Another new garment! Braid Hills is one of my favourite designs, and one I really wanted to return to. Some folk found the original pattern a bit tricky for a couple of reasons: I love the design, and really wanted to iron out these issues so that everyone could enjoy knitting and wearing this cardigan! First, the neckline on the original cardigan was quite low. Part of my inspiration was from eighteenth-century bodices, and I designed Braid Hills’ neckline similarly, finishing just above the bustline. This is not a look for everyone, and can also be difficult to pair with layers. Though I loved my original Braid Hills, I certainly found I wasn’t wearing it as much as my other cardigans because it was tricky to match with an outfit. I decided to fix this in the new pattern. While I’ve kept the square neckline and bodice-like feel of the original, I’ve raised the neckline to a much more wearable depth.

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The neckline is now more in line with other of my cardigans, such as Deco. I found this change makes the cardigan immediately much easier to wear buttoned, unbuttoned, or partly buttoned.

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Which brings me on to the revised pattern’s other significant change. When I was working on the original, I’d just discovered Techknitter’s “tulip” buttonholes technique, and was quite excited by the idea of knitting a cardigan all in one piece, button bands and body together, adding the button holes as you went. A good idea in theory, but the problem was that if a knitter wanted to make even minor changes to the length of the cardigan, this impacted on the position and spacing of the buttonholes. Additionally, many knitters found that the twisted-rib vertically integrated button band of the original cardigan was simply not as sturdy as a horizontal one would have been, and, because of this, that the cardigan tended to gape when buttoned. No one wants a gaping cardigan! So when re-writing the pattern, I reverted to my old favourite of a picked up, horizontally knit button band, lined to make it sturdy, using buttons and snap fasteners rather than holes (which means you can sort out the button spacing issue right at the end, when you are finishing up the cardigan).

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Here I’ve used vintage glass buttons, and I paired these with teeny tiny clear snap fasteners – the sort that are sometimes used to attach a slip inside a dress. These fasten surprisingly securely, and are pretty much invisible. I also lined the inside of the button band with some Liberty print bias binding.

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Why I’d never thought to use bias binding for this purpose I do not know. It looks just great, and you can make it yourself out of whatever fabric matches your knitting! I found that a binding width of 1.5cm sat really nicely on the button band, giving the whole garment a really lovely finish.

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I was so looking forward to working on this design again in Buachaille, because, having swatched with it countless times, I knew that the yarn worked really well with cables. Buachaille is worsted spun — the fibres sit smooth and flat, and textured patterns really pop in the yarn when they are knitted up. I knew that for Braid Hills the stitch definition of the fabric would be amazing.

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I chose the Hedder shade for the sample – a soft, muted shade with a very spring-like feel.
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The new pattern also comes with the same clear, easy to follow layout that I use in my books, and includes a lot of sizing information, which will make it much easier for you if you want to make adjustments, or work between sizes (of which there are 10, covering 31 to 49 inches).

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The basic construction of the cardigan remains the same: the body is knitted in one piece to the underarms, where it is separated for fronts and back. The sleeves are picked up around the armscye and worked top down (my favourite construction for set-in sleeves) and fronts and cuffs both feature the same Bavarian twisted-and-travelling stitch pattern, which is rhythmic and fun to work. The end result is a classic, wearable garment, that should see you through the Spring (and indeed Summer, if you live in Scotland)!

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The revised Braid Hills pattern is now available on Ravelry, and if you’ve previously purchased it, you will receive the update automatically at some point today (it can take a few hours to filter through the system!) If you would like to knit this design in the recommended yarn (which is, ahem, my own Buachaille) do bear in mind we will be launching kits for this design the weekend of Edinburgh Yarn Fest. Kits include the pattern and a project bag, and represent a significant saving on buying the yarn on its own. The kits will go on sale in the online shop as well as Edinburgh Yarn Fest on March 18th – and we have planned our special newsletter offer that weekend to even things up for those of you who can’t be in Edinburgh.

Happy knitting! Spring is coming!

