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A Nostalgic Honeycomb Sweater
By Nikol Lohr

Inspired by an Atomic-age children’s sweater and named after Mad Men’s Sally Draper, this playful fitted cardigan with retro styling is surprisingly simple to knit. The three-quarter length sleeves make it a perfect transition sweater for crisp spring or fall days, the angora-blend yarn softens the pattern and adds to the nostalgic feel, and the crocheted buttonholes add to the overall charm.
While the honeycomb pattern looks like complicated colorwork, producing it is actually as easy as knitting stripes! Only one color is carried at a time, with the design achieved by slipping stitches from the previous round’s color. (If you’re one of the thousands who have knit the Mason-Dixon Knitting dishcloths, you already know the technique.) It is knit seamlessly in the round, so there’s no seaming, purling, or complicated float management. Then it’s steeked to make the front opening (cutting your knitting is scary but fun!), and a button placket is picked up just inside the cut edges.

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Sallycardigan 1

Materials and Specs

Yarn:
MC: 4 (5, 5, 6, 7) balls Valley Yarns Sheffield (70% Merino/15% Silk/15% Angora, 50g, 120yd), color: #14 brick
CC: 3 (4, 4, 5, 6) balls Valley Yarns Sheffield (70% Merino/15% Silk/15% Angora, 50g, 120yd), color: #02 light blue

A few yards of contrasting waste yarn of the same weight to hold sleeve stitches, mark steek, and baste
Needles:
US size 6 (4mm) 24″ circular needles and DPNs (or one long circular for magic loop, or size to achieve gauge)
US size 5 (3.75mm) 24″ circulars and DPNs, or one long circular for magic loop (or one size down from above)
US size 4 (3.5mm) 24″ circulars, or two sizes down from largest needles (above)
US E-4 (3.5mm) crochet hook

Gauge
4 inches = 22 sts and 28 rows in stockinette, on largest needles
Sizes:
Women’s XS (S, M, L, XL)
Note: This is a fitted sweater, so if you’re between sizes, go up
Notions:
Approx. 6 (7, 8, 9, 11) 1/2″ buttons (exact number will depend on final length)
Note: crocheted buttonholes are easily adapted to any button size, so feel free to adjust for your button preference!
Fit:
Fitted sweater with 3/4 sleeves and a hem that falls slightly below the waist.

Abbreviations

BO bind off
CC contrast color
CO cast on
K knit
K2tog knit 2 together (decrease): knit 2 stitches together as one
M1 make 1 (increase): lift bar between stitches and knit it through the back loop to make a new stitch
MC main color
P purl
PM place marker
PU pick up
Sl slip stitch purlwise
SSK Slip, slip, knit (decrease): slip 2 stitches, one at a time, then knit them together as one
St(s) stitches
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Wet Splicing
Sallycardigan Spitsplice
Tip: To avoid working in extra ends (a particular pain with mosaic knitting), wet splice your yarn. For the smoothest join, fray the ends a bit by snipping off a few plies to taper the ends. Then overlap, wet with water or saliva, and rub briskly between your palms to felt them together.
Close Up of Honeycomb Pattern
Sallycardigan Honeycombpattern
Right Side and Wrong Side

