Beach Sweater

Materials

Yarn: Queensland Collection Rustic Merino Sport in Shamrock,  skeins (equal to yards/ meters,  ounces)

Needles:

US 6 straight

US 6 DPN

US 8 straight

Gauge

Size needles

Stockinette st

36 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches

Abbreviations

TS – K 2nd st, leave on needle, k first st, slip both stitches off needle

SSK – Slip, slip, knit

YO – Yarn over

WS: Wrong side

RS: Right Side

M1 – Make 1

SSP – Slip, slip, purl

Patterns

LC: TS, YO, SSK; repeat from * to end

Back

CO 112 with size 6 needles
Row 1: *K2, p2; repeat from * to end
 
Continue in 2×2 rib as established until rib measures 4\” ending on RS row. Switch to size 8 needles.
 
Row 1 (WS): K4, p to last 4, k4. Place marker in center of row
Row 2: P4, *YO, TS, k2tog; repeat from * to marker, *SSK, TS, YO; repeat from * to last 4, p4
Row 3: K4, p to last 4, k4
 
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until back measures 11” from bottom of rib. End on RS row.
 

Armhole decreases

Rows 1, 3, 5, 7 (WS): K5, p to last 5, k5
Row 2: P3, p2tog, k3, *YO, TS, k2tog; repeat from * to marker, *SSK, TS, YO; repeat from * to last 8, k3, p2tog, p3
Row 4: P3, p2tog, k2, *YO, TS, k2tog; repeat from * to marker, *SSK, TS, YO; repeat from * to last 7, k2, p2tog, p3
Row 6: P3, p2tog, k1, *YO, TS, k2tog; repeat from * to marker, *SSK, TS, YO; repeat from * to last 6, k1, p2tog, p3
Row 8: P3, p2tog, *YO, TS, k2tog; repeat from * to marker, *SSK, TS, YO; repeat from * to last 5, p2tog, p3
 
Repeat rows 1-8 for 6”. (70 stitches remain) End on RS row
 

Back (Left)

Row 1 (WS): K5, p to 10 stitches before marker. Place remaining stitches on stitch holder
Row 2: K2, *SSK, TS, YO; repeat from * to last 7, k2, p2tog, p to end
Rows 3, 5, 7, 9: k5, p to end
Row 4: K2, *SSK, TS, YO; repeat from * to last 6, k1, p2tog, p to end
Row 6: K2, *SSK, TS, YO; repeat from * to last 5, p2tog, p to end
Row 8: K2, *SSK, TS, YO; repeat from * to last 7, k3, p2tog, p to end
 
Repeat rows 2-9 until 19 stitches remain
 
End on WS row
 
BO
 

Back (Right)

(RS) Pick up 25 stitches from the right side of the stitch holder, leaving 20.
Rows 1, 3, 5, 7 (WS): P to last 5, k5
Row 2: P3, p2tog, k2, *YO, TS, K2tog; repeat from * to last 2, k2
Row 4: P3, p2tog, k1, *YO, TS, K2tog; repeat from * to last 2, k2
Row 6: P3, p2tog, *YO, TS, K2tog; repeat from * to last 2, k2
Row 8: P3, p2tog, k3, *YO, TS, K2tog; repeat from * to last 2, k2
 
Repeat rows 1-8 until 19 stitches remain
 
End on WS row
 
BO
 

Front

Repeat Back
 
Stitch front and back together at the BO edges of shoulders
 

Sleeves

CO 40 with size 6 needles
K in 2×2 rib until sleeve measures 1 1/2\”. End on RS row (11 rows). Evenly increase 4 stitches on final row.
 
Switch to size 8 needles. Place marker in center of row.
 
