For those that are following the saga, you may remember that I have been tempted by a promise by avid blogger Karen Templer that she would offer a free pattern for a sleeveless sweater on 1 May. My impatience led me to measure up a chunky wooly I had at home and work out, roughly, how to knit something like it. To a woman you told me to have a go and “just do it”. This post covers my experiment.
Here I am in my new Cotswold work room, wearing the jumper and taking a selfie with Nick in his dungarees (he has now completed one cupboard and has started the second).
Now the sweater is not perfect; nothing I ever make is, ha ha ha! This jumper is not yet washed or blocked; the shoulders are not sewn well, but I managed to work out how to do mattress stitch on the side seams. Hooray. (It is like ladder stitch, done from the right side, ensuring the seam looks nearly invisible). I am pretty happy with it. There is a thread at the back that needs trimming off, and my chunky knitting is not the best in the world, but overall I really like this jumper. I made a few adjustments as I went along.
So the pattern. I couldn’t wait for Karen. So I measured an existing jumper and then I used the gauge to work out how many stitches I would need. I produced a scruffy piece of paper with the numbers on and launched into it. I wasn’t sure about how to shape the armholes or neck (before I knitted the collar), but I winged it. I didn’t stick exactly to my original plan, but I did more or less. I made the back just a little different from the front.
Here is my original pattern, compared to the pattern I actually knitted. I hadn’t thought about the back and front being different, but the back has one less stitch decreased for the armhole and I made it longer by the length of the ribbing (2″).
For the neck line I put 13 stitches on a stitch holder for the front and 15 for the back, having a shoulder width of 13 stitches which worked well. I only knitted two rows for the neck opening, casting off on the third row. You can see how it looks like a big square. I picked up eight stitches along both sides of the neck edges, giving 44 stitches in all. I then knitted these in ribbing. I was keen on a lower neck than Karen has on hers as I don’t like too much height on my roll necks. I was hoping for something more like a 1960s stand away, sort of Nehru height collar. I don’t think high polo/turtle necks suit me. On my original pattern I was thinking just seven rows. But on its own the yarn was too floppy. I carried on knitting until I had 18 rows and tried it on. I found that by turning it inside I had about the look I wanted and considered stitching it down so it was double thickness and fairly firm. But in the end I left it with a turn down to the outside. I think it looks OK, and summery rather than a kind of armless ski-wear look.
I bought small pieces of left over cashmere yarn (a yarn set) in harmonious colours that I love, and I made two balls of wool. One with the darker greys, and a second one with a light grey, a very light grey and a soft, light muted turquoise. Close up the colours are rather lovely and shimmery, although from a distance the jumper just looks grey, with a darker shadow across the bottom. I hadn’t realised that you could mix up three DK yarns to create a thick “super chunky” yarn, but what a great idea for using up similar but slightly different colours.
It’s minimalist, very simple, soft, and I think very wearable. I think the structural look is enhanced by the toning grey yarns. I may have a second go at this once Karen produces her #SloperKAL and pattern. Or maybe, just for fun, I could try to turn this into a knitting in the round experiment.