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!


Stitching Status: Distractions & My Design

As quickly as I got my mojo back…I lost it. Honestly, I was just getting a little bored so I put that baby blanket down for a minute and just started searching on Ravelry. The weather lately has been insane (It snowed on Saturday in Maryland. It snowed.) and I keep thinking about making myself a cape/poncho. But here’s the thing, I’ve only ever owned one cape that I liked on me, otherwise I’m drowning in fabric and look dumb 😐 So I narrowed my search down to these three patterns on Ravelry:
Images via Ravelry, links below

  1. Dovenby (left): I love the circular yoke, buttons and slits for arms but I wish it had a collar.
  2. Bonny (bottom right): I love this shape but it’s bulky weight and that can sometimes add bulk to me and I don’t need that.
  3. Wednesday’s Child (top right): I like the collar and shape but I hate pulling ponchos over my head and messing my hair up.

So what’s a girl to do? I opened up my digital copy of The Knitter’s Handy Guide to Top Down Sweaters, my Knitter’s Notebook and decided to design myself what I wanted. I’m doing a circular yoke cape that will most likely have a ribbed high collar and then two slits down the front so that I can pull my arms out easily. I can control the length and shape so I don’t look like I’m drowning in yarn. If it looks completely horrible, I can just frog it before I block it – because that’s the beauty of knitting.
I pulled this Lemonade Shop yarn Mega Toxic Oreo out of my stash for the circular yoke – you can’t see the increases since it’s such a wild colorway. As I was ending the yoke I decided to do a black band of garter stitch with some Knit Picks Superwash Worsted I had to break things up a bit and then the body will be with my leftover white Manos del Uruguay Gloria yarn from my Custom Cardigan. And I may throw in a pop of bright fuchsia for some finishing and to give it some interest with a bit of color- there’s a tiny bright pink spec in the yarn and I have a yarn that’s a perfect match.

Of course knowing me and my luck, I’ll make this and love it and then the weather will stay super hot. But I want to try something new and different to challenge myself. So let’s see where this goes!