Row 1 (WS): K2, p to last 2, k2
Row 2: P2 (+n), *YO, TS, K2tog; repeat from * to marker, *SSK, TS, YO; repeat from * to last 2, p2 (+n+
 
Repeat rows 1 and 2, increasing 1 stitch on either side every inch until sleeve measures 17.5 inches from bottom of cuff
 
End on WS row
 
Row 1 (RS): P1, TS, p2tog, p12, continue in pattern to last 17, p12, p2tog, TS, p1
Row 2: K1, p2, k13, k to last 16, k13, p2, k1
Row 3: P1, TS, p2tog, p11, continue in pattern to last 17, p11, p2tog, TS, p1
 

Neck

Row 1 (WS): With size 6 DPNs, pick up and knit 20 stitches from back stitch holder, pick up and knit 25, pick up and knit 20 stitches from front stitch holder, pick up and knit 25. Evenly distribute 90 stitches across 4 DPNs
Row 2: *K1, p1; repeat from * to end
 
Repeat row 2 until neck reaches 2\” BO loosely
 
Fold in half, sew end to inside of sweater. Sew tops of sleeves to armholes, then stitch together sleeves and sides of sweater. Weave in tails.
 
 

Asparagus Sweater Dress

I started this dress six years ago with a vague idea of a cable that grew outwards to fill a pleated skirt. The problem is that once I started cabling, the midsection was only slightly wider than my thigh. If I had started over at the time, maybe even stretched myself to do a little math, I would have had a much easier time of it, since this yarn I inherited in a full stash from a family friend when she decided one day she would never knit again, is now discontinued.

Pattern

Materials

Needles – US 6 – 4.0 mm

Yarn –

MC – Cascade Yarns Pima Tencel in 4084, 10 skeins = 890.0 yards (813.8 meters), 17.64 ounces (Discontinued)

CC1 – Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Peapod, 9 skeins = 675.0 yards (617.2 meters), 15.87 ounces

Gauge – 12 stitches and 14 rows = 2 inches in ST

Skirt

CO 442 in MC

Row 1: *P2, K2; rep from * to last 2, P2. Join in round.

Continue in 2×2 rib as established for 1” K in ST st until skirt reaches 12” from bottom of rib.

Rows 1-7: *P1, k16; repeat from * to end

Rows 8-14: *P2, k6, p2, k6, p1; repeat from * to end

Rows 15-18: *P3, k4, p4, k4, p2; repeat from * to end

Row 19: *P2, k2tog, k2, SSK, p2, p2tog, k2, SSK, p1; repeat from * to end

Row 20: *P2, k4, p2, k4, p1; repeat from * to end

Row 21: *P1, k2tog, k3, p2, k3, SSK; repeat from * to end

Row 22: *P1, k2tog, k3, p2, k3, SSK; repeat from * to end

Row 22: *P1, k4, p2, k4; repeat from * to end

Rows 23 and 31: *P1, Sl5 onto CN, H2F, k5, k5 off CN; repeat from * to end

Rows 24-30 and 32-44: *P1, k4, p2, k4; repeat from * to end

Repeat rows 23-44

Colorwork (Optional)

Row 31: *P1, sl5 onto CN, H2F, [k5] in CC1, k5 off CN; repeat from * to end

Rows 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44: *[P1, k4, p2] in CC1, k4; repeat from * to end

Rows 33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43: *P1, [k4 in CC1], p2, k4; repeat from * to end

Row 45: *P1, sl5 onto CN, H2F, k5, [k5 off CN] in CC1; repeat from * to end

Rows 46, 48, 50: *P1, k4, p2, [k4] in CC1; repeat from * to end

Rows 47, 49, 51: *[P1] in CC1, k4, [p2, k4] in CC1; repeat from * to end

Row 52: *P1, sl5 onto CN, H2F, [k5] in CC1, k5 off CN; repeat from * to end

Repeat rows 31-51

Switch to CC1. Continue in wide rib (P1, k4, p2, k4) until dress measures 25” from bottom of hem.

Back

Row 1: P1, k4, p2tog, *k4, p1, k4, p2; repeat from * 11 times, k4, p1, p2tog, k4, p1. Place remaining stitches on stitch holder

Row 2 (WS): K1, p4, k2, continue in established pattern to last 7, k2, p4, k1

Row 3: P1, k4, p2tog, continue in pattern to last 7, p2tog, k4, p1

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until 134 stitches remain. End on WS row.

Back (Right)

Place marker in center of row

Row 1 (RS): P1, k4, p2tog, continue in pattern to marker. Place remaining stitches on stitch holder.

