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It used to be hard for me to visualize the two ways that Jeanette Sloan’s inventive Mood Cardigan can be worn. They are two very different looks, and it will be fun trying out both of them when it’s time to pop the Mood over the uniform du jour this fall.

When this design was in the works, I was excited by the convertibility, but found it hard to describe. Jeanette finally made it click for me, with her shorthand for the Mood Cardi’s two wearing options. You can wear it “rib up”—with the ribbed neck opening at your actual neck, or “rib down,” with the rib now forming a sort of hem at the bottom of the cardigan, leaving you with draped lace lapels that look almost like a latter-day ruff. Either look frames the face in a cool way—with the neat miters of the rib, or the cascading flow of openwork fabric.

Jeanette recently posted some pictures that demonstrate the differences really well.

Rib up, the miters point to the collarbones, giving the soft shape a bit of sharpness. i would knit the mood cardigan just for this perfect detail.
Rib up. Back view. Worn this way, the 2-rectangle construction is revealed.

Now, flip it rib-side down. Can you see it in your mind’s eye?

worn with the Rib down, it looks like a bomber jacket and a shrug got together.
Back view. A short, blouson effect.

The deciding factor for me will be how the cardigan interacts with whatever else I’m wearing. I think for a dress, I’ll wear it rib up, as a kind of topper. With trousers or leggings, rib down might be a good look. Or maybe the other way around? I’ve never had a convertible garment before, unless tying a sweater’s sleeves around my neck or waist counts. We will see!

I’m so close to finishing mine! Next time you see it, it will be on my person, rib up or down.

Photos of Jeanette Sloan by Sam Sloan.

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  • I love this even more now that I’ve seen both views. I’m lace phobic but determined to give this a try. Hmm… I’m wondering if I can do a non lace version?

    • Don’t be nervous about knitting lace. Give it a try. Maybe not this project but try something smaller like a scarf. Most lace patterns are simple yarn overs and ssks and k2tog. It gives you such a feeling of satisfaction when you look at what you’ve done. Plus the variety of stitches relieves boredom from knitting something plain for a big project.

    • This lace is super easy – quick to learn and easy to track so you see an error immediately, easy to correct if necessary. Give it a try!

    • I’ve been lace phobic as well, my one experience I powered through, but lengthy, fraught and tense – but this one is a snap! It’s not one of those complicated charts – this one is actually simple to memorize and just offset. I was amazed! Very elegant design – simple to knit but with a lovely effect!

    • I’m with you Brenda – I’m lace phobic all the way. But this lace looks doable…maybe? I’ll have to sit with the pattern and swatch to decide. I’m not crazy about swatching but in this case it seems like it’s critical for me to decide if I can do the whole cardigan. It looks so cool and comfortable!

  • Love both ways. Rib down might be the more flattering for me. But might depend, like you said, on the outfit. Love the colors of Jeanette’s outfit. Like sunshine. So refreshing to get away from black and grey (even though they are practically my uniform).

  • Oh, this is cool! I could not picture how it would work 2 ways either. Had to see actual pictures;)

  • Just beautiful ! I love the upside down look!

  • I had to set my Mood aside to finish some other things but I’m back at it now and I can’t wait to finish and try it on. Don’t be afraid—this is a perfect first lace project!

  • It’s definitely beautiful either way.

  • I’ve been struggling with what size to make. Any chance Jeanette can tell us what size she’s wearing because it looks absolutely fabulous.

  • Mood cardigan question: I just cast on (using gleem lace in the coppery tone), using the provisional cast on. It seemed like the pattern has you jump right into the lace pattern, but I didn’t see how you could pull out the scrap yarn with the wrap part of the sk2p stitch. So I did the first row in purl stitch before starting the lace stitch. It looks fine so far. Could I have started right off with the lace pattern and still have pulled out the provisional scrap yarn?
    PS: I made the decision to make this cardigan because I was so intrigued by the two looks! And for those who are hesitating, this is an easy lace pattern.

    • Hi Kathy,

      I felt the same way so I also purled the first row and then launched into the lace pattern. Apparently you can just jump into the lace but it does make it harder to un-zip the cast-on so I think you’ll be happy with that decision. (I’ve already unzipped mine and put the cuffs on, no ill effects from the purl row at all.)


  • I once made a sweater coat that could be worn either way …
    Found yarn in stash for this (Tosh merino light) – but have to work on gauge. 8s seemed way too loose.

  • This really helps to understand the pattern design better. But I’m wondering about how to “sew” pieces together. There are detailed instructions for Kitchener but it’s not clear to me where you use that. Where does it say what stitch to use for all the sewing?

  • Ooh, I love the “mitered corners” look of that collar. That sold me–added to my queue! Actually, though, I have already knit a lacy sweater that is convertible in this way. If anyone’s interested and wants another version after finishing their Mood, try Isabell Kraemer’s Reagan cardy. It is more like half-lace, half-stockinette, but Isabell models it both lace-up and lace-down, much like the Mood is shown here, and I’ve worn mine (knit in a summery Holst wool-cotton blend) both ways. It’s cool to have the options! I never cease to be amazed at the ingenuity of knitwear designers. How do they think of these things?!?

  • I like them both ways. It will be hard to decide, which way to go. Maybe flip a coin.

  • so lovely !

  • So lovely, both up and down!

  • Is this a good first sweater project? Have knitted multiple scarves, afghans and throws. Thank you, Michele Dozier

  • Has anyone tried this in linen such as Kestral?

  • Oh this will be cozy. Once traveling at night I put on my jacket while the seat-belted front seats passenger UPSIDE DOWN!!! Upside down for a snuggly collar is a great thing.
    And this is a lovely sweater.

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