AINSLEY CARDIGAN KNITTING PATTERN

👉 QR links can break and pattern cards can go missing, so to ensure seamless access to your pattern: COPY, PASTE & SAVE it to your device. You can then PRINT it out for some #offlineviewing enjoyment!


The wear-with-everything cardigan that effortlessly transitions you from work-from-home time to leisure time (and all the other times!).


Our Ainsley Cardigan has a slouchy, oversized fit and a draped open-front silhouette. Accented with drop shouldered sleeves and an oversized rib trim,  it's a study in refined comfort and impeccable coziness.  



An easy-level knit that comes together in no time, the Ainsley Cardigan features stunning 1x2 ribbed details and a generously oversized collar. This not only adds a touch of drama but elevates it from a typical cardigan to a captivating conversation starter.

 

 

We created our  LOLL  yarn with a special blend of premium Merino and Baby Alpaca fibers to create soft-as-a-kitten warmth and squishiness. Sustainably grown and 100% naturally soft, (not chemically softened).  LOLL is grown in the beautiful highlands of Peru and Argentina, and spun in a Fair Trade Certified facility.

 

Our models' measurements are:  Bust (34"), Hip (36"), Arm Length (30.5"). She is wearing a size SMALL.

 

SKILL LEVEL : ADVANCED BEGINNERS

Advanced beginner projects are great for knitters with a few projects under their belt. Advanced beginners can follow simple patterns, feel confident with basic stitches, simple increases and decreases for shaping, and are comfortable knitting in the round.

TECHNIQUES YOU WILL LEARN

  • How to knit simple increases and decreases to create shaping in a knit panel
  • How to evenly pick up stitches 
  • How to seam your knit panels together invisibly
  • Blocking your finished work to achieve a professional level look

TIME TO MAKE 

24 - 26 Hours

GAUGE

6.5mm (US 10.5) or 7mm (US 10.75) needle in stockinette stitch:
14 stitches x 19 rows = 4 x 4” (10cm x 10 cm) swatch

PATTERN SIZE

This pattern includes instructions for 5 different sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL. This measurement chart will help you find the size that will best fit you.


OUR AINSLEY CARDIGAN KNITTING KIT INCLUDES:

TECHNIQUE TUTORIAL VIDEOS & ILLUSTRATIONS

We've made learning easy! Easily reference our library of tutorial videos and step-by-step illustrations with just a click of your mouse. Look for tutorial links embedded throughout the pattern, and when in doubt, just click and learn!

IMPORTANT PATTERN UPDATE: NEEDLE SIZE

Due to supplier shortages, we will no longer include a 7mm sized knitting needle in this kit. After testing, we've found that using a 6.5mm (US 10.5) sized needle achieves the exact same gauge as the 7mm needle size. Consequently, we've updated the knitting pattern to reflect this change. Therefore, it's important to note that these two sizes of needles can be used interchangeably, so if you've previously purchased this kit and are currently knitting the project with a 7mm needle, please continue using it. As always, when beginning any knitting project, start by knitting a test gauge swatch to ensure you're knitting to the correct gauge for the same measurements listed in the pattern.

PROJECT NOTES

Before you start casting on stitches, carefully read through the entire pattern. This will provide clarity on the sequence of steps and bring attention to any techniques worth practicing before diving into your project.

The Ainsley Cardigan is knit in a Stockinette Stitch Pattern, and has 1x2 rib patterned sleeve cuffs, body hem and front collar.  It is made up of five panels. 

  • 1 Back Panel

  • 2 Front Panel

  • 2 Sleeve Panels

You will begin by knitting the back, front, and sleeve panels one by one. Then, you will seam the sweater together using invisible techniques. Once assembled, you will pick up stitches along the center front panels and around the back neckline to fashion the front collar trim.

HOW TO MEASURE YOUR KNIT PANELS

Exercise caution when measuring knit panels to prevent stretching and ensure accurate measurements. To achieve the specified measurements and ensure your sweater fits the pattern specifications, measure the panels when they are not stretched out or scrunched up on your needles.
  • Always measure your knit panels on a flat surface.   
  • Once flat, gently pat the full panel inwards length-wise and width-wise to tighten up the stitches and to remove any stretch between the stitches.  