Row 2: (WS): K1, p4, k2, continue in pattern to last 7, k2, p4, k1

Row 3: P1, k4, p2tog, continue in pattern to last 7, p2tog, k4, p1

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until 22 stitches remain. End on WS row.

BO

Back (Left)

Pick up stitches from stitch holder

Row 1 (RS): continue in pattern to last 7, p2tog, k4, p1

Row 2: (WS): K1, p4, k2, continue in pattern to last 7, k2, p4, k1

Row 3: P1, k4, p2tog, continue in pattern to last 7, p2tog, k4, p1

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until 22 stitches remain. End on WS row.

BO

Front

Pick up stitches from stitch holder

Row 1: (RS) make 1 p-wise, k4, p2tog, continue in pattern to last 6, p2tog, k4, make 1 p-wise

Row 2 (WS): K1, p4, k2, continue in established pattern to last 7, k2, p4, k1

Row 3: P1, k4, p2tog, continue in pattern to last 7, p2tog, k4, p1

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until 134 stitches remain. End on WS row

Repeat steps from back right and left. Sew together at the shoulders. Weave in tails

A Tale of Two Sweaters

The week before Thanksgiving 2011, I grabbed the top of my mannequin and molded some cables around it. I pictured myself in a jaw-dropping neon orange sweater saying “this old thing? I made it myself.” Objectively, that isn’t a great reason to do anything. In my case, it set me up for disappointment.  
I was a 15-year-old freshly out of braces trying to be impressive and had never once looked at a sweater pattern, so I made a few strategic errors. First, I didn’t understand the difference between my measurements and a sweater’s finished measurements – hint from the present: a sweater should be bigger than what it covers. Then I made the choice to pair chunky yarn with size 4 needles. Two days before Thanksgiving and 5 skeins in, I was still toting around a tank top on a torso. That year I trudged through the woods of my great aunt’s property in giant hiking boots and another skin-tight bright orange sweater that I bought from The Limited, a failure.
 
The picture of the first and only time I wore this sweater – before the tails had even been woven in, and several months after Thanksgiving – illustrates my problem. With ten years worth of hindsight, the original sweater really isn’t that bad. If you overlook the fact that I paired it with a beige button-down, this walking sauna was a good first effort. This is a sweater – and a teenager – that deserves a do-over. 
 

Twist V-Neck Sweater

 

Materials

Yarn: Berroco Vintage Chunky in Chana Dal, 7 skeins (equal to 952.0 yards/870.5 meters, 24.69 ounces)

Needles: US 8 – 5.0 mm and US 10 – 6.0 mm (circular)

 

Gauge

Size 10 needles

Stockinette st

16 stitches and 20 rows = 4 inches

 

Abbreviations

Kf&b – Knit front and back

Pf&b – Purl front and back

TS – K 2nd st, leave on needle, k first st, slip both stitches off needle.

C: Sl3 onto CN, H2F, k3, k3 off CN

 

PC: Sl3 onto CN, H2F, p3, p3 off CN

WS: Wrong side

RS: Right Side

Patterns

Cable Pattern 1 (in the round)
Rows 1-6: K3, p2, k6, p2, k3
Row 7: K3, p2, C, p2, k3
 
Cable Pattern 2 (straight needles) 
Maintain pattern as established in Cable Pattern 1, alternating C and PC
 

Body

CO 128 with size 8 needles
Row 1: *K1, p1; rep from * to end. Join in round 
 
Continue in established 1×1 rib for 3” 
 
Row 1: *K1, p1, k1, pf&b; repeat from * to end
Row 2: *K1, pf&b, k1, p2; repeat from * to end
 
Switch to size 10 needles
 
Knit in Cable Pattern 1 until sweater measures 12” in length from bottom of rib. Place marker in center of row.
 
Row 1: P1, TS, p2tog, continue in cable pattern until 5 stitches before the marker, p2tog, TS, p1. Place remaining stitches on stitch holder.
 

