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Designer Spotlight: Noe Valley Sweater by Katherine Lee

Whenever she would run errands or drive her kids around town, Katherine Lee wished she had something warm to throw on in the car – especially on those chilly mornings. In particular, she wanted something that would work over a variety of outfits and could keep her neck nice and cozy. She came up with a general design and started knitting.

Katherine’s Noe Valley Sweater is stylish, modern and covered in cables. It’s got a bit of poncho flare, with sloped shoulders and a long silhouette – creating a look that’s both urban and flattering. Of course, it’s extra warm because it’s knit in our Berroco Ultra Alpaca yarn. Katherine named this design after her old neighborhood in San Francisco, which is known for its sunny but windy mornings.

Noe Valley Sweater by Katherine Lee
Noe Valley Sweater by Katherine Lee

How did you come up with this design?

I’m a big fan of ponchos, but only if they don’t make you feel like you’re wearing a blanket or tent. I designed the shoulders to slope quite a bit so the poncho would fit nicely at the top and the width makes this more of a versatile poncho vest, instead of a big, wide traditional poncho, which can be cumbersome and heavy.

Any interesting stories about the process?

I accidentally did the side ribbing with a slant that did not match the rest of the shoulder, so had to rip it out (turn off the TV) and redo. I’m a perfectionist, so I make it work in the end, but I’m grateful that I use yarns that are generally very forgiving if you must rip out some rows. 

How did you decide on the yarn?

I love its soft, heathery colors and beautiful stitch definition, which is very important for me, as my designs always feature lace and/or cables. It also has terrific yardage and the alpaca content adds just enough softness without compromising its durability. I’ve been stocking up on the Ultra Alpaca and will be designing more with it very soon! 

Any funny knitting stories?

I used to teach knitting a few years ago. I’d always explain that a good way to hold the knitting needles is to hold them like you hold a steak knife (an overhand hold). When I looked around to see how everyone was doing, one girl was holding the needles like she was ready to stab somebody!

If you could knit something for anyone in the world, it would be…?

A beautiful cashmere cocoon cardigan with a gorgeously thick shawl collar and lots of intricate cabling for Kerry Washington to wear on Scandal when she needs a little comfort from all the craziness of her character’s family life!

Noe Valley Sweater by Katherine Lee
Noe Valley Sweater by Katherine Lee

Do you have a cool design you want to share?  Or did you recently finish a project with Berroco yarn?  You can email Ashley: or post it to the Berroco Lovers forum in Ravelry.


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