We tend to think of sweaters as fall and winter items, but cardigans and wrap-arounds also are good for chilly summer evenings and too-cold, air-conditioned offices.
I think this rainbor wrap, like Joseph's coat of many colors, is particularly good. It's comfortable, great looking and, with so many colors, is bound to go with everything in your wardrobe.
It's also very, very easy to knit, since it doesn't requre any of those troublesome complications like decreasing at armholes or making ribbing or buttonholes. Even if your knitting skill is at the pot-holder level, you can make this virtually fool-proof sweater.
That's because it's a kimono-wrap design, made of flat, rectangular shapes. It's the colors -- and the rainbow effect -- that make this sweater, not complicated shapes or stitches.
Even the stitch is the very, very simplest -- the "garter," done by knitting every row. The garter stitch gives you a bubbly, textured surface that works well with the multicolor effect.
These textured rainbow stripes can be adapted to any basic sweater pattern. If you don't have a favorite one, I recommend making a brown-paper guide for a simple wrap as shown above. It's not a pattern in the cut-and-sew sense of the word, but you can use it to check your progress as you knit. That way you can avoid all those nasty cartoon jokes about the sweater with the 12-foot sleeve.
To begin, cut a paper rectangle for the sleeve. It should be the length of your arm from the level of a dropped shoulder to wrist, and about 18-inches wide. Next, cut the back. This will be a rectangle 16- to 18-inches wide and approximately 25- to 27-inches long. Then cut the front piece the same length as the back, but shaped so that its 6 1/2-inches wide at the top and 12-inches wide at the bottom, with the neckline slant beginning about 15 inches from the bottom. (You only need one pattern piece -- flip the left front over and it becomes the right front).
Now the fun begins. Choose from 6 to 10 bright colors in a sportweight knitting yarn, making up a total of about 32 ounces. Experiment with the colors by laying them out on a table and moving them around until you get a progression that pleases you.
To begin: Cast on enough stitches to form the width of the back rectangle, using one strand each of the first two colors. Knit them as one for about 2 inches. Then drop color No. 1, attach color No. 3 and continue to knit with colors No. 2 and 3.
For example, if you're using the spectrum colors, start with red and orange, then use orange and yellow, then yellow and green, etc. That gives a subtle, tweed effect and allows the colors to meld into each other without a real line of demarcation.
Continue to knit these horizontal stripes, changing colors until you get to the last one then start all over again; until the knitted fabric is as long as the pattern.
The back and sleeves are simple rectangles. When making the shaped fronts, knit straight up for 15 inches, then decrease by knitting two stitches together at the neck edge (approximately every other row), following your papers pattern. Keep checking the knitted pieces against the paper to make sure the size is correct.
After you get the first striped piece completed, use it as a guide for the other pieces so that the stripes will match.