The hard part about having a favorite item of clothing is that it wears out. About a year ago I knit a summer shirt called the Cap Sleeve Lattice Top, and boy, oh, boy, has it seen some action. Shockingly, there’s little sign of wear and tear. To keep it that way, I thought I’d knit up another sleeveless sweater to work into my rotation.

The Cable Back Shell, is perfect for the days I’m not wearing my Cap Sleeve Lattice. A simple knit with a few special moments of intrigue: twists and turns, dips and dives. Wait, now I’m thinking the Cap Sleeve may be just right for days I’m not wearing my Cable Back Shell!

This lofty cashmere top is a cloud of a shirt that hovers off the body with feminine elegance. Only Jade Sapphire’s sumptuous 2-Ply Mongolian Cashmere could produce such an ethereal fabric.

The Cable Back Shell is knit flat, starting at the bottom of the back and moving up and over the shoulders and down the front. Two short seams and you’re done, just like the Cap Sleeve Lattice Top. I hope you like its cousin just as much! -Laura

Materials

Gauge

7 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Sizes

XSmall (Small, Medium, Large, XLarge, XXLarge)

  • Bust Circumference: 33 (37 1/2, 42 1/4, 46 1/2, 51 1/4, 56) inches
  • Length from Shoulder to Bottom Edge: 21 1/4, with directions to lengthen in 2 1/2-inch increments
  • Length from Underarm to Bottom Edge: 13 1/4 (12 3/4, 12, 11 3/4, 11 3/4, 11 1/2) inches, with directions to lengthen in 2 1/2-inch increments
  • Ease: designed to fit with an ease of at least 2 inches

Notes

C22B: Cable 22 Back. Place 11 stitches on cable needle or spare double point and hold to the back of work, knit across following 11 stitches, then knit across 11 stitches on cable needle. For a cable tutorial, please click here.

M1R: Make 1 Right. Please see our tutorial by clicking here.

M1L: Make 1 Left. Please see our tutorial by clicking here.

Pattern

Back

Cast on 126 (142, 158, 174, 190, 206) stitches.

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, *k2, p2, repeat from * to end.

Row 2: K2, *p2, k2, repeat from * to end.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 2 1/2 inches, ending with Row 2.

Next Row (wrong side): Change to stockinette stitch, beginning with a purl row, and work for 19 rows, ending with a wrong-side row.

Cable Row (right side): K52 (60, 68, 76, 84, 92), place marker (pm), C22B (see Pattern Notes above), knit to end.

**Work in stockinette stitch for 19 rows, ending with a wrong-side row.

Cable Row (right side): Knit to marker, slip marker (sm), C22B, knit to end.

Repeat from ** five more times or, to add 2 1/2 or 5 inches in length, repeat from ** six or seven more times.

Work in stockinette stitch for 19 rows, ending with a wrong-side row.

Shoulders and Neck

Row 1 (right side): K2, *p2, k2, repeat from * to end.

Row 2: P2, *k2, p2, repeat from * to end.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for 1 1/4 inches, ending with a wrong-side row.

Next Row (right side): Work in established rib pattern for 38 (46, 54, 58, 66, 74) stitches, place previous 38 (46, 54, 58, 66, 74) stitches on stitch holder or scrap yarn, bind off 50 (50, 50, 58, 58, 58) stitches in pattern, removing stitch marker, work in rib pattern to end. [38 (46, 54, 58, 66, 74) stitches remain for each shoulder]

Front

Note: You will work the top Left and Right sides of the Front separately, starting with the Front Left. Stitch counts in the following two sections do not include the stitches on hold.

Front Left Shoulder Ribbing

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, *k2, p2, repeat from * to end.

Row 2: K2, *p2, k2, repeat from * to end.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until there are 2 1/2 total inches of ribbing, including ribbing at top of Back, ending with a wrong-side row.

Front Left Neck

Row 1 (right side): [K2, p2] twice, pm, knit to end.

Row 2: Purl to marker, [k2, p2] twice.

Row 3 (increase row): [K2, p2] twice, sm, k1, m1R, knit to end. (1 stitch increased)

Row 4: Repeat Row 2.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 four (four, four, five, five, five) more times. [43 (51, 59, 64, 72, 80) stitches]

Next Row (increase row): [K2, p2] twice, sm, [k1, m1R] twice, knit to end. (2 stitches increased)

Next Row: Purl to marker, sm, [k2, p2] twice.

