A simple sweater

Suzie Blackman
Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Simple, grey, top-down sweater

Sometimes (in fact most of the time) simple is best. I finished this simple sweater in January and it quickly became a wardrobe staple for the chilly season.

This was knitted using Barbara G Walker’s Classic Raglan Pullover recipe from Knitting from the Top. I’m very bad/lazy at following step-by-step instructions, so I find Walker’s informal guidelines suit me well; so well that I managed to follow them from memory without the book. I also share Walker’s preference for working garments in one piece to take the guess work out of getting sleeve and body length right.

The yarn is bargain-priced Merino Cashmere DK from Kingcraig eBay shop, held double.

Of course, the secret of sophisticated design is the illusion of simplicity, rather than a the avoidance of complexity, and this sweater is no exception. I made a number of adjustments for a better fit: Reduced increases from every other row to every third row beyond shoulder point; added short-row shaping at the bust; worked short rows on the collar to reduce height at the front (correcting an earlier error). The collar is worked as a single strand at tight gauge, folded, and cast-off catching the inside join (turned hem), as is commonly seen on commercial chunky sweaters. I worked two three-stitch cables between the increase points as a design detail, which are continued down the sides, turning the garment construction into a design detail.

In the past I have chosen garment patterns because they looked fun and interesting to knit, but turned out to be impractical unflattering or badly-fitted. The hand-knitted garments that have remained in my wardrobe are simple and versatile (with some exceptions), and look more like the clothes I buy. This has been a difficult lesson to learn!

The author

Suzie Blackman

The dyer, designer, photographer, creative technologist and maker-of-things behind It's a Stitch Up. She lives in East London in a home filled with colour, fluff and house plants.

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