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Cloud Busting

  • This pattern is currently only available as part of A Stitch in Time Volume 3, the colourwork edition which can be ordered by following the link above

    Cloud Busting is the perfect vintage cardigan with a V-neck front, a deep ribbed welt and long sleeves with ribbed cuffs. The repeating all-over pattern is easy to remember and now in a fingering weight yarn, knits up surprisingly quickly.

    The original pattern is from the 1940s and was modelled by none other than Peggy Chester. The pattern was published by Bestway and used 5 shades of vintage 3-ply weight yarn. The single size pattern was, slightly unusually, designed to fit a 36-38 inch bust. The pattern is written completely in long hand without a chart for the colourwork making it difficult to resize directly from the pattern instructions. The vintage version is knitted flat in separate pieces with rows worked back and forth, with knit rows worked on the right sides and purl rows on the wrong side.

    The perfection of this cardigan prompted me to create as extensive a pattern as I could. I have therefore provided a range of size and fit options to choose from. In the first instance there is both a nipped in at the waist version and a straight version to choose from. The original vintage pattern appears nipped in at the welt with increases worked directly after the ribbing. You can choose this shape or a straight version. The ribbing can also be knitted using the same size needles as the main body for an even more relaxed welt. There are then three lower length options – either a short, true vintage length, a mid-length, or a longer length. The upper body is graded to fit the 12 chest sizes provided from 72 to 152 cm (28 to 60 inches), and three sleeve lengths are also provided. To make it simpler to identify which of the length options you should be following, instructions relating to these three options are colour coded – instructions for the Short option are shown in green, Medium in red and Long in blue. Please ensure you follow the instructions for your chosen length at all times. Finally, instructions both for knitting in the round with added steeks and for knitting flat are provided with separate sets of instructions provided for each.

    Cloud Busting has a deep V-neck front with shaping commencing immediately after the armhole divide. To enable instructions for both the armhole shaping and the V-neck decreases to be easily followed a table has been provided to clearly show the V-neck decreases for each size.

    I hope that these thorough instructions will ensure this pattern becomes your go-to Fair Isle cardigan pattern for all occasions!

    So why Cloud Busting? This pattern may have been published in the 1940s but 40 years later it made an appearance in the promotional video for Cloud Busting by Kate Bush in which Kate acts alongside Donald Sutherland – playing his son – and wears a tiny – possibly authentic 1940s – Cloud Busting of her own. Over the years I have been asked about this cardigan many times, so I'm particularly excited to finally be able to bring you my updated version.

    Cloud Busting is knitted in Excelana North fingering weight, the perfect yarn for colour work garments. I have used Limestone as the main background shade with Plum Jam, Muscovy Duck, Alabaster and Dark As Night as the pattern shades as these create a finished garment very similar to the original image on the pattern.

    Cloud Busting come in 12 sizes to fit from 71–152 cm (28–60 in) chest with full colour charts to work from plus a clear schematic diagram and sizing charts.

    Susan is shown wearing the 5th size, medium length Cloud Busting knitted in the round with a straight fit and shortened cuffs and welt. The sample shown has 2.5cm (1in) of positive ease at the chest.

  • Yarn
    Susan Crawford Excelana North, fingering weight,
    100% British wool, 75% Cheviot / 25% Bluefaced Leicester
    (159m / 174yds per 50g skein)

    Shade Limestone - yarn A
    Shade Muscovy Duck - yarn B
    Shade Dark as Night - yarn C
    Shade Alabaster - yarn D
    Shade Plum Jam - yarn E


    30 sts and 31 rounds = 10cm (4in) measured over stranded colourwork pattern worked in the round, after blocking. We obtained this gauge using 3.25mm needles.
    If necessary use an alternative needle size to obtain the correct gauge.


    Suggested needles for knitting in the round

    Small needles:

    2.75mm (US 2) circular needle (80-100cm in length)
    2.75mm (US 2) circular needle (30-40cm in length) or set of 2.75mm (US 2) DPNs

    Large needles:

    3.25mm (US 3) circular needle (40-50cm in length)
    3.25mm (US 3) circular needle (80-100cm in length)
    set of 3.25mm (US 3) DPNs

    Suggested needles for knitting flat

    Small needles:

    2.75mm (US 2) circular needle (80–100cm in length)
    and / or pair of 2.75mm (US 2) straight needles

    Large needles:

    3.25mm (US 3) circular needle (80–100 cm in length)
    or pair of 3.25mm (US 3) straight needles


    Waste yarn or stitch holders
    Spare needle for grafting shoulders (in the round version only)
    Stitch markers (including 2 removable)
    6 buttons, 1.5cm (0.5–0.75in) in diameter
    Tapestry needle

  • Stranded colourwork
    Working in the round
    Following a chart
    Inserting, working and finishing a steek
    Inserting a sleeve
    Picking up stitches
    Simple decreases

A yarn kit is available to order containing all the yarn required to knit Cloud Busting
Cloud Busting yarn kit

Downloading Your Pattern

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