Pattern

Step 1: The Neck!
With smaller DPNs and MC, CO 101 (101, 101, 125, 125).
Join in the round and PM.
[K1, P1] to 5 st from end. K1, PM, and K to end. The markers surrounding the 4 extra st are for the steek.
Work 5 rows total of ribbing total.
Switch to larger needles. Knit 1 rnd.
Step 2: The Yoke!
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Yoke Honeycomb Pattern
Rnd 1: Switch to CC. Sl 2, K1, [Sl 3, K1] … to 2 st from marker, Sl 2, K4.
Rnd 2 and 3: [Sl 1, K3]… to 1 st from marker, Sl 1, K4.
Rnd 4 and 5: Switch to MC. K 2 rnds.
Rnd 6: Switch to CC. Sl 1, K1, Sl 2, K1, [Sl 3, K1] … to 4 st before marker, Sl 2, K1, Sl 1, K4.
Rnd 7 and 8: Sl 1, K1, [Sl 1, K3] … to 3 st from marker, Sl 1, K1, Sl 1, K4.
Rnd 9: Switch to MC. K 1 rnd.
Rnd 10: See below
Begin Yoke Honeycomb Pattern, ending each repeat with specified 10th rnd. Switch to circulars when the DPNs become too full.
You’ll repeat 10-rnd pattern until yoke reaches just to your armpit. Sizing suggestions are included below, but try on the sweater as you go and continue as necessary to get the desired custom fit for your body.
(Note: If you work up a custom fit, once you get to your armpit, finish that set, then follow up with another Rnds 1-8, and continue to the next section.)
Sizes XS – M Only:
Work Rnds 1 – 9 of Yoke Honeycomb Pattern.
Rnd 10: K1 [M1, K4] to marker; K4 – 125 sts.
All sizes now have the same number of stitches and can proceed together.
All sizes:
Work Rnds 1 – 9.
Rnd 10: K1 [M1, K5] to marker; K4 – 149 sts.
Work Rnds 1 – 9.
Rnd: K1 [M1, K6] to marker; K4 – 173 sts.
Work Rnds 1 – 9 as usual.
K1 [M1, K7] to marker; K4 – 197 sts.
XS ONLY: Work first 8 rnds of set, then jump to Step 3. All remaining sizes, continue.
Work Rnds 1 – 9.
K1 [M1, K8] to marker; K4 – 221 sts.
S ONLY: Work first 8 rnds of set, then jump to Step 3. All remaining sizes, continue.
Work Rnds 1 – 9.
K1 [M1, K9] to marker; K4 – 245 sts.
M ONLY: Work first 8 rnds of set, then jump to Step 3. All remaining sizes, continue.
Work Rnds 1 – 9.
K1 [M1, K10] to marker; K4 – 269 sts.
Work Rnds 1 – 9.
K1 [M1, K11] to marker; K4 – 293 sts.
L ONLY: Work first 8 rnds of set, then jump to Step 3. All remaining sizes, continue.
Work Rnds 1 – 9.
K1 [M1, K12] to marker; K4 – 317 sts.
Work Rnds 1 – 9.
K1 [M1, K13] to marker; K4 – 341 sts.
Work Rnds 1 – 9.
K1 [M1, K14] to marker; K4 – 365 sts.
XL: Work first 8 rnds of set, then continue to Step 3.
Note: To add more sets for larger sizes, continue as above, increasing the number of knit stitches between M1 increases by 1 st every 10-rnd set (24 st increased per 10 rnds). Then use the guidelines in the next section to divide for the sleeves.
Step 3: The Great Divide!