GARMENT FINISHED FLAT MEASUREMENTS

GAUGE SWATCH
WHAT IS IT & DO I REALLY NEED TO MAKE ONE?

If you are new to making gauge swatches, come take a peek at our  Step-by-Step Tutorial.  

A gauge swatch is a small test square of fabric knitted before each project, using the specified stitches in the gauge tension call-out. Completing it helps identify if you're knitting too tight or too loose for this pattern, ensuring your project aligns with the intended measurements and fits perfectly.

Despite being a quick task, many skip this step due to excitement about starting the project. However, our experience emphasizes the importance of gauge swatches. There's nothing more frustrating than realizing, after investing numerous hours, that a beautiful sweater would have fit perfectly if only a gauge swatch had been made. Learn from our experience and take that extra step!

PATTERN ABBREVIATIONS

K: A Knit stitch (when there is a number beside the K (ex: K13) that means Knit 13 stitches

P: A Purl stitch (when there is a number beside the P (ex: P24) that means Purl 24 stitches

(RS): The "Right Side" of your work (for this pattern, the (RS) is the outside of your sweater)

(WS): The "Wrong Side" of your work (for this pattern, the (WS) is the the inside of your sweater)

P2tog: Purl 2, together (Purl the next two stitches together as one, resulting in a decrease of 1 stitch on your needle)

KFBKnit, Front, Back (Knit into the front and the back of the same stitch, resulting in an increase of 1 stitch on your needle)

PBF: Purl, Back, Front (Purl through the back and through the front of the same stitch, resulting in an increase of 1 stitch on your needle)

REPEAT FROM *: repeat all that comes after the * in the same order.  Two types of "repeat from" instructions include repeat from * to the end of the row", or "repeat from * a certain number of times". 

 Example 1: 
*K1, P2 repeat from * to the end of row
(this instruction is telling you to Knit 1, Purl 2 and keep repeating K1, P2 over and over until you finish the row.

Example 2:
P4, *P3, P2tog, repeat from * another 17 more times, then P3
(this instruction is telling you to first Purl 4 stitches, then Purl the next 3, then Purl the next  2 stitches together. You will then repeat the instructions from the * which is Purl 3, Purl 2 together repeat this combination another 17 more times. Once you are done, you should have 3 stitches left on your needle, which you will then, per the last instruction, Purl 3.

 

AINSLEY SWEATER PATTERN

BACK PANEL (MAKE 1)

With 5MM needles, Cast-on (XS: 87, S:92, M:97, L:105, XL:114) stitches using 
THE LONGTAIL CAST-ON METHOD

CREATING THE 1X2 RIB HEM:

RIB INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZES EXTRA SMALLLARGE & EXTRA LARGE:
• Row 1 (RS): *K1, P2 repeat from * to the end of row
• Row 2 (WS): *K2, P1 repeat from * to the end of row.
 Repeat the above two rows 8 more times, 
Then:
• Row 17 (RS) : *K1, P2 repeat from * to the end of row, your work should measure 3" from Cast-On edge.

RIB INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE SMALL:
• Row 1 (RS): *K1, P2 repeat from * to last 2 stitches, then K1, P1.
• Row 2 (WS): K1, P1 *K2, P1 repeat from * to the end of row.
Repeat the above two rows 8 more times, 
Then:
• Row 17 (RS): *K1, P2 repeat from * to last 2 stitches, then K1, P1, work should measure 3" from Cast-On edge.

RIB INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE MEDIUM:
• Row 1 (RS): *K1, P2 repeat from * to last stitch, then K1.
• Row 2 (WS): P1 *K2, P1 repeat from * to the end of row.
Repeat the above two rows 8 more times, 
Then:
• Row 17 (RS): *K1, P2 repeat from * to last  stitch, then K1, work should measure 3" from Cast-On edge.

