Pattern (and yarn!) Release: Foyle’s Sweaters

So if you head on over to Clara Yarn today, you’ll notice a breathtaking new offering:

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This is Shetland 1.0, a naturally-colored Shetland woolen-spun yarn. DK weight, blooms like nobody’s business, a sweater yarn to end all sweater yarns. As Clara herself said:

“Don a sweater out of this yarn and you’ll be driving a World War II ambulance in no time.”

To say that I was excited about working with this yarn is something of an understatement. I was lucky enough to have time to luxuriate in my swatches, and let me tell you – EVERYTHING looked great. Cables? Stunning. Texture? Perfect. Small-scale lace?

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There we had my winner. The crazy bloom of this yarn made the lace look almost like a texture. I was instantly in love. I came up with the notion of offering two variations on the same sweater pattern – something for pullover people, something for cardigan people. I wanted allover texture on the front, but plain sleeves and back to facilitate shaping. Keeping the front straight meant that the sweater could have an old-school, comfortable, slightly-slouchy feel while not being super boxy.


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Foyle’s Cardigan and Pullover will take you to the grocery store, on a hike, to work, to the library, all while making you feel as though you’re surrounded by the heather of a Scottish moor. Knit up in Shetland 1.0, they’re the kind of sweaters that turn people into sweater people. They wrap you up in woolly comfort, and remind you of what clothes can do for us when they’re made from thoughtful materials and created with care and pride.

Both designs feature an allover-patterned front and Stockinette back and sleeves. The pullover sports a wide, slightly-deep crew neck; the cardigan, a comfy deep V. Waist shaping is located on the back only for the ultimate in casual comfort. Want some more pics? Of course you do!


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You can get the yarn here, at least till it’s gone – and I urge you to do so. It’s like the culmination of all of my yarny dreams, in 3 great colors.

(I may have tripped and fallen on a sweaters’ worth in each of the other colors, too.)

Once you’ve gotten your yarn, head here to create your own Foyle’s sweater:

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Click for the cardigan!

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Click for the pullover!

And tell us about your sweater nirvana. Are you a cardigan or a pullover person? Average fit, like my sweater – or relaxed, like Clara’s? Where would you wear your Foyle’s, and what will you wear it with?

Happy knitting!

The best kind of Monday

I know that Mondays are some people’s least favorite day. But I love them – they always fill me with promise and excitement for the week ahead. This week, there’s a little more than usual to be excited about!

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The handy knitting calculators app we’ve been writing is finally almost ready to submit for approval. So be looking for videos and more fun stuff in the weeks ahead – in addition to posting here about them, I’ll be updating this page with screenshots, details, and other fun stuff.

Tomorrow, at noon(ish) Eastern, something pretty spectacular is going to happen. It’s a great idea to be near a computer then.

Thursday, I’ll be sharing a bit about what’s at the bottom of that pile – and how I love it with all my fierce fashiony heart.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep knitting, finalizing retreat details, and preparing for all of the travel I have coming up later this month. Speaking of – there are actually a few spots open in a couple of my Vogue Knitting Live classes. I believe there’s still room in the short Knit to Flatter class, my Sweaters, Deconstructed class (which is an excellent class all about fabric, stitch patterning, style, and other sweater considerations), and my Modifications class. You can view all classes and sign up here – I hope to see you there!

(Or at Yarnover, where I’m speaking and teaching.)

(Or in this gorgeous place, where I CANNOT WAIT TO BE, although the weather has been giving us a much-loved break here in New England lately.)

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What will your week hold?

Drumlin Cardigan

How is your Cardipalooza cardi coming along? I’m pretty excited about the one I just cast on, but I’ve actually already got a couple of cardigans to share with you!

The first is the Drumlin Cardigan:

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Cardigans are such essential sweaters for most of us, aren’t they? The design for this one started when Clara Parkes and I were discussing what makes for a quintessential cardigan. I’d just received a sweater quantity of her (then-new) Cormo 2.0**, which is such a fantastic sweater yarn. We started bouncing around thoughts and descriptors:

Great indoors and out. Comfortable, but not baggy. Shaped, but not tight. Versatile in terms of layering. Pockets a plus.