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50 thoughts on “Braid Hills – reworked

  1. I hate the look of knitted buttonholes so I’m interested in how you did the buttons and snap fasteners. I have enlarged the photos but can’t figure out exactly what you’ve done. Are there buttons on both sides? It looks like the snaps are on top of the buttons on the left front. Hope you can clarify. Many thanks

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  2. Kate, lovely again, I wondered if you have a ‘best method’ for attaching the binding or ribbon to the inside facing. Sometimes the ribbons can be quite thick and the woollen garment lofty so I wasn’t sure about the best method to sew it on. Do you just use a small side whip stitch or something else? Do you cut the binding first or sew and then cut at the end to ensure you don’t go too short? Thanks, Lisa

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  3. Hello Kate,

    Do you have links to where we can buy the fastenings? Our local fabric shops do not stock and I have not been able to source online. Thanks.

    Ps: am now turmoiled, I love stranded knits, struggle with textured knits and would love to try, choices choices ….. :)

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  4. Lovely. I’ve queued this for myself, and sent the link to my mother, who’s looking for a cardigan to knit. I think she purchased it immediately. I know that feeling of getting excited about a new technique and incorporating it into a design… then realising your design would have worked better with your old tried and true.

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  5. Absolutely, beautiful! After ordering the kit for Deco you are teasing me with this lovely cardigan, my favorite type of sweater–decisions, decisions. If I buy many more kits or yarn for patterns I won’t live long enough to make them!

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  6. I do not appear to be able to respond on the comments blog, so my question is, will kits be available on a range of colours? Thanks, Joyce

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  7. I purchased a print of the original Braid Hills design. Just wondering how that will work in terms of obtaining the update.

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  8. Hi Kate. I love the redesign! And I’m one of the minority that also loved the lower neckline. Does the revision include a way to keep that if one wishes? It being a curved, I’m not sure my calculation skills would enable me to do the revision on my own. Thanks!

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  9. So stunning, and a perfect example of one of the chief benefits of self-publishing–the ease of updating a pattern. The bias binding on the inside is an inspired idea, and one which I will have to try out soon. It reminds me of the beautiful finishing details in the now out-of-print “Poetry in Stitches”.

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  10. Looking great – would it be easy to shorten the length of the cardigan? Being small I have do that with jumpers and cardigans and I’d like to know please if it’s simple to do with the cable pattern. Thanks.

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  11. I think it’s great that you’ve gone back and worked over something you loved to make it even better, and reflect the evolution of your thoughts on fit and construction. It looks great!

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  12. I love this pattern, no buttonholes, knitted in one place to the arms so less making up and an excuse to go shopping for some pretty bias binding! Couldn’t be better. Looking forward to the kit coming out.

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  13. Love the Beautiful Old/New Again Sweater! Looking forward to the Kits coming out. Just an FYI, I’m in Western North Carolina and it’s 11.31 on March 4th. I received your post same as always and it seems to be fine here. I am using the Desk Top Computer instead of the tablet, as is my habit in the Morning. Hope it helps to get the blips out. I do know we’ve had some rough weather in the last 24 Hours. Best to Tom and Bruce! And Kate, Your Wonderful!

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  14. Love most of the changes to the design, but I actually liked the lower neckline! I’d been planning to make it but hadn’t bought the pattern yet. Is there any way to access to the old version, so I can take elements from both?

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    1. If you want the lower neckline, its simple to do – I suggest working from the new pattern, but set your sts aside for the neck at the same time you divide for the armholes, and work a slightly narrower neckband (1.5 ins)

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  15. Lovely cardigan! The post about Braid Hills was interesting to read and it’s a great inspiration for the sweater. The color is so pretty and the floral bias tape is a nice and practical touch…thinking of springtime.

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  16. Beautiful styling, Kate – that’s a fabulous dress and it goes so well with the cardigan! And I think the neckline change was an excellent idea.

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  17. Wow, I love this cardigan, how lovely! I am not familiar with the original pattern but it makes my wish to be able to knit properly, even greater. Lovely color wool and cabelling. Alas I can barely do a knit stitch so I can only return to dreaming about making my own sweaters! Beautiful photos.

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      1. I bought your original pattern at the SSEC a couple of weeks ago. I’d really like the new version for all the reasons you mentioned. How can I obtain it without having to pay again? Thanks in advance……Fionna

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    1. Was able to open the post this afternoon, I loved the design for this cardigan, and it is so pretty in the Buachaille. I feel my knitting bug kicking in and i need to buy the wool to knit this, so look forward to hearing about the kits.

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