COMPLETING THE BACK PANEL 

ALL SIZES:
For the next row, begin knitting with your 7mm Needles, you will complete the rest of the back panel with these needles.

STITCH DECREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE EXTRA SMALL:
• Row 18  (WS) decrease row: P6, *P3, P2tog, repeat from * another 14 more times, then P6 (a decrease of 15 stitches, you should have 72 stitches on needle at end of this row).


STITCH DECREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE SMALL:
• Row 18 (WS) decrease row: P2, *P3, P2tog, repeat from * another 16 more times, then P5 (a decrease of 17 stitches, you should have 75 stitches on needle at end of this row).


STITCH DECREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE MEDIUM:
• Row 18 (WS) decrease row: P4, *P3, P2tog, repeat from * another 17 more times, then P3 (a decrease of 18 stitches, you should have 79 stitches on needle at end of this row).


STITCH DECREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE LARGE:
• Row 18 (WS) decrease row: *P3, P2tog, repeat from * to the end of the row  (a decrease of 21 stitches, you should have 84 stitches on needle at end of this row).


STITCH DECREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE EXTRA LARGE:
• Row 18 (WS) decrease row: P9, *P2, P2tog, repeat from * another 23 more times, then P9 (a decrease of 24 stitches, you should have 90 stitches on needle at end of this row).


ONCE DECREASE INSTRUCTIONS ARE COMPLETE:

ALL SIZES:
• Row 19  (RS) : Knit all stitches.
• Row 20 (WS) : Purl all stitches.
Continue in the above 2 row stockinette stitch pattern until your work measures (XS: 24.5", S:25", M:25.5", L:26", XL: 26.5")  from cast-on edge.

Once you reach final measurements, BIND-OFF all stitches loosely. 

TIP: At some point mid-work, you will need to join in a new ball of yarn to continue knitting. A great seamless option, that does not require any weaving in of ends, is the MAGIC KNOT METHOD. When using the Magic Knot Method on a sweater, it's best practice to join the ball as close to a side or underarm seam as possible so that if the Magic Knot were to work its way to the front of your work it won't easily be seen.

FRONT SIDE PANEL (MAKE 2)

With 5MM needles, Cast-On (XS: 9, S:12, M:13, L:17, XL: 21)  stitches using THE LONGTAIL CAST-ON METHOD.

CREATING THE 1X2 RIB HEM

RIB INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZES EXTRA SMALL, SMALL, EXTRA LARGE:
• Row 1 (RS): P1, *K1, P2 repeat from * to the last two stitches, then K1, P1
• Row 2 (WS): K1, *P1, *K2 repeat from * to the last two stitches, then P1, K1
Repeat the above two rows 8 more times, 
Then:
• Row 17 (RS) : P1, *K1, P2 repeat from * to the last two stitches, then K1, P1, your work should measure 3" from Cast-On edge.

RIB INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE MEDIUM:
• Row 1 (RS): P1, *K1, P2 repeat from * to end of the row.
• Row 2 (WS): *K2, P1 , repeat from * to the last stitch, then K1.
Repeat the above two rows 8 more times, 
Then:
• Row 17 (RS): P1, *K1, P2 repeat from * to end of the row, your work should measure 3" from Cast-On edge.

RIB INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE LARGE:
• Row 1 (RS): P1, K1 *P2, K1, repeat from * to the end of the row
• Row 2 (WS):*P1, K2,  repeat from * to the last stitch 2 stitches, then P1, K1
Repeat the above two rows 8 more times, 
Then:
 • Row 17(RS) : P1, *K1, P2, repeat from * to the last stitch, then K1

COMPLETING THE FRONT PANEL 

ALL SIZES:
For the next row, begin knitting with your 7mm Needles, you will complete the rest of the back panel with these needles.
• Row 18 (WS): Purl all stitches

FRONT SIDE PANEL INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE EXTRA SMALL:
• Row 19 (RS) increase row: K1, KFB, K1, KFB, K1, KFB, K1, KFB, K1 (an increase of 4 stitches, for a total of 13 stitches on your needle).

