Knit the Look: the “Love, Actually” cardigan

Knit the Look: the "Love, Actually" cardigan

Sunday afternoon, while forced to exercise indoors (rather than be out on the greenway where I belong!) I was also forced (or so I’ll claim) to rewatch “Love, Actually” while I did it. The high point is definitely the moment just past the 46-minute mark when a shawl-collar cable cardigan joins the ensemble cast. Worn by Aurelia, the Portuguese maid in my favorite of the storylines, it’s a deceptively simple little sweater. Chunky. Heather grey. Little patch pockets on the front. A single toggle closure. And it’s pure stockinette, including the shawl collar itself, except for the presence of some … cables. I don’t know if there’s a proper name for this sort of cable, but in my head I call them stockinette cables, which is an oxymoron but still feels accurate to me. You’re just knitting stockinette and suddenly decide to cross a large number of stitches — like 8 or more. There are no purl stitches to set them off or anything, they’re just like waves in the stockinette. On this sweater, there’s one running up each side of the front and back, and up the center of each sleeve.

To emulate it, you could use Lion Brand’s free Autumn Afternoons cardigan pattern, which has all the basic traits including the integral stockinette shawl collar. The key difference is that this collar has a facing, so it winds up being a double thickness. To make the collar more like Aurelia’s, you could omit the facing stitches (clearly described by the schematic) and either slip the edge stitches or work an I-cord edge.

Knit the Look: the "Love, Actually" cardigan

Apart from that and some 1×1 ribbing at the hem and cuffs, all you’d need to add is the pockets, the toggle closure, and the cables. For the latter, you’d want to swatch and see what such a big cable would do to the gauge, and adjust your stitch count to compensate. Since the sweater is worked flat in pieces, it would be quite simple to experiment with one of the fronts to get those details sorted out!

The recommended yarn for the pattern is listed as aran weight, but it’s knitted on US 10.5 needles at 3.5 stitches per inch. Sound familiar? Lopi would be a beautiful choice, although I’ve never attempted to cable with it. (Even “stockinette cables”!) I’d try something like Harrisville’s Turbine. Which I just realized I also recommended in the last Knit the Look! Clearly I have this yarn on the brain — might need to get it onto the needles.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: the mini Guernsey Literary Society henley

26 thoughts on “Knit the Look: the “Love, Actually” cardigan

  1. Reading your post makes me think I’ve spent my whole life searching for this pattern… this is definately going to be my next cardi !

  2. I just watched this movie over the weekend (again…ahem) and said to my daughter that I needed that cardigan! Ha! Love it :-)

  3. Omigosh! I so love this sweater (have multiple screen shots from the movie to see if I could figure it out – haha) I even went so far as to email Joji Locatelli asking her to write up a pattern. Thank you SO MUCH for your posting this!

  4. That’s so funny, this movie was on TV last night and now I am reading your post. I confess I gave up after this particular sequence. I have seen this movie ages ago and somehow the appeal is gone. Although I would gladly knit every single item in The Holiday (my favorite contemporary seasonal romantic comedy (vs. classic Hollywood ones that are just the best ever)).
    This particular cardigan just looks like the perfect boyfriend cardigan, the one you keep stealing because it just looks so much better on you.

  5. Great tip! Lopi is good for cables, though they get a bit fuzzier than with yarn with more twist. For something like this, I’d get a softer yarn I think.

  6. Is there a name for the stitch as it appears in the sweater? I really, really want to make it. I’ve seen references to a “shadow braid” that, like this cable, seems to “come out of nowhere”–so nice.

  7. I grabbed the pattern before I finished reading your post yesterday. While it uses an aran weight yarn, it uses it doubled, so it is the same as bulky (3.5 st/in) that way. I have stashed some bulky singles yarn. Do you think that might work? It is rather lofty.. I have always loved cables that appear without the usual fanfare or purl stitches announcing their arrival. They seem more organic, somehow.

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  9. Karen, I’m looking forward to your post on the long white cardigan Barbra Streisand wears in A Star Is Born, during the huge outdoor concert scene. That’s my Hollywood crush! Thanks for giving us another reason to watch and rewatch Love Actually!

  10. In terms of calculating what those huge cables will do to your gauge, according to Queen Norah, the number of stitches that go into the cross is effectively how many stitches you need to cast on beyond your target number for the width you want. So if there are, say, 8 sts crossing over 8 sts, you need to add 8 to your cast-on. And you’d do that for each of the big rope cables in this sweater. So if you’re working 2 big cables on the back and 1 on each of the fronts, you’re going to add 32 stitches to the total you’d need if the sweater were only stockinette.

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