The “Sloper” turtle neck, sleeveless jumper knitalong

I recently posted my knitting plans, and I have made good progress.

I said I would make

  • a petrol blue Heavenly sweater
  • a dark green cashmere sweater
  • a brown and green Holsten (just started, but it’s brown and mauve now)
    Holsten By Ankestrick in brown and mauve
    Holsten by Ankestrick
  • finish the Fara Raglan colourwork (which is somewhat beyond my ability and I may not finish)

(For the record, on the sewing front, I have cut out the red coat and done the pockets, but it’s at Rainshore and I am not going for a fortnight due to spending time with my Mum).

But while I had started to move on to the sewing, feeling I had more or less finished my knitting projects, a new knitting project has forced itself on me.

I follow a nice blog called Fringe Association. As I have been learning to knit it has been a great help. And last week Karen introduced the Sloper jumper she had designed. She named the jersey Sloper (or bodice block for us Brits) as it is very simple and basic, and can be altered to fit. She is going to release the pattern on 1 May and provide some information on how to change the elements of the design. This is what she calls a mini-knitalong. I like the basic pattern and wear this style, although I might prefer a longer, slimmer look. Maybe with 1×1 ribbing, and possibly with the back a little bit longer than the front.

I shared my plan with Esme. She says that it is too chunky and warm to be sleeveless. However you could wear it over a thin dress on a summer evening, or  with jeans in spring or autumn, because your arms don’t feel the cold much. Also I imagined a short sleeve could be added. Or the big turtle neck could be omitted. Anyway I buy into the sloper idea.
Karen Templer Fringe Association Sloper design

The biggest revelation for me however was what this is knit from. Karen is using three strands of DK wool to create a really chunky look. I never thought of that! Combining thinner yarns to make a thicker one. This had never occurred to me, so I was very excited to try it.

Karen provided the following information

The gauge for the pattern is 2.5 sts and 3.75 rows per inch (aka 10 sts and 15 rows over 4″). You can use any yarn and needle combo that will give you that gauge, measured after blocking..The sample size is 38″.

I hastily knitted up a swatch on the biggest needles I had (7mm) but the square was too small.


I thought I might just knit the pattern for the 38″ bust with the smaller needles and it might come out closer to 34″ bust which would be better for me. But then I realised creating a swatch to the actual measurement might be a good thing to learn. And also to learn the basics of writing and adapting a knitting pattern. I can’t tell you how excited I am.

I have lots of odd DK yarns that would combine nicely for this project. The thickness of the yarn and the needles makes it very quick indeed. I think it would be a nice project for a beginner, and if I crack it I may make one for Esme too. The colours I have are very intriguing, allowing me to create a tweedy look, or maybe stripes.

DK yarns in blues, greys, browns
Mixed bag of DK yarns

Anyone else feel like having a go at this one?

Finally I wanted to just mention that Brenda, my internet friend, is having her surgery today at 1.30pm. Please send some happy, positive thoughts in her direction. Also her hair is growing back. That painted silk dress gets one step closer!

25 Responses

  1. Annieloveslinen

    Thanks for the link to Fringe Asociation I’ve been looking for info on faux seaming in the round to add structure and she has a great technique for that. The sleeveless sweater will be a quick knit after what you’ve been doing although I’m on the fence about the chunky yarn as it looks like it may go baggy when worn.You have some lush yarn colours, they look finer weight in the pic than Dk.

    On another note, I bought a swift and ball winder and wound my skeins into cakes, that was weeks ago and I’m still knitting my swatch. No change there then.

  2. Chris

    Hi Kate, I love seeing your progress with knitting. I have a new jumper made and will add to the blog today.
    A while back, I made a chunky jumper that has short sleeves – and just yesterday my friend asked me if i wear it much. I’ve worn it less than I expected and can echo Esme’s thoughts…when I’m cold, my arms need coverage too.
    Although if your jumper is not too chunky it could look really nice over a shirt. This link shows the jumper I’m talking about-

    I followed fringe association for a couple of years , now I only check in once in a while – there were just too many things I wanted to make! Karen did also publish a series on making a top down raglan using your own measurements and a swatch of knitting – it was eye opening for me, because it means I can pick up any yarn (or combination of yarns ) knit a swatch and then make my own decisions on fit and style.
    I have combined thin sock yarns before to make a lovely marled hat in two tones of grey.

    • fabrickated

      Yes Chris! I remember that post. That short sleeved chunky top was what inspired me to have a go with knitting. Lovely work. I am sorry you don’t wear it much. I have a similar weight short sleeved jumper that I wear a lot. It is plain, dark brown.

