FO: Custom Design Caldwell Cape

One of my knitting goals this year was to have more confidence in my abilities as a knitter. I know I am always learning and growing in my skills but I have to trust in what I do know and I need to push myself more. A couple of years ago I was at a dog park with Cher (which she hates we learned that day) and I saw a woman in a gorgeous Kelly green cape. Of course being a knitter, I asked her about it and she told me her grandmother knit it for her over 40 years ago and it was her favorite piece because of its sentimental value and because it was just a great cape. It really was lovely and it made me think I could really go beyond my hats and scarves and mittens. So when I was on the phone with my BFF Jess 2 weeks ago talking about wanting a cape/poncho but couldn’t find a pattern I liked she said, ‘just make one up!’ I decided she was right and I thought about that gorgeous cape and wanting to make something just as special for myself. Meet my Caldwell Cape.
Custom cape
First let’s get into the details:

You will probably remember from this post what my criteria was for a cape. In case you forgot, I wanted a collar for the chill against my neck, I wanted it to not be too long since I’m short, it needed to have buttons so I wouldn’t have to pull it over my head like a poncho and I wanted slits so I could easily pull out my arms.
Custom cape
Much to my surprise and delight, I hit every single point on my list. I am beyond thrilled that I was able to pull this off. I sketched it out, did a gauge swatch and just started knitting. Here’s what it looks like when I pull my arms out of the slits. I finished off the armholes by picking up stitches, knitting one row and then binding off – just so the edges were clean and didn’t get frayed from me pulling my arms out.
Custom cape
Here’s what I look like when I pull the arms inside of the cape. Although honestly, they’ll probably always be outside of the cape because I kind of look like I have on a straight jacket like this. LOL
Custom cape
I created this piece by essentially modifying circular yoke cardigan construction, I thought the drape of a circular yoke would work best for a cape. I didn’t want you to really see the increase like you would with a raglan, I wanted this to have a smooth, gradual shape to it. I considered doing some short rows and making the back slightly longer but wasn’t sure if I’d have enough yarn (all of this yarn came out of my stash) and decided I just wanted it to run evenly across the bottom. I created the slits by simply putting stitches on hold for the back and second front piece once I got to a point that I thought I wanted slits on the poncho. I worked 45 rows, put those stitches on hold and then did 45 rows for the next section and then the last and then just rejoined them all together. That was the hardest part, figuring out where I wanted the slits to fall and hoping the placement was right after it was blocked and the collar was added. Since I didn’t have a button band or collar it was a little tricky to figure out how it would really sit on my shoulders but I got it! Each slit starts 50 stitches from the edge, which is just shy of where you would separate the sleeves from the body in a cardigan. Luckily, my placement was perfect.
Custom cape
The yarn for the yoke of this cape is so special and unique. I absolutely love it. I bought it a while ago and was saving it for something special and I’m glad I used it for this project. I wanted to make a neutral cape to wear with everything but I still needed it to have some interest and this color is just magical. I still have a skein and a half left so perhaps there will be fingerless mitts or a hat to go with it for fall? The colors in the Lemonade Shop are absolutely stunning and I just want to try every colorway she has in her shop. I also love the buttons I picked out. I knew I wanted black buttons but the sparkly fuchsia flecks pull out the bright pink in the yarn and I just love how it all comes together.
Custom cape
And of course whenever I’m taking any photos, this one isn’t too far away from me and always wanting a little attention. I am super happy about how this turned out and this just encourages me to try more things in the future when I can’t find what I want. I can’t say I’ll never do pattern design for the masses (Um…that’s a lot of math and trying to figure things out for multiple sizes seems like a daunting task) but I’ve learned to never say never. I can definitely say I see doing this for myself more in the future though. And I finished it just in time for chilly spring mornings this week. I’m going to wear this as much as I can before summer really hits!

20 Replies to “FO: Custom Design Caldwell Cape”

  1. You are amazing! This is a fabulous piece!! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I absolutely love this piece. I am super proud of myself. I was going to get coffee with a coworker this morning and got complimented on the street 🙂

      1. That’s awesome!! I’m not at all surprised!

  2. Such a beautiful creation! Amazing that your first self-designed piece came out looking so polished. You definitely need to do some more designing, if only for yourself. I like the collar very much — it looks padded and snug and nicely finished all at once. I’m interested in how you managed the increases so you didn’t have a visible raglan line. How did you do that?

  3. Congratulations on your self-drafted pattern. It looks great, and I’m not surprised you got compliments today. Also, while I know it’s warmer down there, this is the perfect garment for the transitional weather. I just finished my guided by Fringe Association top down sweater, and I’m pretty well pleased with it. I’ll blog about it and post on Instagram soon. Cheers!

    1. Yes, I want to see your finished sweater! And the temperature actually dropped here so it was really chill today and perfect to wear. It’s going to be cool for a couple of days do I’ll get to wear it 😀

  4. Bravo! It looks faboo! I knew you could do it! Encore! Encore!

  5. I remember having this design conversation with you last year … and now lookie here! 😀

    I’m glad you’re not saying never to designing for the masses cause I see it in your future. Great job with the cape, I absolutely love it!

    1. Thank you. I know if I say never it will happen. LOL I’ve learned. But I really don’t care to do all that math! UGH

  6. MJ, the SKEINdinavian says:
    March 7, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    What a great cape! You should be so proud of yourself for a job well done. Personally, I think you should make your Caldwell Cape pattern available for purchase… even if you do not do the scaling. I would buy it in a New York Minute and scale it myself.

    Hmmm… would you be interested in help scaling it? Then EVERYONE would have the opportunity to ENJOY your wonderful Caldwell Cape.

    1. I’ve been asked but I take odd notes that make it hard for me to try to turn it into a pattern. Perhaps I’ll do better next time around and keep in mind that someone else might want it.

  7. Odd notes are not rare! As long as you understand what they mean, you’re in business.

    If you would like to make the pattern available, I would be delighted to be your first customer! I have more than a couple people interested in a Cape, but they have been looking for something like yours, which we haven’t found.

    To assist with making your Caldwell Cape available, I would be happy to turn your notes into a written pattern and scale it for you.

    You have my email… your turn to “TALK TO ME!” (I think that’s cute.)

Talk to me!

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