Seattle by Jill Wolcott of Jill Wolcott Knits Jill takes an in-depth look at the Seattle Ballet cardigan written pattern, charts, and schematics.
This is lace knitting with patterning on both right side and wrong side rows, so it requires attention, but the pattern is not too difficult to get a rhythm for working.
Seattle is the most simplified version of a ballet sweater I designed for my former sample knitter to make for her granddaughter. With a 37-stitch true knitted lace pattern stitch combined with stitch patterns with different row gauges, it nearly became a one-of-a-kind! It was such a beautiful piece, and I had become fascinated by the stitch pattern and the possibilities for creating variations that would be less daunting.
Seattle is simplified but maintains all the integrity of the original design. By putting the lace pattern onto the back and front peplums, the impact remains, but the majority of the shaping is done in stockinette. The sleeves are similarly designed to showcase the lace, but keep the shaping in stockinette.
I love continuity so the original rib trim remains on all the edges in Seattle, and in the ties. The sleeves maintain their sweet swoop over the hands, but here also finish with a final repeat of the lace on each sleeve cap to break the stockinette.
I named each design concept (there are three) after a US city with a respected ballet and associated ballet school. Seattle is home to the Pacific Northwest Ballet—with part of their school housed in Bellevue, on the east side of Lake Washington. I’m from the PNW and know this is a perfect design to represent it: straightforward and seemingly simple, but undeniably beautiful.
- XS (S) (M) (L) (XL)
- Finished measurement before front decreases begin (including overlap, excluding trim) 34 (35.875) (43.375) (46.25) (56)”
- Finished back length excluding scallops 17.75 (18) (20.5) (21) (21.5)”
- 4 sts/in and 6.75 rows/in = 16 sts/4″ and 27 rows/4″ in stockinette stitch on size 6(4mm) needles
- Go here for additional gauge information.
Yarn & Sample
- Lace from Colinton Australia, 100% mohair, using 3 (4) (4) (5) (6) skeins of 50g/225 yds (206m)
- Sheila is wearing the model size M in Fresh Tangerine
In the cover photograph, Sheila Devitt, San Francisco actress and herbalist, puts Seattle over her workout gear. Ayelette wears Bellevue shrug. Sheila has the posture of a ballerina. She has a small torso so she gets the maximum wrap. The neckline is wide—just like a traditional ballet sweater. You can see how this cardigan can transform the simplest outfit.
Overall Layout of the Seattle Knitting Pattern
- Page 2 is where to find all the information you need to get started on Seattle. Don’t forget to check gauge and be sure your needle size will get the specified gauge using your needles, yarn, and style of knitting. I am a relaxed knitter and it is not uncommon for other knitters to need a different needle size. Getting the proper fabric is essential to any design ending up as presented.
- Sizes: The size you choose should allow for a comfortable overlap at the waist. Don’t hesitate to choose a larger size (even just for the Fronts) to insure there is a sufficient wrap—the shoulders and armholes come in for a narrower fit on all the sizes, so just make sure you have the correct shoulder stitch numbers to match your Back. If adding length to the Back, do so before the armhole shaping—preferably in full pattern increments.
- Gauge: Seattle is worked flat and I strongly recommend that you do at least 2 Eyelet Leaves pattern row repeats for gauge and a good size stockinette swatch. The Colinton Australia Lace yarn used here is a little slippery, and a little catch-y at the same time, so consider it a good practice run. Once you get the hang of the yarn, it is a complete pleasure to knit. The yarn benefits from wet blocking even though gauge may not change significantly.
I recommend laying your swatch out flat on paper prior to wet blocking it and roughly tracing around it, then take and record the 4″ gauge. After the swatch has completely dried, again place it on the paper—and trace it with a different color so you can see the change, and take and record the 4″ blocked gauge. The blocked gauge needs to match the pattern gauge. Knowing blocked versus unblocked gauge will let you know you are on track as you work through Seattle.
- Needles: My usual caution is to try the next size up for needle size as I am a relaxed knitter. If you use a larger needle to get gauge, increase needle size for trims as well.
- Yarn: Colinton Australia has amazing yardage—225 yds per 50g; 675 (900) (900) (1025) (1350) yds per project! Check here for all the colors, but soon there will be Seattle kits in eight colors from Unwindyarn.com.
- Notes: Always read the general notes on page 2—more specific notes will appear as needed within the pattern. Always check written instructions as well as shaping charts.
- Seattle written instructions begin on page 3 and go through page 29.
- Seattle techniques and abbreviations are on page 30.
- Detail photos are shown throughout the written portion of the Seattle pattern.
- Appendices A through E follow the written Seattle pattern and contains the stitch pattern in written and chart form, shaping charts by size for each element of the project, as well as complete “as knit” schematics.