FRONT SIDE PANEL INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE SMALL:
• Row 19 (RS) increase row: K1, KFB, K3, KFB, K4, KFB, K1 (an increase of 3 stitches, for a total of 15 stitches on your needle).

FRONT SIDE PANEL INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE MEDIUM:
• Row 19 (RS) increase row: K1, KFB, K4, KFB, K4, KFB, K1 (an increase of 3 stitches, for a total of 16 stitches on your needle).

FRONT SIDE PANEL INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE LARGE:
• Row 19 (RS) increase row: K8, KFB, K8 (an increase of 1 stitch, for a total of 18 stitches on your needle).

FRONT SIDE PANEL INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE EXTRA LARGE:
• Row 19 (RS) increase row:  Knit all stitches, no increase required.

ONCE INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS ARE COMPLETE:


ALL SIZES: 
• Row 20 (WS) : Purl all stitches.
• Row 21 (RS) : Knit all stitches.
Continue in the above 2 row stockinette stitch pattern until your work measures (XS: 24.5", S:25", M:25.5", L:26", XL: 26.5")  from cast-on edge. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Once you reach your final measurement, count how many rows you have created.  Make sure this number matches the amount of rows you knit for the back body panel length. If you need to add or delete a couple rows to match up the number, now is the time to do so.   Later on, when you go to seam up the side seams of your sweater, you will be matching up these back and front body knit rows. If they don't match in number, you risk having a side seam that won't lay nice and flat.  

Once you reach the final measurements of your front panel, BIND-OFF all stitches loosely.

SLEEVE (MAKE 2) 

With 5MM needles, Cast-On (XS: 42, S:45, M:45, L:47, XL: 50)  stitches using THE LONGTAIL CAST-ON METHOD.

CREATING THE 1X2 RIB HEM

RIB INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZES EXTRA SMALL, SMALL, MEDIUM:
• Row 1 (RS): *K1, P2 repeat from * to the end of row.
• Row 2 (WS): *K2, P1 repeat from * to end of row.
Repeat the above two rows another 11 more times for a total of 24 rows, 
Then:
• Row 25 (RS) increase row: *K1, PBF, P1 repeat from * to end to the row, an increase of XS:14, S:15, M:15) stitches. You should have a total of (XS:56, S:60, M:60) stitches on your needle and your work should measure 4.5” from cast-on edge.

RIB INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE LARGE & EXTRA LARGE:
• Row 1 (RS): *K1, P2 repeat from * to the last two stitches, then K1, P1
• Row 2 (WS): K1, P1, *K2, P1 repeat from * to end of row.
Repeat the above two rows another 11 more times for a total of 24 rows, 
Then:
• Row 25 (RS) increase row: *K1, PBF, P1 repeat from * to last two stitches, then, K1, P1,  an increase of L:15, xl:16) stitches. You should have a total of (L:62, XL:63) stitches on your needle and your work should measure 4.5” from cast-on edge.

COMPLETING THE SLEEVE PANEL

ALL SIZES:
Switch to 7mm needle, you will knit the rest of the sleeve panel with this needle.
• Row 26 (WS): Purl all stitches.

SLEEVE PANEL INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE EXTRA SMALL:
• Row 27 (RS) an increase row: K7, KFB, K13, KFB, K13, KFB, K13, KFB, K6 (an increase of 4 stitches, you should have a total of 60 stitches on your needle).

SLEEVE PANEL INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE SMALL:
• Row 27 (RS) an increase row: K7, KFB, K22, KFB, K21, KFB, K7 (an increase of 3 stitches, you should have a total of 63 stitches on your needle).

SLEEVE PANEL INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE MEDIUM:
• Row 27 (RS) an increase row: K2, *K7, KFB repeat from * another 6 times, then K2 (an increase of 7 stitches, you should have a total of 67 stitches on your needle).

SLEEVE PANEL INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE LARGE:
• Row 27 (RS) an increase row: *K6, KFB repeat from * another 7 times, then K6 (an increase of 8 stitches, you should have a total of 70 stitches on your needle).

