Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1980s, I have many memories of nautical themed sweaters, with boats, anchors, captain’s wheels, or whales forming the yoke. With these sweaters came Nantucket jewelry baskets, alligator polos (collars flipped up, of course), plaid pants, embroidered pants, and any other garment with the shape of the Cape Cod arm littered gratuitously about.
This cardigan was inspired by a pullover my mother started for me and finished several years later for my brother, if I am not mistaken. I thought it might be a fun design to revive. Since winter is almost over and I will soon be packing away her size 2 winter clothes, I knit Beatrix the size 3-4 yr for next year. The garment is knit from the bottom up in the round and then steeked open. Those unfamiliar with crochet steeks are encouraged to read Eunny Jang’s definitive steeking tutorial before proceeding. Only feltable wools with plenty of grip should be used for steeking purposes. Neither superwash wools nor plant or synthetic fibers will hold. Although it would be easy to modify the pattern to work back and forth without steeking, the instructions are written for construction in the round.
Note of caution: Any knitter who chooses to abuse this pattern by making matching whale sweaters for the family Christmas card should be flogged, or at the very least have his/her knitting needles confiscated.
This pattern is available as a Ravelry download for $5.00.
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Skills used: knitting in the round, increasing/decreasing, reading a chart, stranded knitting, steeking, picking up stitches, hand sewing facings, and optional duplicate stitching
0-3 mos (6-9 mos, 12-18 mos, 2 yr, 3-4 yr, 5-6 yr)
17 stitches and 24 rows = 4” in stockinette on US 7 (4.5 mm) needles
20 stitches and 25 rows = 4” in stranded pattern on US 7 (4.5 mm) needles
Note: Swatching the stranded pattern in the round is imperative. I chose to cast on 36 stitches for three whale pattern repeats plus 7 stockinette stitches for a steek. In addition to checking gauge, this extra swatching will provide a valuable opportunity to practice steeking.
Harrisville Designs New England Highland (100% wool; 200 yd [183 m]; 100 g [3.53 oz]): 1(2, 2, 2, 3, 3) skeins #33 Midnight Blue, 1 (1, 1, 1, 1, 1) skein #44 white, 1 (1, 1, 1, 1, 1) skein #7 Tundra.
US 7 (4.5mm) circular (length appropriate for size) and set of DPNs
US 6 (4.0 mm) circular needle (length appropriate for size) and set of DPNs
Crochet hook, any size between 3.25 -4.0 mm will do
Wool waste yarn in contrasting color (not superwash wool or any plant fiber)
5 (5, 7, 7, 9, 9) 3/4″ buttons
Shown here with optional duplicate stitched water spouts over each whale:
The steeked facings are tacked down with a simple blanket stitch.