Seattle Written Instructions
For ease of use, we group shaping charts by size. Pages where those charts can be found are given by size in a Note at the beginning of the written pattern.
- Back Bottom Trim: This table is set up so it can be read from left to right on every row–in other words, we switched right and left Diagonal Crossed Knots (DCK) instructions so just follow the instructions and it will all line up. Bottom Trim measurements are given on schematics. The DCK patterns are mirrored Right and Left throughout this garment. For reasons I no longer recall the Right DCK is worked with the Left Eyelet Leaves (EL) and vice versa. The last row decreases to the stitch count needed for the Eyelet Leaves patterns. The size M instruction uses two lines of text.
- Back Panel: Read the Notes. If your row gauge differs, you will want to adjust the number of times the pattern is repeated.
- Work Back Armhole Shaping then go to Upper Back Pattern to work length needed.
- Back Pattern Fill In: This is worked in stockinette stitch, working short rows to fill in the dips/valleys of the EL pattern. The short rows are worked over the first EL, then over the second EL. Four stitches are decreased on Pick Up Row 24, then the Back Neck is bound off. The shoulder stitches are kept live to join to the Fronts.
Seattle Right Front
Right Front Bottom Trim: This is worked as the Back Bottom Trim but only the Left DCK is worked on the Right.
- Right Front Peplum: EL or EL and Additional Stitches is worked for 10 rows, then the Pattern Fill-In is worked in stockinette. The XS (S) only need the short row fill in on the single full EL pattern. Following the Pattern Fill-In, stitches are decreased for working stockinette for the remainder of the Front.
- Right Front Body to Armhole: Smooth sailing in stockinette for length to the start of Front Neck Shaping. Make any changes in length to match changes made on the Back here. They are easiest to make before the neck shaping begins.
- Right Front Armhole: The armhole is bound off, followed by decreases. The stitch gauge here is different than on the Back so the decreased stitch counts are slightly different.
- Right Front Neckline and Armhole Shaping: The decreases are continued on the Front neckline while also doing decreasing at the armhole. Continue working Front neck decreases after the armhole decreases are completed.
- Right Front Shoulder Shaping: I always do shoulder shaping, and on Seattle I moved it all to the Front to avoid doing it in pattern. I think you will want to make your own decision on how many short rows to work—and you may want to come back to this after you complete the Left Front and can test the neckline out. Since the stitches are left live for joining later on you can easily add this later. I found with the sample that those of us with flatter buntlines may not need any or all of the shoulder shaping
Seattle Left Front
The Left Front is a mirror of the Right Front. Right DCK is worked here, then the Left EL (and additional stitches). Remember, any adjustments made to the Right Front need to be worked on this side too.
- Left Front Shoulder Shaping: This is the perfect time to see how much shaping you need. Pin the Fronts to the Back with a stitch holder and see how the Front will fit over your bustline. Adjust by adding Short Row rows or eliminating them.
Join Shoulders: I almost always join shoulders using a 3-needle bind off and Seattle is no exception. A 3-needle bind off is stable and doesn’t require sewing. Be careful not to bind off tightly—read this Binding Off blog post! You can also see the advantage of having live stitches for checking fit of the Seattle Fronts.
Seattle Right Sleeve
- Right Sleeve Bottom Trim: This is all a repeat of what was done on the Right Front—just over a lot less stitches! The final row increases a stitch in preparation for the EL pattern.
- Right Sleeve Establish Pattern: One 37-stitch EL pattern is worked, with additional stitches at the beginning and end in stockinette. Work only the three repeats—even if your row gauge is different. Trust me on this design detail.
- Sleeve Pattern Fill-In: Worked over a single Eyelet Leaves repeat, this is the same for all sizes except for the stockinette stitches before and after the markers. The Sleeve will be approximately 6.625″ plus the DCK trim at this point, but measuring should be done over the stockinette.
- Sleeve Shaping: Work the increases as set out, adjusting as needed for any change in length you may need. With sleeves, any adjustment made in the armhole needs to be reflected in the sleeve—and vice versa. These sleeves are meant to fit smoothly over the arm and into the armhole.
- Sleeve Cap Bind Off: There is a slight difference between the number of stitches bound off on the back and on Bind Off Row 24, due to gauge differences. This should make no difference unless you bind off tightly.
- Sleeve Cap Shaping: The shaping is all done in stockinette and the Sleeve Cap needs to be 2.5″ less than the total Cap height (see the Schematic) to have the EL pattern sit properly on the sleeve. If your row gauge is different and your EL pattern height is not 2.25″, adjust the 2.5″ to equal your EL pattern height plus 0.25″.
- Right Sleeve Cap Eyelet Leaves Detail: Work one 10-row pattern repeat.
