wrong sides together. Line up the center with the shoulder ends. It’s easy to see because it is the seam you JUST sewed together!  Pin it there. I found the ribbed sleeves accordioned much more than the seed stitch sleeve holes.  As a result, I had to make sure I was spreading out the sleeve quite a bit as I was sewing it to the sleeve hole.  If you lack coordination in this area, I suggest properly pinning the entire sleeve INTO place. It may not reach all the way to that 90 degree angle created by the tails of the cardigan, but stretch it as much as you can.

Once you finish sewing the sleeves to the sleeve openings, just sew the bottom edge of the sleeve together! Weave in ends and you are done!

It’s THAT simple.

I used mattress stitch on all of my seams.  It creates the perfect ridge INSIDE the garment.  It makes it much less confusing to have to pin right sides together and inside out.  Using the mattress stitch helps because you can sew the garment in place, right-sides out, and know it is in the exact right spot.

Due to the nature of our seed stitch and ribbed stitches, it is NOT going to be as clean and simple as a traditional stockinette or garter stitch mattress seam-up.  The tricky part is our seed stitch is not being lined up vertically, but rather in a wonky horizontal way….but it’s okay.  Look for bars within the work (like you would in a more traditional mattress stitch setting) and work with what you can find. If you are not successful with that, just make sure you are entering where you last came out as you switch between sides.  If you are new to mattress stitch—there are many tutorials on YouTube.  Click here for a tutorial on mattress stitch in a traditional seed stitch setting.

I hope you love your Rio Rancho Cardigan. I am slipping mine on every chance I get. It is the perfect spring into summer garment as it breathes and also provides that extra layer of warmth to take away the chill. I am wearing it on this cold, rainy morning as I type up our last post!  I can’t believe it’s over!  But let’s remember each other as we wear our Rio Rancho Cardigan on those mild spring and summer mornings and evenings, deal?

Never stop knitting!

Rio Rancho Cardigan Knit-Along Week 4: Onto The Sleeves!

May 18th, 2016

Pin It


Another week, another many hours spent in seed stitch! How are you all doing with the back and forth?  I confess, I had a little wrist fatigue with this pattern—anybody have any good stretches to share?

I wanted to talk about a few spots in the pattern.

“Continue in Seed st until armholes measure about 6 in.” found in CARDIGAN BACK


“Work in pattern as established until armhole measures about 6 in.” found in the FRONT sections.

I matched gauge for this project, so if you did too, I imagine you will have found that no further knitting was required to get to the 6” mark.  In one case I even thought I was beyond 6”.  The bottom line is that this is a tricky spot to measure.  For your reference I took a pic of mine:


Pictured here are both the back and one of the front sections on top of the other.  It measures 6-ish inches, but I thought it was important that the two sides were very similarly OFF the 6” mark.  Hopefully they will be similar to the sleeves when it’s time to construct the garment! (Fingers Crossed!)


I attempted to match up my sleeve colors.  The yarn I had left only had 2 almost identical sections available, so I went with the grey into white. I wish I had known I only needed a small amount of yarn, or I might have attempted more purple sleeves with the yarn I had left.  Just know, it takes about 2 color changes to make the sleeve pattern as written.

Here too, when I got to the instruction “Work in pattern as established until piece measures about 7 in.” I was already at the 7” mark, so I did not need to knit any additional rows.

I experimented binding off in the established ribbing and also in knitting all.  Knitting all makes a tighter edge, than binding off in the ribbed pattern.  I think that more flexibility is better for this particular garment, so I suggest binding off in the ribbed pattern.

Next week I will talk more about construction and binding off, but in case you are far along in the project, here is a preview of how you piece the garment together:


Rio Rancho Cardigan Knit-Along Week 3: Binding Off the Back

May 11th, 2016

Pin It


Hello Knitters! Thanks for checking in. I hope you are finding the rhythm of your seed stitch and enjoying the color changes as you work with Shawl in a Ball. You may have noticed a new video with a back view of the garment has been added to the pattern page. This will be helpful to look at when it is time to piece the items together.

Cardigan Back

The first piece you will be working is the back.  Here are a few tips and tricks for this section:

  1. Mark your front right away so that you know when you have ended with a wrong side row. I usually just place a marker or two on my first worked row so that it stands out to me.  For the first 11 inches, it doesn’t matter if you are wrong or right side, but it becomes more important when you get to the top shaping.
  2. I suggest binding off in seed stitch. I would love to read comments regarding which bind off you used. I experimented with knitting all  and seed and I found seed to be more flexible.
  3. When you get to the 40 stitches of bind off at the end of the 11” section, don’t forget to count! So often when we bind off, it is the VERY LAST thing we do in a project and we don’t have to count it. Here, we keep going for a while after the bind off.  If you get going and forget to count, it is hard to see the bound-off stitches with this crinkly yarn.
  4. When it’s time to decrease and knit two together, it’s hard to tell how to treat that stitch in the seed stitch. I found looking farther along the row helpful. I found a stitch I recognized and then I followed my eye back to the k2tog stitch, saying: purl, knit, purl, okay this must be a knit, (or vice versa).  Since it is the edge, it does not really matter at all if you stay in pattern—it will never show!