SLEEVE PANEL INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIZE EXTRA LARGE:
• Row 27 (RS) an increase row: K2, *K4, KFB repeat from * another 10 times, then K6 (an increase of 11 stitches, you should have a total of 74 stitches on your needle).

ONCE INCREASE INSTRUCTIONS ARE COMPLETE:


ALL SIZES:
• Row 28 (WS) : Purl all stitches.
• Row 29 (RS) : Knit all stitches
Continue in the above 2 row stockinette stitch pattern until your work measures  (XS: 19.25", S:19.5", M:19.5", L:19.5", XL: 19.25") from cast-on edge.

Once you reach the final measurements, BIND-OFF all stitches loosely.

LET'S BLOCK IT!

Stockinette stitch, due to its knit structure, naturally curls inward, creating challenges when aligning edge stitches for panel seaming. To address this, consider Spray or Steam Blocking the panels before proceeding. Our preferred blocking method is the Wet Block, which takes more time for the panels to dry, but the resulting transformation of the knit and stitches is truly magical.

To learn how to perform each of the methods of blocking, read our blog for step-by-steps on  Blocking Your Knits

FINISHED PANEL BLOCKED MEASUREMENTS

SEAMING THE SHOULDERS

Place the 2 FRONT BODY and 1 BACK BODY panels flat on a surface with (RS) facing up. With Bind-Off edges touching, match up the front and back panel side edges. 

 Thread a length of yarn onto your knitter's sewing needle, and with bind-off stitches matched up stitch for stitch, seam the left front and left back panels together at the shoulder line using the INVISIBLE SEAM FOR HORIZONTAL STOCKINETTE STITCH.

Once complete, repeat the same process for the opposite right side panel pieces. 

 

 

SEAMING THE SLEEVES TO THE BODY

Lay your sweater flat on a table with (RS) facing up. Fold a sleeve lengthwise to find the middle point of the sleeve panel along the shoulder line.  Match that sleeve middle point up with the  sweater shoulder seam you just seamed together and use a pin/stitch marker to anchor it in place. 

 From the safety pin/stitch marker,  measure out each side from the pin (XS:8.5", S:9", M:9.5", L:10", XL:10.5")  and use a pin to anchor each end of your sleeve to your sweater side seam.  The distance between these two outer stitch markers should measure  (XS:17", S:18", M:19", L:20", XL:21").  

Lastly, check that you have the same total number of rows counted up from the bottom hem point of both your front and back panels to the outer sleeve points. This is a nice item to check as you will be matching these rows up (row for row) to create your side seams.  If you are off by a row or two, now is the time to adjust these outer sleeve pin points to achieve an equal number.  

SEAMING THE SLEEVES TO THE BODY

Thread a long length of yarn onto your knitters' sewing needle and begin seaming your sleeve panel to the sweater body using the PERPENDICULAR INVISIBLE SEAM TECHNIQUE FOR STOCKINETTE STITCH.  

SEAMING THE SIDESEAMS TOGETHER

With (RS) facing up, match up the front and back panels row for row along the side seam as well as along the underarm seam. Make sure the ribbing stitches of the front and back body panels and the sleeve cuffs match up row for row and that the sleeve underarm points match together.   Use your safety pins to keep your rows matched up to make the seaming process easier.   

Use the INVISIBLE SEAM FOR VERTICAL STOCKINETTE STITCH to seam the panels together to close up your sweater. 

 

ADDING THE COLLAR RIB TRIM

We will now be picking up stitches along both front panels and back neckline to create the center front collar trim.  If you are new to this technique, come take a peek at our tutorial PICKING UP STITCHES. (skip ahead in the video to  6:56​ min. How To Pick Up Stitches Perpendicularly Along A Side Edge)

Using the 5mm NEEDLE and with the  (RS) FACING UP, you will begin at the RIGHT FRONT PANEL hem stitch. Pick up stitches in multiples of 3+1 along the center front opening, around the back neckline and then back down the opposite center front opening in the following pattern:

Right Front Opening: Pick up 3 stitches out of every 4 (skip over the 4th stitch).