Raglan Armholes (Back)

Row 1 (WS): K1, p2, k2, knit in Cable Pattern 2 until last 5 stitches, k2, p2, k1
Row 2: P1, TS, P2tog, continue in Cable Pattern 2 until last 5 stitches, p2tog, TS, p1
 
Continue raglan armhole pattern until 56 stitches remain. End on WS row. BO

Raglan Armholes (Front)

Pick up front stitches from stitch holder
 
Row 1 (RS): P1, TS, p2tog, knit Cable Pattern 2 to last 5 stitches, p2tog, TS, p1
Row 2: K1, p2, k2, continue in cable pattern until last 5 stitches, k2, p2, k1
 
Continue raglan armhole pattern until 79 stitches remain. End on WS row.
 
Row 1: P1, TS, p2tog, k29 in cable pattern, p2tog, TS, p1. Place remaining stitches on stitch holder.
Row 2 (WS): K1, p2, k2, k in cable pattern to last 5, k2, p2, k1
Row 3: P1, TS, p2tog, k in cable pattern to last 5, p2tog, TS, p1
 
Repeat rows 2-3 until 17 stitches remain. End on WS row
 
Row 1 (RS): BO to last 4, complete raglan edge.
Row 2: K1, p2, k1
Row 3: P1, TS, p1
 
Continue until raglan edge extension measures 2.5”
 

Front (Left) 

Row 2: (WS) k1, p2, k2, k in cable pattern to last 5, k2, p2, k1
 
Repeat rows 1-2 until 17 stitches remain. End on RS row
 
Row 1: (WS) BO p-wise to last 4, complete raglan edge 
 
Row 2: k1, p2, k1
Row 3: p1, TS, p1
 
Continue until raglan edge extension measures 16”. Place on stitch holder.
 

Sleeves

CO 36 with size 8 needles
Row 1: *K1, p1; repeat from * to end
Row 2: *P1, k1; repeat from * to end
Continue for 3 inches, ending on WS row. Evenly increase 4 stitches on last row. 
 
Switch to size 10 needles
 
(RS) Knit in Cable Pattern 2, increasing 1 stitch on either size every inch until sleeve from bottom of rib measures 18″. End in WS row. 68 stitches remain (no increases on final inch)
 
Row 1: P1, TS, p2tog, continue to last 5, p2tog, TS, p1
Row 2: K1, p2, k2, continue to last 5, k2, p2, k1
 
Repeat until 20 stitches remain, ending on WS row. BO
 
Make another sleeve, moving 8 stitches down in cable pattern. Sew raglan sleeve edges to raglan armholes (continuing past raglan armholes to meet neckline). Then sew extended raglan edge around the neckline. Sew ends of neckline together.

Cabled Hat

Size: Women’s Medium

Materials

Size 10 DPNs
120 yards of your squishiest, chunkiest stash yarn

Gauge

9 stitches and 9 rows = 2 inches
in 1×1 rib

Pattern

KTS: Knit 2nd stitch, leave on needle, knit first stitch, slip both stitches off needle.
PTS: Purl 2nd stitch, leave on needle, purl first stitch, slip both stitches off needle.
C1: Sl2 onto CN, H2F, k2, k2 off CN, k2
C2: K2, sl2 onto CN, H2B, k2, k2 off CN
CO 60
Row 1: *K2, p2; repeat from * to end. Join in round
Row 2: *KTS, PTS; repeat from * to end
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until the brim measures 4″. End on odd row.
Rows 1 and 6: *KTS, p2, k6, p2; repeat from * to end
Rows and 5: *K2, p2, k6, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 3:*KTS, p2, C1, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 7: *K2, p2, C2, p2; repeat from * to end
Repeat rows 1-7 4 times, or until hat measures 8.5″
Row 1: *K2tog, p2, k6, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 2: *K1, p2, k6, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 3: *SSK, p1, C1, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 4: *K1, p1, k6, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 5: *SSK, k6, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 6: *K1, C2, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 7: *SSK, k5, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 8: *K6, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 9: *SSK, k4, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 10: *SSK, k3, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 11: *SSK, k2, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 12: *SSK, k1, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 13: *SSK, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 14: SSK to end
Cut yarn, thread tail through remaining stitches, pull taught.