Repeat previous 2 rows two more times. [49 (57, 65, 70, 78, 86) stitches]

Next Row (increase row): [K2, p2] twice, sm, [k1, m1R] three times, knit to end. (3 stitches increased)

Next Row: Purl to marker, sm, [k2, p2] twice.

Repeat previous two rows one (one, one, two, two, two) times. [55 (63, 71, 79, 87, 95) stitches]

Next Row (increase row): With right side facing, cable cast on 8 stitches, [k2, p2] four times, sm, knit to end. [63 (71, 79, 87, 95, 103) stitches]

Next Row: Purl to marker, sm, [k2, p2] four times.

Next Row: [K2, p2] four times, sm, knit to end.

Repeat previous two rows until piece measures 8 (8, 8, 8 1/2, 8 1/2, 8 1/2) inches from the end of the Shoulder Ribbing.

Cut yarn and place Front Left stitches on hold.

Front Right Shoulder Ribbing

Note: You will now be shaping the Front Right. Stitch counts in the following two sections do not include the Front Left stitches on hold.

Rejoin yarn with wrong side facing.

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, *k2, p2, repeat from * to end.

Row 2: K2, *p2, k2, repeat from * to end.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until there are 2 1/2 inches of ribbing, including ribbing at top of Back, ending with a wrong-side row.

Front Right

Row 1 (right side): Knit to last eight stitches, pm, [p2, k2] twice.

Row 2: [P2, k2] twice, sm, purl to end.

Row 3 (increase row): Knit to 1 stitch before marker, m1L, k1, sm, [k2, p2] twice. (1 stitch increased)

Row 4: Repeat Row 2.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 four (four, four, five, five, five) more times. [43 (51, 59, 64, 72, 80) stitches]

Next Row (increase row): Knit to two stitches before marker, [m1L, k1] twice, sm, [k2, p2] twice. (2 stitches increased)

Next Row: [P2, k2] twice, sm, purl to end.

Repeat previous 2 rows two more times. [49 (57, 65, 70, 78, 86) stitches]

Next Row (increase row): Knit to three stitches before marker, [m1L, k1] three times, [k2, p2] twice. (3 stitches increased)

Next Row: [P2, k2] twice, sm, purl to end.

Repeat previous increase row one (one, one, two, two, two) times. [55 (63, 71, 79, 87, 95) stitches]

Next Row (increase row) (wrong side): With wrong side facing, cable cast on 8 stitches, [p2, k2] four times, sm, purl to end. [63 (71, 79, 87, 95, 103) stitches]

Next Row: Knit to marker, sm, [p2, k2] four times.

Next Row: [P2, k2] four times, sm, purl to end.

Repeat previous two rows until piece measures 8 (8, 8, 8 1/2, 8 1/2, 8 1/2) inches from the end of the Shoulder Ribbing, ending with a wrong-side row.

Join Front Right and Left

Row 1 (right side): Knit to marker, [p2, k2] twice, you will work the remaining 8 stitches of the Front Right and the first 8 stitches of the Front Left together. To do this, place 8 stitches from Front Left onto spare double pointed needle or cable needle and hold needle parallel to the working needle, with the working needle with the remaining stitches of the Front Right in front of the doubled pointed needle with the Front Left stitches, *[p2tog] twice (1 stitch from Front Left together with 1 stitch from Front Right), [k2tog] twice (1 stitch from Front Right together with 1 stitch from Front Left), repeat from * once. Now, continue working across Front Left stitches on hold, [k2, p2] twice, knit to end. [118 (134, 150, 166, 182, 198) total stitches]

Work in stockinette stitch across all stitches until the Front length is 2 1/2 inches shorter than the Back length, ending with a right-side row.

Front Ribbing

Row 1 (wrong side): P2, *k2, p2, repeat from * to end.

Row 2: K2, *p2, k2, repeat from * to end.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until ribbing measures 2 1/2 inches.

Bind off in pattern.

Side Seams

Fold the piece at the shoulders. Starting just above the bottom ribbed edges, use mattress stitch to sew the Front and Back together, ending 8 (8 1/2, 9 1/4, 9 1/2, 9 1/2, 9 3/4) inches before the shoulder fold.

Armhole Edging

Beginning at bottom of armhole, rejoin yarn. Binding off stitches as you pick them up, pick up approximately 3 stitches for every 4 rows.

Weave in your ends and you’re finished!