The numbers below allow roughly 20% for each sleeve, 30% for the back, and 15% for each side of the front, adjusted so each section is divisible by 4 for the sake of the pattern, with an extra stitch for the right front panel and 4 sts extra for the steek.
Switch to MC. Work the row below that corresponds to your size (extended custom sizing in the sidebar).
197 sts (XS): K32 st and PM for left front, K36 and PM for left sleeve, K56 st and PM for back, K36 st and PM for right sleeve, K33 st for right front, and K4st for steek.
221 sts (S): K36 st and PM for left front, K40 st and PM for left sleeve, K64 st and PM for back, K40 st and PM for right sleeve, K37 st for right front, and K4 st for steek.
245 sts (M): K36 st and PM for left front, K48 and PM for left sleeve, K72 st and PM for back, K48 st and PM for right sleeve, K37 st for right front, and K4 st for steek.
293 sts (L): K44 st and PM for left front, K56 and PM for left sleeve, K88 st and PM for back, K56 st and PM for right sleeve, K45 st for right front, and K4 st for steek.
365 sts (XL): K56 st and PM for left front, K72 and PM for left sleeve, K104 st and PM for back, K72 st and PM for right sleeve, K57 st for right front, and K4 st for steek.
Still using MC, K across front to first marker. Drop marker and transfer sleeve stitches to waste yarn. Drop marker and CO 8 (12, 12, 16, 16) st for armpit. K across back stitches. Drop marker and transfer sleeve stitches to waste yarn. Drop marker and CO 8 (12, 12, 16, 16) st for armpit. K to end of rnd, leaving steek/rnd marker in place.
Custom Size Sleeve Divide (Optional)
If you work a custom size, you can use these guides to divide sleeves
269 sts: K40 st and PM for left front, K52 st and PM for left sleeve, K80 st and PM for back, K52 st and PM for right sleeve, K41 st for right front, and K4 st for steek.
317 sts: K48 st and PM for left front, K60 and PM for left sleeve, K96 st and PM for back, K60 st and PM for right sleeve, K49 st for right front, and K4 st for steek.
341 sts: K52 st and PM for left front, K64 and PM for left sleeve, K104 st and PM for back, K64 st and PM for right sleeve, K53 st for right front, and K4 st for steek.
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Waste yarn holds sleeve stitches.
Step 4: The Body!
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Body without sleeves. Plain knit panel will be steeked.
Body Honeycomb Pattern
Rnd 1: Switch to CC. Sl 2, K1, [Sl 3, K1] … to 2 st from marker; Sl 2, K4.
Rnd 2 and 3: [Sl 1, K3] … to 1 st from marker; Sl 1, K4.
Rnd 4 and 5: Switch to MC. K 2 rnds.
Rnd 6: Switch to CC. Sl 1, K1, Sl 2, K1, [Sl 3, K1] … to 4 st before marker; Sl 2, K1, Sl 1, K4.
Rnd 7 and 8: Sl 1, K1, [Sl 1, K3] … to 3 st from marker; Sl 1, K1, Sl 1, K4.
Rnd 9 and 10: Switch to MC. K 2 rnds.
Begin Body Honeycomb Pattern. Repeat until sweater reaches to 10.5 (11, 11, 12) inches from armpit, or to desired length. Finish up set.
With MC and smaller needles, [K1 P1] … to 1 st before marker; K to end of rnd.
Work 2 inches in ribbing and BO in pattern. Weave in ends, working away from the center steek panel so you won’t be cutting through the tails later.
Step 5: The Sleeves!
Sallycardigan8
At each gap on either side of the armpit stitches, pick up a stitch from a bit below the edge, as indicated with the extra needle, and knit through the back loop to prevent a hole.
Right sleeve: Transfer sts from waste yarn to larger DPNs. With MC, PU 5 (5, 7, 7, 9) st along armpit; PM; PU 5 (5, 7, 7, 9) more sts. You’ll pick up one stitch through each CO stitch, plus one stitch in the gap on either side.
Left sleeve: Transfer sts from waste yarn to larger DPNs. With MC, PU 4 (4, 6, 6, 8) st along armpit; PM; PU 6 (6, 8, 8, 10) more sts. You’ll pick up one stitch through each CO stitch, plus one stitch in the gap on either side. Note that the round marker is skewed a stitch for the sake of the pattern.
Knit around to marker.
SSK. Switch to CC. K2tog and begin Honeycomb Pattern – Sleeve, counting those 2 decreased stitches as the first 2 st of the pattern (the first slipped st and knit st in Rnd 1 – so, you will begin with Sl 3).
Sleeve Honeycomb Pattern
Rnd 1: Switch to CC. Sl 1, [K1, Sl 3] … to 3 st from end of rnd, K1, Sl 2.
Rnd 2 and 3: [K3, Sl 1] … across rnd.
Rnd 4 and 5: Switch to MC. K 2 rnds.
Rnd 6: Switch to CC. [Sl 3, K1] … across rnd.
Rnd 7 and 8: K1, [Sl 1, K3] … to 3 st from marker, Sl 1, K2.
Rnd 9 and 10: Switch to MC. K 1 rnd.
Rnd 11: Switch to CC. Sl 1, [K1, Sl 3] … to 3 st from end of rnd, K1, Sl 2.
Rnd 12 and 13: [K3, Sl 1] … across rnd.
Rnd 14: Switch to MC. Knit rnd.
Rnd 15: SSK, K to 2 sts from end, K2tog.
Rnd 16: Switch to CC. Sl 2, K1, [Sl 3, K1] … to 3 st from marker, Sl 2, K1.
Rnd 17 and 18: [Sl 1, K3] to 2 st from marker, Sl 1, K1.
Rnd 19: Switch to MC. Knit rnd.
Rnd 20: SSK, K to 2 sts from end, K2tog.
Rnd 21 through 25: Repeat rnds 6 through 10.
Work full pattern 3 (4, 4, 5, 5) times.
With MC and smaller DPNs, work 2 inches in K1, P1 ribbing, and BO in pattern.
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Underside of sleeve. The sleeve pattern changes a bit to adjust for the decrease.
Step 6: Block!
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It’s easiest to work the steek if the sweater is nice and flat. To block, just soak in warm water for 20 minutes, spin or press out excess, and dry flat.
Step 7: The Steek!