Braided Cable Scarf

Materials

Yarn – Berroco Vintage Chunky Yarn in Tang, 4 skeins

Needles – size 10 straight

 

Gauge

8 stitches and 11 rows = 2” in Stockinette stitch

 

Abbreviations

CO – cast on

sl – slip

CN – cable needle

H2B – hold to back

 

H2F – hold to front

BO – Bind off

 

Patterns

C1: Sl4 onto CN, H2F, k4, k4 off CN, k4

C2: K4, sl4 onto CN, H2B, k4, k4 off CN

 

CO 34

Rows 1-7: Knit

Rows 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24: K4, P12, K2, P12, K4

Rows 9, 11, 15, 17, 21, and 23: Knit

Row 13: K4, C1, k2, C1, k4

 

 

Row 19: K4, C2, k2, C2, k4

 

Repeat rows 13-24 until scarf measures 60\” (or desired length)

Rows 1-7: Knit

BO

Fringe

Cut 48 9\” pieces of yarn. Take 2 strands and thread all 4 ends through the needle. Pierce the bottom edge of the scarf from back to front and pull yarn partially through, forming a loop. Pull ends through the loop and pull together. Repeat across the bottom and top ends of the scarf 12 times each. 

Double V Ribbed Tank

Materials
 
Yarn – Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in Charcoal, 3 skeins (576.0 yards (526.7 meters), 5.29 ounces)
Needles: Size 5 straight
 
Gauge – 13 stitches and 18 rows = 2 inches
in ST
 
Size: Women’s Small

Back

CO 110
 
Row 1: (RS) *P2, k2; continue from * to end, p2
 
Continue in 2×2 rib as established until tank measures 11” ending in WS row. Place marker in the middle of the row – between stitch 55 and 56
 
LC1: P2tog, sl2 onto CN, H2F, p1, k2 off CN
RC1: sl1 onto CN, H2B, k2, p1 off CN, p2tog, k1
 
Row 1: (RS) LC1, p1, *k2, p2; rep from * 10 times (7 sts remain in front of marker), p1, RC1. Place stitches on left of marker on stitch holder.
 

Back Right

Row 2: P1, k2, p2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 10 times, p2, k1, p2, k2
 

Row 3: LC1, *k2, p2; rep from * 10 times, k2, RC1

Row 4: P1, k2, p4, *k2, p2; rep from * 10 times, p2, k2
Row 5: LC1, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 9 times, p2, k1, RC1
Row 6: P1, k2, p3, *k2, p2; rep from * 9 times, k2, p3, k2
Row 7: LC1, *p2, k2; rep from * 9 times, p2, RC1
Row 8: P1, *k2, p2; rep from * to last 2, k2
Row 9: LC1, p1, *k2, p2; rep from * 8 times, k2, p1, RC1
Row 10: P1, k2, p2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 8 times, p2, k1, p2, k2
Row 11: LC1, *k2, p2; rep from * 8 times, k2, RC1
Row 12: P1, k2, p4, *k2, p2; rep from * 8 times, p2, k2
Row 13: LC1, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 7 times, p2, k2, RC1
Row 14: P1, k2, p3, *k2, p2; rep from * 8 times, p1, k2
Row 15: LC1, *p2, k2; rep from * 7 times, p2, RC1
Row 16: P1, *k2, p2; rep from * 9 times, k2
Row 17: LC1, p1, *k2, p2; rep from * 6 times, k2, p1, RC1
Row 18: P1, k2, p2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 6 times, p2, k1, p2, k2
Row 19: LC1, *k2, p2; rep from * 6 times, k2, RC1
Row 20: P1, k2, p4, *k2, p2; rep from * 6 times, p2, k2
Row 21: LC1, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 5 times, p2, k1, RC1
Row 22: P1, k2, p3, *k2, p2; rep from * 6 times, p1, k2
Row 23: LC1, *p2, k2; rep from * 5 times, p2, RC1
Row 24: P1, *k2, p2; rep from * 7 times, k2
Row 25: LC1, p1, *k2, p2; rep from * 4 times, k2, p1, RC1
Row 26: P1, k2, p2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 4 times, p2, k1, p2, k2
Row 27: LC1, *k2, p2; rep from * 4 times, k2, RC1
Row 28: P1, k2, p4, *k2, p2; rep from * 5 times, p2, k2
Row 29: LC1, k1, *p2, k2, rep from * 3 times, p2, k1, RC1
Row 30: P1, k2, p3, *k2, p2; rep from * 4 times, p1, k2
Row 31: LC1, *p2, k2; rep from * 3 times, p2, RC1
Row 32: P1, *k2, p2; rep from * 5 times, k2
Row 33: *P2, k2; rep from * 5 times, p2, k1
 
Repeat rows 32 and 33 for 2.5″ inches (or until tank top reaches 18″) ending in WS row. BO.
 

