Cruel Summer Tips

On this page you’ll find tips and tutorials to help you as you make your own Cruel Summer cardi! Also, if there is any errata it will be listed at the bottom of this page.

General Tips:

Picking a Size:

Cruel Summer is meant to be worn with extra positive ease to ensure it has the same type of drape as photographed. This also allows for some “gauge forgiveness” – when you are working with linen yarns, often keeping your gauge consistent can be tricky (see my note below about gauge!). But if you knit your Cruel Summer with lots of positive ease so it has lots of drape, these gauge inconsistencies will not be an issue. Click here for my tutorial page all about picking a size and taking both hem circumference and chest circumference into account.


Knitting with linen is a whole totally different experience than wool or wool blends! First, your gauge may tighten up after blocking (which can be the opposite of what you may be used to). Second, gauge inconsistencies can be common. For example, in my own Cruel Summer sample, my post-blocked gauge for the most part is 20.5 sts/4″. However, there are some areas were it measures closer to 22 sts/4″ and some areas where it’s closer to 19.5 sts/4″. Linen has no elasticity or give to it, so it’s common for this to happen. This is why often you will see linen pieces designed to be worn with lots of positive ease and drape because those types of shapes and fit are most forgiving of gauge inconsistencies.


As I mentioned above, Cruel Summer is knit with a linen/silk blend – Berroco Chai. In order to have a similar drape as that shown in the photos, I suggest using this yarn or one that is similar in fiber content. The other reason for this is because there are raw edges in this piece which, when knit in a linen yarn, lay flat after blocking/steaming. But if you use a wool yarn, they will roll. If you are unable to find this particular yarn (or are looking for alternatives), here are some similar options:

If you are new to working with linen yarn, check out my 6 Tips for Working With Linen Yarn blog post!

Lace Stitch Pattern:

The focal point of Cruel Summer is the lace stitch you see featured along the hem and the Front edges. The stitch pattern is a classic one called “Irish Mesh Stitch.” I created the video tutorial below that shows you exactly how to work this stitch pattern – I highly recommend you taking a look at it even if you are a more experienced knitter because I share some tips on working this pattern in the Chai linen yarn, and I also keep tips on how to “read your knitting” with this stitch so that you can avoid making mistakes! The video is about 15 minutes, but I think it’s a great mini lesson as you get started on this cardi. Check it out below:

Adding Body Length:

Adding length to your own Cruel Summer is super easy! The best place to add it is in the body, after the hem but before you begin the body shaping. In this area you’re instructed to repeat rows 1-4 4 times or until it measures 7″ from cast-on edge. The body shaping will take up approx 3″, so if you knit the piece as instructed, your underarm to hem length will be 10″. This may seem short, but keep in mind that the shoulder depth and the armhole depth are more exaggerated in this piece, so it’s important to look at the schematic to see the total garment length for your size (measurement “J” in the schematic) and then decide how much extra body length you want to add. You can measure from the back of your neck down to see how much length you want for your overall body length and compare that to the schematic. I go into more details about this on my tutorial page about picking a size so I encourage you to check this page out if you are considering adding more length.

Back Sleeve Stitches: Picking up into base of Front’s cast-on stitches

On page 5, in the “Back” section, you are instructed to transfer the Back sts from scrap yarn to your circular needle, and then, instead of cable casting-on your sleeve stitches like you did for each Front, you’ll be instructed to pick up into the base of the Front’s sleeve cast-on stitches. These are steps 1-9 you see in the pattern. I have a complete photo tutorial page of all of these steps – click here to check it out!

Knitting Technique Tutorials:

Below are links to all of my tutorials for the knitting techniques used in Cruel Summer – you’ll find everything from casting-on, to german short rows, to three needle bind-off, and more!

Blocking Cruel Summer

As I say with all of my garment designs, blocking can make ALL the difference. And to prove that point, check out the before-blocking and then after-blocking comparison photo below:

As you can see, the edges all flattened out and overall the piece is just so much more crisp and flowy. In addition, before blocking, the fabric cinched in a little at the point where the Irish mesh stitch hem met the stockinette stitch body (due to tension differences). But this all flattened out after blocking! Also, because it’s linen, you can iron/steam any of the edges that you feel need a little extra flattening out. Are you new to blocking? I wet blocked my Cruel Summer in the same manner that I block all of my garments. You can check out my YouTube tutorial about how I block here. And below is a picture showing my Cruel Summer drying on my blocking tiles:


In version 1.0 (you can see version in the PDF name), page 6, the following edits should be made:

  • In the “Back” section, after “step 9”, the stitch count should read: 140 (158, 170, 188) (200, 218, 230).
  • In the “Final Back Rows” section, in the second bullet, you should BO 32 sts for the Back neck (not 30).