Shoulder Seamlines: Pick up a stitch in the middle of each of the shoulder seams.

Back Neckline: Pick up a stitch in every stitch along the back neckline (do not skip any stitches).

Left Front Opening: Pick up 3 stitches out of every 4 (skip over the 4th stitch).

PICKING UP STITCHES FAQ's:

WHAT DOES "PICK UP IN MULITPLES OF 3+1" MEAN?

Our rib pattern is a 1x2 rib pattern (essentially a repeat of 3 stitches over and over). We want for this pattern to look symmetrical at the base of our hemline, therefore, we want the two stitches that are located at the very base of our hem to be the same. In this circumstance, we want both of them to be a KNIT stitch. Therefore, you need to have total number of stitches picked up that equal to multiples of 3 +1. (that +1 is the extra stitch you add in for the rib pattern symmetry of that extra KNIT stitch). So, for example, if you pick up enough stitches for there to be 228 stitches (that's a number evenly multiplied by 3, therefore you should pick up 228 +1 stitches.   

WHAT DOES "PICK UP 3 STITCHES OUT OF EVERY 4"  MEAN?


The Knit stitches we are picking up will be running perpendicularly to the knit stitches on the front panel.  KNIT stitches are wider than they are tall so we need to accommodate for that difference to avoid having a puckered cardigan collar rib. The pattern for picking up your stitches along the front panels will be, pick up three stitches, then skip over one stitch, then pick up three, then skip over one stitch, over and over.  

WHY DO I PICK UP INTO EVERY STITCH ALONG THE BACK NECKLINE?
Your collar knit stitches will be facing the same direction (vertical) as your back panel knit stitches therefore they will be the same size as the stitches you are picking up into.  So, no need to adjust for any variance in stitch size here, the stitches will lay perfectly flat and not stretched out if you pick up into every stitch along the back neckline.  

• Row 1  (WS) (starting at left side hem): P1, *K2, P1  repeat from * to last stitch
• Row 2 (RS)  (starting at right side hem): K1 *P2, K1 repeat from * to last stitch

Continue in the above 1x2 rib pattern until your work measures 4.5” from the point where you picked up stitches. 

NOTE:  The front opening of this cardigan is intentionally designed to remain open, creating a stylish vertical line that extends down each side of the neck and shoulder area. Based on valuable feedback from our customers, some have expressed a desire for  a modified version of this  design with a broader collar to enhance coverage over the front of the body. This can be easily achieved by increasing the depth of the collar  4.5" to a finished 6" or  even up to 8" . Depending on the amount  of yarn remaining from your last ball, you might have sufficient material to expand the collar width. However, if additional width is desired, you will need to purchase another yarn ball to ensure your preferred outcome.

Once the knitted width is complete, bind off loosely while staying in your 1x2 rib pattern,  (binding off in pattern means, in your bind-off row, continue your 1x2 rib pattern of knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches while you are binding-off).  

NOTE:  Binding off "in pattern" will allow your rib to remain stretchy and lay flat

FINISHING YOUR SWEATER

Weave in any loose ends and proudly sew on your Project Weekend x ME. woven label!  

If you notice the front collar rib causing the cardigan to pull up due to tension, ease the tension by steam or spray blocking the rib. If not done already, we highly recommend a WET BLOCK for your Ainsley Sweater. This step instantly elevates the piece from homemade to ultra-professional, evening out stitch tension, setting finished measurements, and ensuring the rib collar trim lays nicely and flush with the front panels.

For step-by-step instructions on the different methods to block your knits, read  our blog BLOCKING YOUR KNITS.

Here's an example of our photo sample straight off the needles and the remarkable transformation after blocking. Notice the tightness of the collar trim initially! Witness the beautiful relaxation and setting achieved after wet blocking. The process enhanced overall tension uniformity throughout the sweater, eliminating any tendency for the rib trim to pull the whole sweater up at the center front.