Back Left

Pick up 55 stitches from stitch holder
 
RC2: K1, p2tog, sl2 onto CN, H2F, p1, k2 off CN
LC2: Sl1 onto CN, H2B, k2, p1 off CN, p2tog
 
Row 1: (RS) RC2, p1, *k2, p2; rep from * 10 times, k2, p1, LC2
Row 2: K2, p2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 10 times, p2, k1, p2, k2, p1
Row 3: RC2, *k2, p2; rep from * 10 times, k2, LC2
Row 4: K2, p4, *k2, p2; rep from * 10 times, p2, k2, p1
Row 5: RC2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 9 times, p2, k1, LC2
Row 6: K2, p3, *k2, p2; rep from * 10 times, p1, k2, p1
Row 7: RC2, *p2, k2; rep from * 9 times, p2, LC2
Row 8: *K2, p2; rep from * 11 times, k2, p1
Row 9: RC2, p1, *k2, p2; rep from * 8 times, k2, p1, LC2
Row 10: K2, p2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 8 times, p2, k1, p2, k2, p1
Row 11: RC2, *k2, p2; rep from * 8 times, k2, LC2
Row 12: K2, p4, *k2, p2; rep from * 8 times, p2, k2, p1
Row 13: RC2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 7 times, p2, k1, LC2
Row 14: K2, p3, *k2, p2; rep from * 8 times, p1, k2, p1
Row 15: RC2, *p2, k2; rep from * 7 times, p2, LC2
Row 16: *K2, P2; rep from * 9 times, k2, p1
Row 17: RC2, p1, *k2, p2; rep from * 6 times, k2, p1, LC2
Row 18: K2, p2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 6 times, p2, k1, p2, k2, p1
Row 19: RC2, *k2, p2; rep from * 6 times, k2, LC2
Row 20: K2, p4, *k2, p2; rep from * 6 times, p2, k2, p1
Row 21: RC2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 5 times, p2, k1, LC2
Row 22: K2, p3, *k2, p2; rep from * 6 times, p1, k2, p1
Row 23: RC2, *p2, k2; rep from * 5 times, p2, LC2
Row 24: *K2, p2; rep from * 7 times, k2, p1
Row 25: RC2, p1, *k2, p2; rep from * 4 times, k2, p1, LC2
Row 26: K2, p2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 4 times, p2, k1, p2, k2, p1
Row 27: RC2, *k2, p2; rep from * 4 times, k2, LC2
Row 28: K2, p4, *k2, p2; rep from * 4 times, p2, k2, p1
Row 29: RC2, k1, *p2, k2; rep from * 3 times, p2, k1, LC2
Row 30: K2, p3, *k2, p2; rep from * 4 times, p1, k2, p1
Row 31: RC2, *p2, k2; rep from * 3 times, p2, LC2
Row 32: *K2, p2; rep from * 5 times, k2, p1
Row 33: K1, *p2, k2; rep from * 5 times, p2
 
Repeat rows 32 and 33 for 2.5″ inches (or until tank top reaches 18″) ending in WS row. BO.

Front

Repeat pattern for back, back left, and back right. Stitch together at the sides and top. Weave in tails.

Tank Top to Sweater

I’ve had a longer relationship with this fair-isle tank top than I have with any man I’ve dated. It’s been with me for three moves and five Christmases, always at the bottom of my knitting basket. It’s pretty obviously unwearable – the neckline is unfinished, the bottom rolls up, and it’s for that very specific weather pattern that leaves your midsection cold but your arms too hot. But the yarn is soft to the touch and I still like the color combination in the fair isle pattern. I even found part of the pattern mapped out in an old Excel sheet. So I picked it up over this past Christmas to see what I could do with it now.
 
