On My Needles: Wallis Pleated Cardigan

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve shown my current knitting project with you guys!  But that doesn’t mean I’ve been knitting up a storm (during my lunch breaks and daily commute).

I bought the Knit Vintage book earlier this year and have been lusting over several of the patterns in it.

But this Wallis Pleated cardigan won over the rest and I knew I had to knit it up for this fall.

I’m making mine up in a bright red since I have a major shortage of red in my current wardrobe.  I have plenty of hot pink as well as maroon, but no true reds save this skirt.

I knit up the left front of the cardigan first and decided to use my tried and true cascade yarn: 70% wool, 30% silk yarn.  The silk content in the yarn give it a lovely drape is suited particularly to a design like this with the bust pleats.

Well… I did something bold and didn’t swatch.  Bad…bad Liz!

Generally I have an 8 sts per inch with this yarn.  But I have forgotten that this is my knit in the round gauge.  I am knitting this cardigan flat and as a result my gauge is completely off.  After knitting up the entire front half, I found that it’s very much not going to fit.  I have a 7.25 sts per inch gauge, and the front feels a good 3 inches too wide.  (The bobby pin in the picture above is where the actual side seam should be.)

I was counting on having that 8 sts per inch gauge, and if that were the case, it probably would have fit.  So I have to frog it back to the ribbing section and rework it.  But it’s not that bad… at least it’s only 1/4 of the cardigan and not the whole thing.

Since I didn’t feel like frogging, I decided to move on to the bodice back.

*Scissors are there to hold the top from curling down.

I got a decent ways up the back when this piece too, had to be put on a yarn holder since I’m not certain how long I am making this cardigan (given the front piece has to be re-knit).

What do I do?  I decided to start on the right bodice front (instead of frogging the left bodice front.)


So at this point in time, I have a too-large bodice left, 1/2 the bodice back, and about 1/3 of the bodice right pieces completed.

I like to keep moving forward on my knitting.  I kept working until I had to sit down and re-figure out my math again.

I’m somewhat confident that this second bodice piece will work out, but I’m not going to frog the original front bodice section until I know this new one will fit.  No sense in knitting it up wrong twice, now is there?!

Don’t you love my reasoning???  :)

All I can say is that once I finish a correct front bodice, this cardigan is going to go fast, now that all of the ribbing sections are done!

My mini book review:

Unfortunately, my bias against knitting from books holds true.  What do I mean by this?  Well, the garments themselves look nice, but the pattern directions leave much to be desired.  I’ve been left to figure out how many rows to knit in between each pattern section, some stitch counts do not match up like they are stated; overall basic details are left out that make working on this cardigan a challenge, even for me as an intermediate knitter.

I do have to say, there are some great knitting books out there from some lovely designers/knitters that use technology to their advantage and want to give excellent customer service to their peeps.  But this book isn’t one of them.

I don’t want to turn this post into a rant, but this book has been published and released…. and that’s about it.  Most of the patterns haven’t been posted on Ravelry, which to me is a basic promotion for ones’ book.  Luckily there is a page up for this book yet the authors are ‘hands off’ and don’t chime in to help with any knitting issues (which I posted about over a month ago).  To me, this is all basic customer service.

On the surface, the patterns are nice, but the styling is not vintage for a pro-vintage pattern book and in some cases the yarn selection is not a good match for the pattern:

This fair isle was knit with alpaca.  Never would I knit fair isle in alpaca… it just looks flimsy and structure-less; those white stitches between the color just look ‘barely there’.  This jumper would have looked so much nicer in an actual yarn made for fair isle designs!

I’m fine working from this pattern book since the designs are cute, like this Hedy Tyrolean cardigan:

But I wouldn’t advice you to buy this book unless you’re an intermediate/advanced knitter and can figure things out on your own.

I’ve been left to figure things out on my own and since this is a new book, there aren’t tons of folks who’ve knit these patterns to share their errata on Ravelry or on their on personal websites.  If you’re wanting to delve into some vintage knits I highly suggest some of the stitchcraft freebies I have posted.  But book-wise, I love the A Stitch In Time series by Susan Crawford.

Happy knitting!

In: Knitting

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (28)

  1. Good to know your thoughts on this book. I bought a pdf copy of A Stitch in Time Vol 1 this spring so that plus vol 2 should be enough to keep me knitting vintage things for a long time!

    1. Liz August 30, 2013 — 11:47 AM

      Oh yeah you’ll be busy for quite a long time with the stitch in time books. :)

      I hate to be negative about reviews. It would be one thing if it was a typo which had some errata posted online, but there is no errata plus the Ravelry page for this book is pretty quite with no input from the authors. This solidified my displeasure and now I am “on my own” when knitting from this book.