      • Chris

        It’s my go to jumper when the heating has stopped during the winter ! But it has probably only been worn three times outside of home. It was a learning experience – the combination of colourwork and chunky yarn gave it a double thickness. I think if you have a similar weight jumper already then you know that you’ll find it useful – I’ve gotten better at knitting things closer to what I would normally buy and wear !

        • fabrickated

          Yes as I have lots of colours I was thinking of colour work. But my experiments so far have been a bit rubbish, and also this top is thick enough without the double yarn effect. And my RTW choices are rather plainer and simpler than what I like to make too!

  3. fabrickated

    Sweet Annie. You really make me laugh. I have been winding my yarns in a labour intensive and knotty way. I am worried about baggy now! Oh well it’s all learning.

  4. ceci

    A knitted sloper sounds like a good thing to have! There are so many variables with knitting; one of the things I have learned about combining yarns to create a chunky yarn and then using smaller needles to make a cowl is that what I would call “drape” in fabric can be so diminished that the cowl becomes more of a stiff pipe around the neck, not a looked-for outcome. So perhaps larger needles for a reason….. I do love a tweedy looking color effect, and finally managed a lovely cowl out of a bunch of small left over balls of various lush fibers. Unfortunately I am just now finishing it up as our days get in to the upper ’70s, but it will be something to look forward to wearing in the fall!

    I wonder what this sloper would be like in a silk fiber? or silk/bamboo? Or cotton/linen? More consistent with the sleeveless design, perhaps? You then have to go yarn shopping, of course!

    I was looking at some classes offered by our local recreation association and wondered what you all decided on…..


    • fabrickated

      Oh yes! I did try to make a cowl for my mother (who not only feels the cold but also likes cowls especially) using circular needles and some DK wool. But it came out like a tube – not very user friendly, but she was very polite about it. I think drape maybe created by using lighter weight yarns with bigger needles. I think this sloper might be nice in silk or cottony yarns, possibly using two rather than three strands of double knit. Thank you for encouraging me to go shopping, but luckily a friend has offered me her Rowan cotton glace yarn supply so I might try that. And as for the evening classes we have reached our decision (and it is somewhat surprising!) I will write it up shortly, alongside a report on the final jewellery class of the year.

  5. Jennifer Miller

    Oh those yarns! As a non-knitter (or perhaps knitter-to-be?) for some reason I just love to squish the skeins. My mom has not got back into her knitting, although she still talks about doing so.

    And I’m sending good thoughts to your friend Brenda, hoping all goes well and wishing a speedy recovery.

    • fabrickated

      Thank you Jen – I am sure Brenda will be glad when the surgery is over. I think this project may be very nice for a beginner. I am finding it very exciting. The yarns are seductive and talk to me just as fabric always does. And the feel of cloth and yarn is very important to me, in addition to the colour.

  6. Makeitanywear

    One of my most favorite sweaters was a chunky sleeveless turtleneck made of a cotton/wool blend yarn. I have been intending to recreate it.
    It is interesting that you didn’t think to mix yarns as you’ve been buying from Colourmart and they do that all the time. There have also been stores (i think there’s still one in San Francisco) where they make your yarn mixing lots of thin yarns together.
    Thought for mixing all those lovely colors. Start with 3 yarns of the same color knit for a bit and switch one of the 3 yarns for the next bit, then swap out one more of the original color and knit for a bit more, then swap out the 3rd. You’ll have a lovely marled ombre. You can do small stripes or divide the whole piece in 3rds.

    • fabrickated

      Yes of course Colourmart do make yarn by spinning up thinner ones, but I thought it had to be done professionally to avoid bias-pull or something. I didn’t realise you could just take three yarns and put them together. I absolutely love your suggestion on blending the colour and I am going to give it a go. Thank you and I hope you do recreate your top.

  7. Sue

    I’m definitely going to give this a go as it is such a great way to use up lots of yarns that wouldn’t otherwise go together. I would prefer that it wasn’t chunky, but I think once I’ve done one I could do a finer one. Thank you for publishing such a nice initiative. I look forward to seeing yours, and I thought I might learn continental knitting as I complete mine – anything to recover from this dratted tendonitis.

    • fabrickated

      Yes! It would be a good way to use up small amounts of yarn. My greys (above) are all a little different from each other, but will probably blend together really nicely. I wish I had some pinks and reds as well, but of course I bought the blues and greys and browns as I actually love wearing these colours. It is a good idea to use this as a continental knitting experience, although it uses fat needles which may not work as well. I am fairly comfortable with the continental style, but mainly with 4mm or thereabouts as you can kind of hook the yarn, but it might just need some practice.

