Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rugged Knits Pattern Highlight: Braided Brook

Before I begin, I want to give a quick public service announcement - Shannon Cook is giving away a copy of Rugged Knits on her blog, Very Shannon! She's also got a lovely review of the book, so head on over for your chance to win!

Okay, back to this week's post!

I'm particularly proud of this week's Rugged Knits pattern highlight, Braided Brook. When I started working on the book I knew I wanted to include a really glorious cabled sweater and it came out just as I had hoped. The central cable pattern was created through a collaboration with my husband. I've mentioned before how he works with me on color charts, but cables were a special challenge. We definitely went through several iterations of this pattern to get it to be striking and also actually physically possible to knit. I love that this finished sweater combines a relaxed, cozy look with the fit and slouchy cowl neck, with dramatic elegance that all-over cabled texture can provide.

- Worked bottom-up in pieces, then blocked and assembled. The cowl neck is the final step. 

- Working this sweater in pieces has a bunch of advantages. Seams offer stability and reinforcement, which can be important given the fabric is fairly heavy and dense, and I worked my sample in an alpaca-blend yarn, which could stretch over time without the help of seams. Working in pieces also means your project is never so huge that it gets cumbersome, and you only have to focus on parts of the cable charts at once.
- It features lots of details that make for a flattering fit: set-in sleeves, waist shaping that's worked into the cable pattern, and sloped shoulders.

- The fit is relaxed. I recommend 3-5" (7.5-12.5 cm) of positive ease to get the look shown in the sample photos.

I knit my sample in a great staple yarn - Berroco Ultra Alpaca. It's a 50/50 wool/alpaca blend and I love that it gives most of the resilience and bounce of wool while also offering a subtle halo and a bit of extra warmth from the alpaca content. It's a multi-plied worsted spun yarn with a pretty tight twist, so it gives amazing stitch definition, but it also has a very soft look.


- Depending on the look you want, there are a lot of different options for this sweater. Ultra Alpaca is a pretty standard worsted, so first look for yarns that recommend about 20 sts = 4" (10 cm). I do recommend opting for a fairly soft yarn since the cowl neck is bound to be right on the skin.
- For a light, tweedy look, try one of my favorite yarns, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter or Hikoo Kenzie.
- If you want something with a clean, sophisticated look, how about  Quince & Co. Lark?
- The semisolid colors of Hazel Knits Cadence would create an artsy, watercolor feel with popping stitch definition. 
- I'm considering making a sweater for myself in O-Wool Balance, a 50/50 wool/cotton blend. I've got a sweater's-worth in Sapphire & I think this would be a great option for anyone worrying that it could be too warm in alpaca.

Those cables are so dreamy!

Cables cause fabric to draw in very dramatically, so be sure to use a yarn that's based on the recommended gauge of the sample yarn (about 20 sts = 4" (10 cm)) rather than going with the gauge over the cable pattern. The pattern gives gauge in Stockinette and cables, as well as the width of the central cable panel to help you check your gauge.

Be sure to use the hashtags #RuggedKnits, #Braided Brook, and #AndreaRangelKnits when you post pics of your Braided Brook projects!

I'm teaching at Knit City in Vancouver October 1-2, 2016. Both sessions of my Finishing class have already sold out, but there's still space to sign up for my classes on pi shawls and yarn substitution! Click here to sign up.

I'll also be at Knit Fit in Seattle November 12-13, 2016. I'm teaching two new classes, one on cables and one on colorwork, and if you missed out taking finishing at Knit City, you can take it in Seattle! Click here to sign up!


Finished Measurements

34.5 (38, 42.5, 47, 51, 55)” (87.5 (96.5, 108, 119.5, 129.5, 139.5) cm bust circumference, and 24 (24.5, 25.5, 26, 27, 27.5)” (61 62, 65, 66, 68.5, 70 cm) length

Intended to be worn with 3–5” (7.5–13 cm) of positive ease 
Shown in size 38” (96.5 cm)


1296 (1438, 1589, 1740, 1901, 2043) yd (1185 1315, 1453, 1591, 1738, 1868 m) worsted weight (#4 Medium) yarn

Shown here: Berroco Ultra Alpaca (50% alpaca, 50% wool; 215 yd 197 m/100 g): color #62111 Zephyr, 7 (7, 8, 9, 10, 10) skeins


Size U.S. 5 (3.75 mm) straight and 24” (60 cm) long circular (cir) 
Size U.S. 6 (4 mm) 24” (60 cm) long circular (cir) 
Size U.S. 7 (4.5 mm) straight and 24” (60 cm) long circular (cir) 
Adjust needle sizes if necessary to obtain the correct gauges.

Stitch markers (m); cable needle (cn); tapestry needle


20 sts and 27 rows = 4” (10 cm) over St st using largest needles 
26 sts and 27 rows = 4” (10 cm) over side cables using largest needles 
34-st Sleeve Cable Panel = 41⁄2” (11.5 cm) wide 74-st Center Cable Panel = 71⁄2” (19 cm) wide

See it on Ravelry


  1. Hi,
    I am just finishing up size 55" and I am picking up stitches for the cowl. Following the instructions, I picked up exactly 70 on the back, as that was the number of total stitches. However, the front is wider, but I am supposed to pick up only 50 stitches. Am I to skip some stitches between those I pick up? I don't want to mess up such a cabled masterpiece. Please let me know what to do.
    Zaandam, Netherlands

    1. Hi Nicole, thanks for reaching out! If you're feeling like you're not picking up enough stitches at the front, pick up one stitch for every bound-off stitch, and two stitches for every 3 rows along diagonal and vertical edges. Just be sure you end up with a multiple of 4 and you'll be able to do the 2x2 rib pattern as it's written in the pattern. Happy knitting!


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