      1. Katarina Keane July 31, 2018 — 9:19 AM

        Hi I am knitting the Wallis cardigan. Cannot understand some of the instructions. I have ended up with 36 stitches on left front after increasing. What is underfacing and do you then purl on the knit row. So confused. Can you help. Thanks

        1. Kaat March 6, 2019 — 8:23 PM

          There are some really good explanations on ravelry.
          Underfacing means that you need to knit a kind of doublure. To make a neat collar.

  2. K-Line August 30, 2013 — 10:15 AM

    Holy freakin’ cow! I haven’t even read this post but I have to tell you I know my next project. That Wallis cardigan is FANTASTIC.

  3. Jane August 30, 2013 — 10:21 AM

    All these UK-only vintage knitting books are frustrating the heck out of me! I’d love to check them out of my library before buying, but we can’t buy them through our usual vendors. Boo. :(

    In the empathy department, I’m knitting a cable sweater and mis-crossed a cable an inch back. I’m going to have to frog four cables (that’s right, I did it on each repeat in the pattern) back to it and try to knit up the ladders. Scary!

    1. Liz August 30, 2013 — 11:44 AM

      Oh dear! I wish I had some help to offer on frogging cables; that’s tricky business. I say do it in a well lit room with plenty of peace and quite so you can focus. Good luck!

  4. K-Line August 30, 2013 — 10:30 AM

    Hilariously, that one is already in my queue on Ravelry. Man, I’ve been out of the knitting scene for too long :-)

    1. Liz August 30, 2013 — 11:41 AM

      How funny! But seriously, this happens to me pretty often: I see a project I love then it turns out to be already in my faves. heh

      You should knit this! :)

  5. Tasha August 30, 2013 — 11:16 AM

    Well you know my opinion on the styling of this book already, very 80s-does-vintage to me. ;) I just finished up Hedy Tyrolean and probably didn’t notice some of the issues you’re having as I tend to freestyle when I change gauge, which I ended up doing… ironically for the same exact issue you had. lol I was knitting it flat and my gauge was a lot different. Only I noticed quick enough to make some on the fly changes to account for it, which worked well. Sorry you lost almost an entire piece due to gauge but boy is that going to be beautiful when you’re done with it!

    Completely agree on the alpaca fair isle pattern– ugh. The picture of that sweater kind of makes me cringe. :/ I have the original it was based on as a PDF and it looks so much nicer (albeit black and white). I plan to knit that up someday but with wool!

    1. Liz August 30, 2013 — 11:42 AM

      I know, that fair isle jumper makes me ache inside. It’s soo rough done in alpaca. Surely they must have known this….

      Can’t wait to see your completed Tyrolean cardi.

  6. Sarah August 30, 2013 — 1:04 PM

    I have Sweater Girls, which basically seems like a re-release of Knit Vintage and I have found that there are a lot of errors in the patterns; not so good for a beginner-intermediate knitter.

    I do love the Wallis cardigan, though, and love that you’ve knit it in red! Fantastic!!

  7. I have this book too, and I completely agree with you. The alpaca fair isle sweater… well, I’m glad I know enough to realize what a terrible idea it would be, but I’m sure there are people who would try to use the specified yarn and end up with disappointing results for all their hard work.

    The styling doesn’t bother me because I’m not a vintage purist at all — my philosophy is I make/wear what I like regardless of period authenticity or whatever. I’m just happy when most of the sweaters in any given book are knit in 4ply/fingering weight! (I totally agree that the Susan Crawford books are knitting gold, however — modern updates AND the original pattern together in the same book is just amazing.)

    But I think you’re right about knitting books in general — it seems like more errors make it through to the final copy, and errata updates aren’t always easy to find or even know about until you’re halfway through a project. Your cardigan is looking lovely, though, and I have no doubt that it will be adorable on you when you finish!

  8. Oh, I love that cardigan design and the name is perfect! As soon as I saw it I knew, it looks just like Wallis’ wedding dress when she became the Duchess of Windsor. That dress is a favorite of mine, even its dove gray-blue color.

  9. Jo August 30, 2013 — 8:53 PM

    Well I’ve been knitting from a book for the first time and agree with you, the instructions stink, there is no schematic, and the photos don’t show enough details… (it’s learn to knit love to knit btw). I really like the hedy tyrolean cardigan though. So I would risk giving it a try. Ugh though, when designers don’t put their designs on ravelry they are crazy! I have that issue with learn to knit love to knit too. Ravelry is so important!!
    Your cardigan is coming along! I’m sure you’ll look fabulous in it :)

  10. I have had my eyes on this pattern, but having had issues with another design from this very book, I put it on hold.

    Your review is spot on. My favorite part of the book is the intro with images of the original vintage sweaters (I just wish they weren’t quite so tiny). There are no erratas to be found, but some of the designs are cute, so I will probably try again at some point.

    I love your color choice, and can’t wait to see the finished sweater!

  11. Ellen B August 31, 2013 — 11:18 AM

    I can’t wait to see the finished item, I love the red, I fell in love with this pattern too but have some other projects to finish first.