  8. Michelle

    That looks like an interesting knitting project, and if I hadn’t promised myself that I would complete some of my many half-finished items before beginning any more I might be tempted to have a go. Having said that, although I’ve been knitting for a while, I’ve never tried the continental style of knitting so I may have to give that a go.
    You have a lovely colour selection of wools to work with, I’m looking forward to seeing your choice.

  9. Stephanie

    You know, my instinct on this one is that you probably already know everything she is going to teach you from the jumpers you have already knitted. It will be interesting to hear what you have to say afterwards.

    I do like the effect of yarns knitted together. Often the technique is most effective, in my view, when two yarns of different textures or halo are knitted together (e.g., one yarn without halo and one with mohair in it, to give a bit of fuzziness while retaining the structure of the first yarn, or at the limit two different colours. I saw this sweater recently and liked the way the girl had combined the red and white yarns: It seems that you have accumulated a huge stash of yarn despite only having started knitting a number of months ago, so you have lots of choice! I usually use the two yarns together technique when I don’t have enough of a thicker yarn and have lots of four ply. For example, the white part in my maple leaf sweater was knitted with two strands held together for that reason, while the body was knitted with a single strand of a thicker yarn.

    In terms of a chunky sleeveless top, I think it’s nice, although my taste turns towards traditional knits (or “old-fashioned,” as you referred to those of us who like seaming, a few weeks ago :)), so it’s not for me. I have to say though that that top looks to be seamed or at least faux-seamed! (Karen’s site is the first one on which I saw people knitting in the round and then sewing in faux seams afterward. Annie mentions that above.) Your taste seems to run more to modern minimalist in knitting than mine does so I can see the appeal. Karen always uses very nice yarns and the photography is nice and so everything has a clean, modern vibe. I have to admit that I followed her blog for a little while but stopped, largely as I suppose having knitted a lot her site was a bit for me like some seamstresses find the indie pattern sites to be. It’s all stuff that we’ve seen before, but packaged to seem new (with excellent photography and organic wooden knitting needles, etc.). Nothing wrong with that at all, but maybe not up my alley.

    • Stephanie

      Christine makes very good points below. I use wool almost exclusively for knitting and wool has better recovery than many fibres. It’s good to keep that in mind when combining yarns.

    • fabrickated

      Thanks for your feedback Stephanie. I may go ahead without her! And great advice on how to combine yarns. I somehow thought that was asking for trouble – now I see that it is legitimate it gives me a whole new approach to getting the colours, patterns and textures that I strive for. I am not keen on wool for knitting unfortunately as I dislike the feel of it close to the skin. I wish I could wear it as there is so much choice and I feel it is the ideal fibre for knitting. I love tailoring with wool, but wearing a wooly jacket or coat is a different experience to wearing it close up. A most illuminating and exciting comment.

  10. Jay

    Thanks for the Fringe Assoc. information! My limited experience of knitting with more than one yarn as if it were one is of constant mistakes, picking up one of the threads instead of the two or three, but better knitters will undoubtedly nail it. If you follow the block jumper, and you find you need sleeves, it should be possible to put some in later – perhaps have some spare yarn tucked away for this?

  11. Christine

    I have to admit that for me a sleeveless woolen sweater is the most impractical thing ever. Too cold in winter, too warm in summer. I find that it is my arms get cold and need covered.
    One thought in mixing yarns is to remember that, like fabric, they all have different stretch and recovery. I made a linen jumper last year with zero stretch. Then cotton and bamboo with a lot of drape and some stretch. But the idea of a knit sloper sounds good. My experience is that understanding gauge is the most vital thing and then knit to your measurements. Knitting is much more forgiving than fabric when it comes to fit.

    • fabrickated

      Excellent advice Christine. I once knitted with cotton and it was just leaden! I guess it depends on the gauge. I am going to have to experiment, but I thought I would use cashmere for this project.

  12. Brenda

    I’m very excited for you! This sloper idea seems pretty easy and like a good place to build confidence. Soon you’ll be writing your own patterns! I’ve often thought that I could take a well-fitted knit sewing pattern and translate it to a knitting pattern, but then I just buy more fabric – lol.

    Thank you for your positive thoughts! I’m feeling well on the mend though the whole process will likely take weeks,

  13. Alli

    I’m always impressed at your knitting progress — I would never be able to finish as quickly as you! And I really like the colors you have set out for your combined chunky yarn. 🙂

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