Ursula Cardigan

Its time to show you another design, from the next of my Shetland ‘colour stories’. This is the Ursula Cardigan.

This design is named for writer and naturalist, Ursula Venables, who lived and worked in Shetland during the 1940s and ’50s. (You can read more about her in my book.)

Ursula’s writing about wildflowers, as well as my own experience of Shetland’s luminous summer landscape, provided the very feminine palette of this colour story.

While the distinctive zigzagging stitch pattern was inspired by a striking 1940s knitted garment I noticed very briefly on screen in a BBC drama.

This cardigan is probably the most ‘challenging’ design in Colours of Shetland, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be tackled by a confident beginner. It is knit in the round, with steek bridges placed for the front openings and armscyes. After knitting the body, the armscye steeks are cut, and the sleeves are worked top-down in Barbara Walker fashion.

The front steek is cut, and lined with a pretty ribbon trim.

Vintage glass buttons provide the perfect finish. . .

. . .and snaps are used in place of holes to help the button bands retain their shape over time.

This is a classic garment, that, if made carefully, should see its wearer through many summers.

We shot these photographs near St Ninian’s Isle, in Shetland’s South mainland. Every time I look at them, I long to be back there again.

I think I’ll take the Ursula cardigan back to Shetland again next year, to enjoy some more glorious summer days.

Yarn requirements and sizing information for the Ursula Cardigan can now be found on Ravelry.

44 responses

  1. I’m in love! After your post yesterday, I just had to pop off to Ravelry and purchase one of your patterns. Quick question – do you offer a tutorial on the ribbon band liner in your pattern collection? I love the look, but i’ve never used that technique before.

    • yes – there are finishing instructions included in the pattern. I might post a general ribbon-trim tutorial here at some point, since its such a useful technique that people might want to use for other patterns.

  2. The photos of the patterns from your book are so beautiful. I’ve never owned a stranded garment, other than a hat or mittens (which don’t count) but yours are so appealing I may bread my self imposed rule of single coloured cardigans and sweaters unless they are striped.

  3. Kate, each time you publish a new knit from your book, i think ” this time it’s this one my favourite”…they are all so beautiful ! And i have to say that your splendid green dress is perfect to match this cardi ! Well done… I’m really looking forward to admiring your book !

  4. Beautifully made, exquisite attention to detail, surprising and lovely colourway. I am looking forward to having the book in my hands.

  5. SWEET!!! and I do like the idea of the snaps instead of buttonholes. I did that once in a felted garment i designed. It works!. Good job, looking foreward to reading about Ursula. Thanks.

  6. Lovely… :) Do your patterns in the book include sizes for wee ones? I’d love to knit a few mommy/daughter, auntie/niece or grandma/grand daughter matches….please, pretty please :)

  7. I LOVE this cardigan. It reminds me of some beautiful knitwear my sister had in the 70s but refreshed. I’m so looking forward to your book coming out. x x x

  8. It’s abundantly clear that I will need to own this book! A bonus is that next year I’ll be able to come to Scotland as well, where I will buy the exact yarn I need. It keeps getting better and better!

  9. This is a lovely cardigan and wonderful colors. Is it maybe similar to one you showed on your blog a long time ago but never published the pattern? I’m in love too with the buttons on the Scatness tunic.

  10. What a beautiful sweater! I live on the Oregon coast. It has cool-but-often-beautiful summers like Shetland, I would guess. A light wool sweater such as yours would be the perfect summer garment for this climate as well. Plus, it’s much more attractive than a sweatshirt, which is often the default garment here, winter and summer!

  11. So lovely. I really like the idea of the ribbon trim. Just knitting Blaethin right now, so shall see how I get on with the first steek! This sounds even more exciting with top down sleeves, a real challenge. Also love the hoodie, oh decisions….

  12. Oooooooh! I can’t wait for your book to come out! There’s nothing I like doing more than stranded knitting, thank you for feeding my addiction. :-)
    P.S: Where do you find such cute ribbons?

  13. I haven’t checked into you blog for a few days, and wow, what I’ve been missing! Each garment is a gem, and your dresses are equally beautiful. So are the settings. Can’t get enough.

  14. Elegant. Timeless. I love the way the bands of colorwork *read* like stripes from afar, and then like zigzags, and finally as flowers as one gets up close. Rather like the experience of enjoying a bed of wildflowers while on a walk. I am looking forward to hearing more about Ursula Venables in your book.

  15. Kate, I know someone else asked you already, but I’d also really like to know where your dress is from. It’s just like the cardigan – absolutely beautiful. Best wishes from Vienna, Katy

  16. This cardigan is beautiful and I will definitely knit it next year. I also agree with the comments about your dress…it is beautiful and I’d love to know where it is from ♥

  17. Olá Kate!
    Meu livro atrasou mas chegou. É maravilhoso e quero fazer o Cardigan Ursula para mim. Estou estudando suas postagens sobre “steeking” e farei amostras antes da aventura final, que é tricotar o Ursula.
    Agradeço muito muito os tutoriais, você é maravilhosa.
    Desculpe escrever em português, mas meu inglês é péssimo, embora consiga tricotar com padrões escritos em inglês.
    Um abraço!
    Marina

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