The biggest problem is I only had a partial skein left of each color with no labels or tags, and again the yarn came from an inherited stash. I ran out of the first skein halfway through knitting the second sleeve. Hubris led to 4″ purple cuffs, and then I didn’t have any more purple to continue the fair-isle pattern. Easy come, easy go. I googled “shiny purple worsted weight yarn” – a descriptor that made me doubt the whole project – and came up with Shine Worsted Yarn. 14 business days later when the yarn wasn’t a match, I changed the sleeve pattern two more times from elbow to shoulder and ended up with just enough yarn to stitch all the ends together. I think it was a great example of how math could help me if I would just sit down for ten minutes and measure things instead of just knitting through each scenario.
 

The Pattern

Size: Women’s XS   Materials Yarn – I still don’t know because the yarn I ordered wasn’t quite right, but the closest I got was Shine Worsted in Serrano, Sweet Potato, and Serenade. The skeins were smaller than what I originally used, but I estimate three (375 yards) of each should do the job.    MC: Orange CC1: Red CC2: Purple   Needles – Size 7 DPNs and Size 9 Circular   Gauge 10 sts and 14 rows/2″ with size 7 needles in ST st   

Pattern 1:

Pattern 2:

CO 165 in MC Row 1: (RS) *K2, P1; repeat from * to end. Join in the round   Continue in 2×1 rib as established until the base of the sweater measures 2″. Begin pattern 1, doubling for front and back and decreasing/shaping as indicated in the pattern. 83 st pattern for the front, 82 for the back. BO  

Sleeves

CO 42 with size 7 needles and CC2 Row 1: (RS) *K2, P1; rep from * to end Row 2: *P2, K1; rep from * to end     Repeat rows 1 and 2 until rib measures 4″. End on WS row   Knit in pattern 2, increasing and decreasing as indicated with the colorwork. BO  

Neckline

Row 1: (WS) With size 7 needles, pick up and knit 90 sts in CC1. Distribute across 4 DPNs.   Knit in 1×1 rib for 3″. BO   Fold in half, sew BO edge to the inside of the sweater. Sew sleeves to armholes, then stitch sleeves together. Weave in tails. 

Simple Stash Beanie

Size: Women’s Medium

Materials

Size 10 DPNs
90 yards of your squishiest, chunkiest stash yarn (my favorite is on the right, Loops & Threads Cozy Wool in Harvest)

Gauge

9 stitches and 9 rows = 2 inches
in 1×1 rib

Pattern

CO 60
Row 1: (RS) K in 1×1 rib, join in the round
Continue in 1×1 rib until hat measures 7″
Row 1: *SSK, K9 in rib; repeat from * to end

Rows 2-3: *K1, K9 in 1×1 rib; repeat from * to end

Row 4: *SSK, K8 in rib; repeat from *

Row 5: *K1, K8 in rib; repeat from *

Row 6: *SSK, K7 in rib; repeat from *

Row 7: *K1, K7 in rib; repeat from *

Row 8: *SSK, K6 in rib; repeat from *

Row 9: *K1, K6 in rib; repeat from *

Row 10: *SSK, K5 in rib; repeat from *

Row 11: *K1, K5 in rib; repeat from *

Row 12: *SSK, K4 in rib; repeat from *

Row 13: *K1, K4 in rib; repeat from *

Row 14: *SSK, K3 in rib; repeat from *

Row 15: *K1, K3 in rib; repeat from *

Row 16: *SSK, K2 in rib; repeat from *

Row 17: *K1, K2 in rib; repeat from *

Row 18: *SSK, K1 in rib; repeat from *

Rows 19 and 20: *SSK; repeat from *

Cut yarn, thread tail through last 3 st, pull taught.

Big Sweater Smaller Sweater

There’s a picture of my dad that used to sit on my mom’s bedside table – in the nebulous lore that is my dad’s past, I would place it somewhere around the time he took a break from college and lived in Colorado, getting by teaching other sometime-college-students to ski. In this picture, he’s leaning forward into the camera lens with a grin that tells you how perfectly aware he is of the power of his fluffy mane of 80’s hair, and he’s wearing the platonic ideal of the perfect fisherman’s sweater.

There are two points here –  first, this is a man with standards, and second, I have wanted to knit this exacting man a perfect fisherman’s sweater for the past 15 years.