Look at that BEAUTIFUL Back Section:


Front Sections

After you work the back you will be knitting the next half of your cardigan with two different front sections.  I found that as I settled into this cardigan, my tension got the slightest bit tighter.  If this happens to you when you knit, you may want to cast on all 3 sections (BACK and 2 FRONTS) at the same time, and then place them on waste yarn until you get back to them. Another alternative is aggressively blocking the pieces upon completion, so that they are very close in shape and size.  My pieces are only off the slightest bit, but I could see for a beginner knitter this could be a problem, so I just wanted to mention that here.

These front sections are mirror images of each other, so pay attention to “END with a RS row” verses “END with a WS row”.  Another way to think about this: just know that the RIBBED side of the front stays ribbed from beginning to end.  If you find yourself going to bind off, increase or decrease when you are in the 20 stitches of ribbing, HALT! That is the wrong section.

Here I also want to open the discussion up about color.  I noticed in the pattern photos, the colors of the front section are slightly off from each other, including the sleeves.  I attempted to line mine up.  It took some exploration of the skeins I purchased, but I was able to match up the color to my satisfaction.  What are your thoughts on the aesthetics of the color match up?

These three sections are the bulk of the cardigan.  These are my “two cents” after knitting them up.  What are your thoughts? How is it going? What has tripped you up? What is going great?  Did you ALMOST have your Rio Rancho Cardigan confiscated at the airport in Mexico like me? I sure hope not!  Happy Knitting!


Join us now and knit-along at your own pace — click here to buy our KAL kits, now 20% off!

Rio Rancho Cardigan Knit-Along Week 2: Reading Stitches and Swatching!

May 4th, 2016

Pin It

Spring2016KALmainI am so thrilled you are on board with our spring knit along: the Rio Rancho Cardigan. It is a flowy, open cardigan that I keep calling my cardishawl. I love how easy it is going to be to throw on when it gets a little chilly at night. I am also loving watching my color changes as I knit up this cardigan.

First things first! If you are new to knitting or choosing this knit along to improve your knitting skills, I want to point out a few important points.

I have to enourage you to knit up a gauge swatch. Not only does this aid you in choosing the correct size needles, but it also ensures the garment will fit. For this project, fit is not as important as this is a one-size fits all open “cardishawl”, but for more form-fitting projects, it is a crucial first step.

For this project, swatching serves two purposes:

1. How much air do you want in your garment? Examine your fabric to see how tight or loose you wish the garment to be. I was actually able to obtain gauge on a 7 and 8 needle. Using a 7 needle made my fabric a bit less airy than with 8’s. I liked that feel, so I went with a size 7 needle.
2. Am I comfortable with the seed stitch? If you are new to knitting or the seed stitch, knitting a 4” square is a great way to practice this new technique.


I hate to say it, but due to the texture of this yarn, it is a little tricky identifying the difference between knit and purl stitches. I took a few photos so that you could see the difference between the purl stitches (BUMPS) and knit stitches (V’s).



For seed stitch, whatever the stitch is that you encounter on the needle, you knit it the opposite.

When you see a bump (PURL), knit that stitch. When you see a knit (V), purl that stitch. When you get used to reading your stitches, it is easy to put it down and pick it up and begin again without remembering what you did last.

Taking the time to learn to read your stitching takes a lot of the stress out of it. And since the beginning of this pattern is 11 inches of seed stitch, it’s important to not be stressing out!

Speaking of the beginning, I suggest casting on using markers for every 10 or 20 stitches.

There is nothing more frustrating than losing count on a large cast-on. Adding markers makes counting it much quicker. No stress knitting everybody!

Comment below if you have any questions or comments about beginning this project. See you on the Ravelry thread too!

Rio Rancho Cardigan Knit-Along Week 1: Grab Your Kit!

April 27th, 2016

Pin It


Welcome to the Lion Brand Yarn Spring Knit Along! This spring we will be knitting the Rio Rancho Cardigan. It is a lightweight, flowing pattern that marries love of cardigans with love of shawls.

If you are like me, you have been eyeing Lion Brand Yarn’s newest yarn: Shawl in a Ball.  I had the opportunity to crochet up a shawl recently, and one ball was just not enough to satisfy me! I am thrilled to say that this pattern uses 3 balls of Shawl in a Ball.  It’s the perfect amount for this one size fits all cardigan, and a wonderfully affordable project!

Check out the video below to see some footage of this cardigan in action at the CHA Fashion Show this past winter.

:: Can’t see the video above? Click here to watch – ::

Every season and complexion is covered in the range of colorway offerings.  If you love autumn colors I suggest Calming Desert and Peaceful Earth.  If you are a neutral lover: Soothing Blue and Feng Shui Grey.  If you love the bright colors like me: Restful Rainbow, Mindful Mauve, Healing Teal and Community Coral are perfect for you.

I am knitting my Rio Rancho Cardigan in Mindful Mauve.  I love the purple hues paired with grey.

There’s still time to grab your supplies — order your KAL kit today!  Join us on Ravelry so we can discuss it as we knit.  You can find us there and also here in the comments below, on Twitter and Instagram.  You will finish just in time to have the perfect garment for those chilly summer nights.

Happy Knitting!