Colourwork yoke cardigan with birds

With a scoop neck featuring a border of birds that frames the face, pleasing garter stitch edges, and darted shaping Chickadee is sweet, fun to knit and very wearable. As the two samples shown illustrate the colours you choose can create very different looks, have fun experimenting.


    The simple nature-inspired round colourwork yoke is a classic found in several knitting traditions, however Chickadee features a few details to update the traditional style and give a more flattering and modern look. Compared to most classic yoke patterns this is very short, easily worked over half or even a third of the rows. This means that the colourwork forms a narrower band from neck to shoulder that is shaped with short rows to scoop flatteringly at the front neck. Raglan shaping is worked toward the end of the yoke, allowing body and sleeves to curve around the underarm and avoiding the pouch effect common in traditional round yokes.

    The garter stitch band is worked from stitches picked up all around the body and worked in the round with mitred corners. It is worked with the wrong side facing so that the buttonholes are worked from top to bottom and are easier to place, the top buttonhole is worked perpendicular to the others at the end of the neck edging. If desired, the final row and bind off on the edging and cuffs can be worked in one of the colours from the yoke.

    Stitch patterns are provided in chart format only.


    Scrap yarn for holding sts.
    Stitch markers.
    7/8” / 22mm buttons – 7 for sizes up to 46 and 8 for larger sizes. Adding length to the body may require additional buttons, a larger or more decorative button can look good at the top.



  • Double knitting or light worsted weight yarn with a suggested gauge of 5-6 sts per inch.

    The colourwork yoke will work best in a springy, woolly yarn. Woollen spun, non superwash yarns that will bloom a little when washed are perfect. The stranded colourwork yoke in this weight could easily become too thick and bulky so avoid heavy, densely spun yarns. Chickadee is a simple, versatile pattern however, and different effects can be acheived with yarn with other properties. Gauge is given over stocking stitch but it’s a good idea to swatch a repeat of the yoke pattern to see the effect of a substituted yarn. Even using the suggested yarn swatching the yoke pattern will allow you to get familiar with working the stranded colourwork at an even tension and will show how your colour choices work in combination, something that’s often surprising.

    Each 1” difference in the length of the body will affect the amount of the main colour required by approx 5%.

    Shown in Green Mountain Spinnery Local Color and New Mexico Organic, Local Color is the plant dyed version of the undyed New Mexico Organic (100% Wool, 180 yds/165m, 2.01oz/57g) in the following colours.

    Ysolda’s version: Main Colour – New Mexico Organic – White
    Yoke Background – Local Color – Sunshine
    Birds – Local Color – Smoke
    Yoke Border – Local Color – Fern

    Amanda’s version: Main Colour – Local Color – Blueberry
    Yoke Background – New Mexico Organic – White
    Birds – Local Color – Amaranth
    Yoke Border – Local Color – Aster

    Main colour 855[895, 905, 1010, 1095, 1155, 1215, 1280, 1335, 1395, 1500, 1550, 1625, 1720, 1765, 1840] yards / 780[820, 830, 925, 1000, 1055, 1110, 1170, 1220, 1275, 1370, 1415, 1485, 1575, 1615, 1680] metres

    Background yoke 100[100, 100, 100, 110, 110, 110, 120, 125, 125, 135, 135, 135, 145, 145, 145] yards / 90[90, 90, 90, 100, 100, 100, 110, 115, 115, 125, 125, 125, 135, 135, 135] metres

    Birds and yoke border 20[20, 20, 20, 20, 20, 20, 25, 25, 25, 25, 25, 25, 30, 30, 30] yards / metres

  • Technique Thursday - One row buttonholes
    Technique Thursday - Colour dominance
    Technique Thursday - Wrapless short rows
    Technique Thursday - Choosing colours



20 sts and 28 rows = 4" / 10cm in st st knit flat.




Double knitting or light worsted weight yarn.
Shown in Green Mountain Spinnery Local Color and New Mexico Organic (100% Wool, 180 yds/165m, 2.01oz/57g)

Needles and notions

US 5 / 3.75mm circular, a 24" / 60cm needle and 80cm or longer

Version information