About 20 years ago, I had a babysitter who could knit. If my memory is at all reliable, she was a woman of no discernible age or facial features that would sit on our sofa while we watched Pixar movies on VHS and crank out stockinette stitch color-blocked scarves like it was nothing. Fast forward a handful of years – I’m now 9 and my 12-year-old sister is doing the babysitting, but a flip had switched in my brain and suddenly nothing would do but turning skeins of yarn into scarves, sweaters, and cross-eyed stuffed animals.

My first actual memory of this need is of my mother parking her silver Honda Odyssey in the gravel parking lot of a knitting supply store, and her subsequent breakdown. No one wanted to teach a 9-year-old how to knit. More people than you could possibly imagine all knit in my hometown had already told her no, and no was not a word she usually took at face value. She’d had the power of the internet at least since my older sister was born and had been wielding that power to homeschool us, manifesting books and curriculum and science classes out of a science teacher’s garage since I had been alive, and she didn’t accept that no one wanted to teach her child how to knit. And why not? I wasn’t loud, I was rarely sticky, and both those things were lies because I was 9 and always and impossibly coated in Elmer’s Glue.

But she didn’t leave, and because my mother is a force akin to the moving tide – initially unassuming, but never stopping- I was allowed to take a seat at a folding table in the back next to the microwave they used to heat up pound cake, and I was home.

It was a partial takeover. In a brilliant ploy my mother pulled off with the help of her Psychology degree, she convinced me my sister was dying to learn how to knit but was just too embarrassed to ask her younger sister to teach her anything. And if I could teach her the basics to see if she liked it, that would be great. And then Mom had somewhere she could drop the both of us while she ran errands and got her hair cut. From there, it snowballed. We started to bring our friends. We participated in an event to knit the largest sock, helped grandmothers with dropped stitches, and started a regrettable knitting club at our church.

But I was not ready for the fisherman’s sweater. For one thing, my dislike of being told what to do extends to knitting patterns. By 10, I hadn’t met a pattern I didn’t wrongly believe I could improve.

Initially and transparently, I took a pattern and made it worse. A cute, semi-realistic stuffed animal, became just the front of a blue bunny that I felted to give it a little width and stop halfway through. A hat with a folded brim, became a shorter hat, with no folded brim, and so on. I didn’t want to knit a gauge swatch, I wanted to dive into a project while the project still sounded fun. I wanted to knit right to left and then left to right so I would never have to purl. I didn’t stop that practice, reversing a line of a pattern in my head and marching back and forth across each row, until I realized the vs of each row were tilting in different directions, like writing with your left or right hand.

At this point knitting lessons had mostly become sitting in the yarn store surrounded by color-coordinated knitting supplies, eating cake, and knitting whatever I felt like. Honestly, I can’t recommend it highly enough no matter how old you are. If I could figure out how to quit my job and live in the backroom of a craft store, I would do it.

But I’m older now. A full-time job – several through the years – has softened my edges just enough, and Covid-19 has taken away the commute, gym, and social life that stopped me from taking on big projects, and I’m finally ready to sit down and make something with structure. I found a lovely vintage pattern off Etsy and buckled down.

It was fairly painless. There’s a lot of wisdom to be found in a knitting pattern. Start with the back to get your mistakes out of the way in an area that draws the least attention, there are more interesting ways to rib than 1×1, etc. The end result feels like I’m giving the gift of my own hair. Which has been thinning during the pandemic, so I’d love to take it back. Watching strand after strand tangle into my stitches made me consider a knitting hairnet to go along with the face masks I’ve taken to wearing to protect my lungs from the fibers floating through the air when I roll a fresh skein.

I cut no corners, even blocking the finished product after washing it gently with cashmere soap like a duckling in a Dawn commercial. But this half-a-blue-stuffed-dog energy has to go somewhere. I was good and followed a pattern to the letter, so my reward once my dad’s sweater was safely tucked under the Christmas tree was allowing myself to use the leftover yarn (6 skeins because I woefully over-ordered) to throw out the pattern and make whatever I felt like. I took what I liked – the smart construction of the raglan sleeves and the folded over neckline – and gave it what I felt it was missing. Namely, a crop top vibe. The pattern is below.

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