- Sleeve Cap Pattern Fill-In: Then fill in the dip in the pattern and decrease. Bind off the remaining stitches.
Seattle Left Sleeve
This mirrors the Right Sleeve, starting with Right DCK, then working the Left EL pattern at the bottom of the sleeve and on the Sleeve Cap. Any changes made to the Right Sleeve should be repeated on the Left.
I think Finishing is the secret to most projects. To master techniques before doing the finishing I always test things like picking up and working trim stitch patterns on my gauge swatch. The finishing on Seattle uses a stitch pattern we’re already familiar with, but is done using a different needle size. There is additional finish knitting for the Neck Trim after the seaming and joining occurs.
- Blocking: Be sure to wet block all your pieces before doing the seaming. It can be easier to block if you haven’t joined the shoulders–but be sure the shaping rows have been done.
- Seaming: Follow the instructions for seaming the sides, sleeves to sleeve bind off, then the sleeve caps into the armholes. I always specify exactly what I’ve done so you can replicate it.
- Ties: These are freakishly long but this is so there will be enough length to wrap around your waist and tie and still look like you have extra (this will slim your waist). I always do pieces like this on short dpns and use them as carry-around knitting while working on the larger pieces.
- Front Neck Trim: This is done on needles two sizes smaller than those used in the garment. If you change the pick up number, be sure to make it a multiple of 4 sts + 2. When finished with the Trim, work the YO bind off so your trim isn’t pulled in and isn’t too floppy.
- Working in Ends: This is all that is left to do except blocking your seams, the Front Neck Trim and the Ties.
- Final Blocking: Wet block the Ties and the Front Neck Trim. Seams can be steamed if you aren’t re-blocking the entire project.
Seattle Techniques & Abbreviations
These are on page 30, the last page of the written portion of the pattern. The crossing technique used in the DCK is set out and a few other techniques that are good to have handy. Everything else can be found at JillWolcottKnits.com. The bottom of page 30 has a box containing a list of every abbreviation and technique used in the pattern. These too are found at JillWolcottKnits.com.
Seattle Charts / Stitch Patterns / Appendices
Seattle Stitch Patterns & Charts, pages 31 through 34
The stitch patterns are given in both written and chart form, this is a great reference and perfect for swatching! We present them in order of appearance in the pattern. Each stitch pattern chart has a key.
- Left Diagonal Crossed Knots (Left DCK), page 31
- Right Diagonal Crossed Knots (Right DCK), page 31
- Right Eyelet Leaves (Rt EL), page 32
- Left Eyelet Leaves (Lt EL), page 33
- Right Eyelet Leaves Additional Stitches, page 34
- Left Eyelet Leaves Additional Stitches, page 34
Seattle Appendices, pages 35 through 89
We have created charts for each size, so you can easily follow just what you need. Many of the charts have been split into beginning and ending charts to allow us to keep them a readable size. For each size, these are the charts, in order of appearance:
- Seattle Beginning Back Armhole Shaping
- Seattle Ending Back Armhole Shaping
- Seattle Beginning Back Pattern Fill-In
- Seattle Ending Back Pattern Fill-In
- Seattle Beginning Right Front Pattern Fill-In
- Seattle Ending Right Front Pattern Fill-In
- Seattle Right Front Neck Shaping
- Seattle Right Front Neckline & Armhole Shaping
- Seattle Right Front Shoulder Shaping
- Seattle Beginning Left Front Pattern Fill-In
- Seattle Ending Left Front Pattern Fill-In
- Seattle Left Front Neck Shaping
- Seattle Left Front Neckline & Armhole Shaping
- Seattle Left Front Shoulder Shaping
- Seattle Sleeve Pattern Fill-In
- Seattle Sleeve Shaping
- Seattle Sleeve Cap Shaping
- Seattle Sleeve Cap Pattern Fill-In
- Appendix A: Stitch Charts for Seattle Size XS, pages 35 through 45
- Appendix B: Stitch Charts for Seattle Size S, pages 46 through 56
- Appendix C: Stitch Charts for Seattle Size M, pages 57 through 67
- Appendix D: Stitch Charts for Seattle Size L, pages 68 through 78
- Appendix E: Stitch Charts for Seattle Size XL, pages 79 through 89
Stitch Charts are created by Wendeline O. Wright. We collaborate on content and she designs the layout with input from Jill Wolcott.
Seattle Schematics, pages 90 through 92
The schematics give you measurements for final blocked Seattle pieces. Bottom Trim measurements, interim length measurements, and all the measurements used in the pattern are shown. Your finished piece will actually be slightly smaller (see measurements on page 2) where there is seaming. Schematics also give you a visual of what your piece will look like—always useful.
I hope this helps you see how we have choreographed this to take you carefully through the process of creating Seattle. There will surely be highs and lows, but we’ve got you covered.