Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cranberry & Cream Striped Raglan

The yarn I used for this sweater, Nature Spun by Brown Sheep, has been in my stash for several years now.  And by "several" years I mean that I bought it to make a different sweater that I started knitting during a weekend of house-sitting the winter after I graduated college . . . in 2003.  I guess it just needed to be aged, like any good wine or cheese.

The first incarnation of the sweater was also striped, but, like the first incarnation of most of the sweaters I make for myself it did not survive.  The yarn was packed up and stored for several years, traveled to the island where it sat for several more years, and nearly became a different sweater, until I finally came up with an idea a couple of years ago. 

I knew I wanted a fitted, striped sweater with a side-split collar, and I knew that I wanted to make a top-down (or bottom-up) raglan.  This style would require the least amount of finishing and seaming, which I abhor.  So I drew something up.

What I wanted:

A little close-up of the collar idea:

And some instructions for the ribbed-shaping along the sides under the arms:

Then I sought out a pattern (but made up a few things along the way).

I didn't actually have a published pattern in mind, nor did I find one that resulted in this specific sweater, but thanks to The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns I was able to make something happen with several of the designs. 

The great thing about this book, as well as several others in the same series is that the designs are customizable.  Based on your size, the yarn gauge, and the details you choose to incorporate, you can make a sweater that is unique to you. 

Many of the designs in the book are pieced sweaters, meaning that the front, back, and sleeves are knit separately, then the sweater is assembled by sewing it all together.  Have I mentioned I'm not a fan of knitting this type of sweater?  It took me several years to finish a cardigan I knit a while ago because it was created in pieces. . . and it's still not finished because I have yet to figured out what I want for closures (it had a zipper, but that quickly came out). 

This sweater I managed to knit as almost one piece.  The body was knit in the round up to the armpits, and two sleeves were knit in the round from the cuffs up to the armpits.  Then the body and arms were placed on one needle together and I continued knitting up to the collar, which was added by knitting back and forth.  The only sewing I needed to do was on the short seams under the arms.  Minimal sewing!  Success!

A little finagling of the pattern along the way, as well as some consulting of various sources, and this resulted:
split collar
ribbing down the side
Pretty close to the drawing, I think (luckily it wasn't too hot in the shade):
yay for a finished sweater!
This is one of the few sweaters I've knit for myself that I really, really love because it actually came out like I envisioned it.  It's fitted, but has some room; the sleeves are longish - which I wanted(though could have been a little more fitted around the biceps); the collar is the right height on my neck and not too tight.  The only thing I think I wish I'd done is to add thumb holes.  All of the best long-sleeve tops have thumb holes.  I'm excited for the weather to cool down for various reasons, but mostly so I can start wearing this on a regular basis.

Somewhere along the way I ended up getting a bunch more of the yarn for another idea I had, so now I have enough to make at least a whole other sweater.  Luckily at the time I was able to find both of the colors, but by now, neither of them are listed on the Brown Sheep Nature Spun web page.  We'll see what comes of the rest of that stash.

Now I just need to finish the tank I've been working on all summer. . . perfect timing, what with fall just around the corner.


  1. gorgeous! it is so rare that things turn out just how you pictured it in your head, nice job!

  2. GREAT job--and inspiring to me as I have never finished a sweater for myself! The yarn either turn into something else (tea cozies, socks, hats) or it 'ages' in a tote...I'm sitting on some pretty rare vintage yarns...

  3. So pretty! You're an inspiration Meg!

  4. Thanks so much! I am super psyched it came out this well, and I can't wait to wear it when it's not 80* out!