Honestly, this yarn is so sticky that crocheting the steek is probably overkill, but let’s do it anyway, because it looks nice!
Sallycardigan11
The steek panel stitches. You’ll crochet the touching legs of stitches 1 & 2 and stitches 3 & 4.
Turn your work back upside down so the neck is on the bottom. Look at those 4 stitches in the center of the steek. You’ll be crocheting a stabilizing line on either side, working through the legs of two stitches at a time. Securing the legs of two different stitches together will secure your knitting so it doesn’t fall apart when you cut. If you don’t crochet, you could instead use a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine or work a whip stitch through both legs. But I find the crochet stabilizer to be the easiest and most tidy method. After you cut your steek, you’ll PU the button placket stitches along that main color border, so the steek will be hidden.
Usually when I work a crocheted steek, I crochet one slip stitch for each row of knitting. However, the mosaic knitting compresses the row height of the overall sweater, so crocheting every row will make a bulky, rippled edge. For this sweater, we’ll crochet one slip stitch every other row.
Sallycardigan12
Running stitch down the middle of the steek panel.
First, make a running stitch with your waste yarn along the center line of your steek (between the 2nd and 3rd stitches of the steek) so you won’t get off kilter (you can skip this step if you’re confident about the steek).
Now locate the stitches you’ll be securing. You’ll crochet one line of slip stitches (single crochet will work, too) through the first and second knit stitches and one line of slip stitches through the third and fourth knit stitches.
Working from the collar end, start by hooking through the cast-on loops of the first and second stitch.
Sallycardigan13
Then, work a line of slip stitch by crocheting through the left leg of the first knit stitch together with the right leg of the second knit stitch, and skipping every other row.
Sallycardigan 14
Hook your loop through the left leg of Stitch 1 and right leg of Stitch 2 every other row.
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From hem side, stitches 3 & 4 are upside down, so their adjacent legs form a ‘V.’
Turn the sweater so you’re starting from the hem side. From this side, you’ll crocheting through one leg of each knit stitch, but the legs will be facing the other way, so you’ll be working through the ‘V’ formed by the touching legs of the 3rd and 4th knit stitches.
Again, crochet a line of slip stitch, securing half of each knit stitch and skipping every other row.
Sallycardigan17
Finished crocheted steek, awaiting the scissors. The second photo shows the basted guide removed, with the ladders in between the stitches exposed, but you can leave the guide in place if that helps. You’ll cut right between the two columns of stitches, right through those ladders.
Sallycardigan18
Cutting steek: snip through the ladders between the center stitches.
Now, cut right down the middle, where your running stitch guide is. Be sure to snip through the ladders between the two stitches, not through the stitches themselves. They might unravel a teeny bit at the end, but not much, because they’ll be locked into place half a stitch over.
Sallycardigan19
The cut steek.
Step 7: The Plackets!
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Pick up one stitch for every row at the hem and neck (ribbing), and one stitch for every other row along the main pattern. You’ll work through the half of a stitch closest to the steek border.
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Picking up stitches, viewed from top of work
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Picked up stitches, side view.
Right Button Placket
With smallest circular needles and RS facing, starting at the hem side, and working into the remaining half stitch between the original pattern/steek border and the crocheted steek border, PU 1 st for each row of the edging (hem or collar, depending on the side you’re on) and 1 st for every other row of the main pattern.
Sl 1, purl to 1 st from end, K1.
Next 3 rows: Sl 1, K to end.
Sl 1, purl to 1 st from end, K1.
Sl 1, K to end.
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Right button placket before folding along purl ridge and tacking down. The left placket will be a few rows wider.
Break yarn, leaving about a yard of tail. Thread tail onto yarn needle.
Fold placket along purl ridge and use the tail to tack down the live stitches to the inside of cardigan.
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Tack down the live stitches to the inside of work. I tacked them to the legs crocheted together for the steek.
Left Button Placket
Starting at the neck edge, repeat PU as for right placket.
Sl 1, purl to 1 st from end, K1.
Sl 1, K to end.
Sl 1, P to 1 st from end, K1.
Next 3 rows: Sl 1, K to end.
Sl 1, P to 1 st from end, K1.
Sl 1, K to end.
Sl 1, P to 1 st from end, K1.
Break yarn, leaving about a yard of tail.
Fold placket along purl ridge and use the tail to tack down the live stitches to the inside of cardigan.
Starting near the top of the left placket, sew on buttons, spaced 2.5 inches apart, or appropriately spaced for your button size.
Crochet Buttonholes

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Basting both sides together before crocheting the buttonholes allows you to place them accurately and maintain correct tension along edge.
Baste both plackets together with WS facing together.
Note: You’ll work across the purl ridge along the fold. Since you’ll see 2 bumps for each stitch (one at the base and one between) choose your bumps and stick with it. If you crochet through both, you’ll end up with double the proper number of stitches.
Starting at right placket’s bottom edge and crocheting into one purl bump for each stitch, crochet a slip stitch edge up to the first button. Try to maintain a tension that keeps the edge even with the other edge (working too tight will pull it in).
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Firmly chain 3 (go quite a bit tighter than normal), then skip 2 stitches and crochet a slip stitch into the 3rd purl bump, then continue crocheting slip stitches to the next button, and repeat.
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The buttonhole will tighten up a bit after a several stitches. A bit after each buttonhole, try the button to make sure it’s a good fit, and adjust if necessary. You may need fewer or tighter chains. Repeat until all buttonholes are finished.
Note: If you’re using a different size button, simply adjust above instructions appropriately for good fit.
Weave in all ends.
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Related:
Sally Cardigan Knit-Along

About the Author:
Author Nikollohr
Nikol Lohr lives at The Harveyville Project with her partner, 2 cats, 7 sheep, and 7 hens. She’s the author of Naughty Needles & founder of Yarn School. She blogs at The Thrifty Knitter, is cupcake on Ravelry, and queenievonsugarpants on Flickr.


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