  12. Emma September 1, 2013 — 12:46 AM

    Kind of comforting to know I’m not the only one that feels this way about this book. I borrowed it from the library (trying before buying) and was a bit underwhelmed. Like you, I felt the styling was a bit off and didn’t really ‘sell’ the patterns.

    That said, the Wallis cardigan was the standout pattern for me from that book, so I can’t wait to see how it turns out for you!

  13. Liz September 1, 2013 — 7:22 AM

    I have the Wallis cardi in my Ravelry queue but am super put off and grateful for your review. I want knitting to be relaxing not stressful, I think I will move if further down the list for when I feel like thinking more. I have just cast on the new Andi Sutherland Hetty pattern – looks promising, not vintage but has that vibe.

  14. Tina C. September 1, 2013 — 2:41 PM

    I have pretty much the same feelings as you about this book. The patterns are lovely and interesting, the styling is more vaguely vintage than vintage (though I think that decision reflects the desire to have a broader appeal), and the fact that there is zero promotion on Ravelry–most knitter’s go-to website for seeing what’s what–is annoying at the very least. I haven’t knitted anything from this book yet simply because I haven’t seen/heard how others have fared.

    The Wallis is probably one of my favorites, though. So I’m very interested in seeing how yours turns out.

  15. Bex September 2, 2013 — 10:18 PM

    I totally agree with your views on this book! It could have been so much more with better styling, yarn choices and sizing.

    I’m interested to see your Wallis, it’s been in queue for ages but i’ve been putting it aside since no-one else has made it. The red yarn looks yum!

  16. Abi May 22, 2015 — 1:02 PM

    Great to see someone else has tried this pattern, I totally agree with you that this book leaves you to figure it out on your own at times!
    It’s not all bad because I made the Shirley lace top successfully although it wasn’t without its problems!
    Can anyone tell me what bit the underfacing is on a cardigan? Is it on the side seam or down the middle of the front where the buttons are sewn?

    1. Liz June 3, 2015 — 12:58 PM

      Are you asking specifically for the Wallis pleated cardigan, the under-facing/facing section? If so, its right down the middle where the button band is. For this one you knit the button band and facing all at the same time as working on the cardigan front sections.

  17. Nomdeplum September 29, 2015 — 1:44 PM

    have just started to knit this,and although an experienced knitter find this so hard to fathom. You start left front with 76 stitches, and rib, then instructions say with rsf increase one stitch every 6th row for 2″, then, without saying how many stitches there should be, or which side is facing, change needle size, and then there is more increasing and ribbing – ‘until there are 34 stitches in rib ‘ – then – increase in first and every following 4th stitch to 100 stitches’

    I started with 76, added around 6 in the first lot of increasings, obviously more to be added and yet 76 + 34 is already 110, without all the added ones!

    Love the red yarn for this, and the pictures have given me a much better idea of what the pieces should look like, but am disheartened!

    Help! Please!

  18. Loopylau January 24, 2016 — 4:18 PM

    Hi. Just wondering if you have had an issue with the sleeves at all? I am on my first one. I’ve increased on every 10th row and am now increasing every 6th row but to get to 92 stitches is going to take me way past 19 inches. Really want to get this done so I can wear it :-/

    1. Helen August 4, 2016 — 9:31 AM

      I am also trying to knit the Wallis, but started with the sleeves because they looked to be the easiest part! They ended up being 24 inches long in total, which is the correct length for my arms, so it didnt matter.

      I found this forum because I was wondering what underfacing meant! I think this cardigan is beautiful and worth persevering with, but agree with others that the book should have provided much more detailed instructions. Good luck everyone! PS my yarn is emerald green.

  19. Carol Ann August 4, 2019 — 4:49 PM

    Hi, I’m about to start knitting the Wallis and after reading all the comments I got cold feet. So, I’ve had a good study of the pattern and intend to draw a schematic to help me, as one isn’t provided.
    Swap the word ‘underfacing’ for button band.
    The button band is knitted at the same time as the fronts and importantly, it also forms the collar. Making the collar isn’t mentioned in the pattern, only that you stitch the ends together. So basically, you are going to join the right side band/collar with the left side at the back of the neck before you sew it to the back. You could graft this join for an invisible seam or mattress stitch it.
    There isn’t a photo of the back, but it is identical to the front. You can see the ribbing on the back where the neck opening is.
    I plan to knit the fronts and back all in one piece.

    1. Liz August 6, 2019 — 9:13 AM

      Hi Carol Ann! It’s been many years since I knit my own Wallis Cardigan. This was a tricky pattern to follow and I did like my end result but my yarn started to pill so badly that I rarely wear my cardigan these days.
      There’s not just a knit on button band but an actual ‘underfacing’ to the knit on button band. The button bands and collar are two thicknesses of fabric that get knit from the beginning, flat. At the end they’re folded under to form the button band and underfacing, in a clean and tidy way.

      Does this help??

Leave a Comment