I spent some time sketching, and swatching, and fiddling with my sketches a bit. The design is pretty simple:

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But I’m also finding the sweater to be pretty much infinitely wearable. Our weather has warmed up a bit this week, and I’ve been wearing this every day instead of a jacket. I’ve worn it with a long-sleeved T-shirt, as in the pattern photos. I’ve worn it over a thin henley store-bought sweater that I love. I’ve worn it over a giant cowl-neck tunic, and over a button-down. And it’s risen to the challenge most admirably. (Also, the fabric is looking lovely even after so much hard wear – a little fuzzed, but not a pill in sight.) And by the way – I worked the edge shaping on this sample 3 stitches in from the edge, slanting against the edge being shaped – but of course, you can shape however you’d like.

I’ve built Drumlin right into CustomFit, so you can get your own perfectly-suited cardigan without having to worry about fit modifications or matching anyone else’s gauge.

If you were not able to purchase Cormo 2.0 while it existed, any worsted-spun, traditional wool yarn will make a great substitute. For a commercially-available yarn that will produce an extremely similar final product, try Imperial Yarns Tracie Too.

The exquisite buttons on this sweater were created by Melissa Jean Handknit Design and are highly recommended.

Are you cardi-inspired? What will you use to make your own Drumlin?

**(P.S. – in re: another sweater I’ll be sharing with you shortly, you probably want to sign up to be notified when Clara releases new yarn. Link here. Just sayin’.)

Knit Wear Love – Release Day!!!

There seriously aren’t enough exclamation points in the world for how I feel today.

Knit Wear Love is finally available!

The patterns are described on Ravelry and here on this site, the blank pattern worksheets are available to help make your sweater knitting more brainless and easy, and I can finally start wearing the sweaters.

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(The cozy in today’s studio brought to you by: The Casual Cardigan.)

You can get the book from Amazon, directly from my publisher, or from your favorite independent bookstore. Or better still: Visit one of our wonderful CustomFit yarn stores to pick up your copy.

As you knit from the book, or daydream about knitting from the book, we’d love to keep track of what you’re doing! Use the hashtag #knitwearlove so that we can see all of your sweater awesomeness.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more sweater talk, but for today – I’m going to celebrate, and knit, and breathe a huge sigh of relief. It’s here!!!

CustomFit Basics: Winter/Spring 2015 Collection.

I’ve always felt that our knitting should be worn.

One of my great passions in life is to change the fact that sweaters suffer from the “closet curse” more than any other kind of knitting. That’s why I created CustomFit — to help all knitters make sweaters they love to knit and to wear. This fall, my inner restlessness and focus on great clothes combined into a somewhat-obsessive desire to re-imagine our “Classic” CustomFit silhouettes into something less static. Through the process, I kept coming back to this concept of basic wardrobe fundamentals.

You know the kind I mean, right? Those sweaters you wear all the time. That you want in 17 different colors. That go with everything in your wardrobe. That feel current, but that you also know you’ll wear for years to come.

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I thought about what those sweaters have in common. And decided that our “classic” CustomFit sweaters needed to be an evolving series of the most versatile things that will ever fly off your needles. I sketched, and chose sweater yarns that I believe in on a number of different levels, and I swatched. Then, the knitting began…

…and today, I’m presenting the first in a line of CustomFit Basics collections: twice-yearly presentations of the classics of our time. Those fundamental, wear-every-day sweaters we can’t wait to throw on. Ready for you to interpret – in your own materials, for your own wardrobe.

For Winter/Spring 2015, our inaugural collection, we’re presenting a mix of timeless, tried-and-trues and updated interpretations of the garments we wear every day.

CustomFit will create them in your own gauge, and your own size. So think about what you’d like to wear, grab your favorite yarn, and play around. See where your hands take you while you look through the collection.


And then, share with us! What styles appeal to you? What materials? What three things in your closet would you want to wear with your new sweater? When you’re ready, click here to get started on your very own wardrobe fundamentals.

Catching up: The Talcott Cardigan

It’s a week of catching up on sweaters here, and today I’d like to talk about a sweater I worked up as an exclusive design for the new website Kitterly.

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Do you know about Kitterly yet? It’s a website that helps you find a project that matches your tastes and skill level, and then packages up everything you need for that project, in one easy bundle. (I spent a fun time over coffee last week, clicking through all of the buttons on their project match tool.) Some months ago now, they were reaching out to designers to collaborate on exclusive kit designs.

I was super happy to be invited to play along, and then even happier when they sent me one of my very favorite yarns to work with – Rowan Felted Tweed Aran. I love this yarn – it’s delightful to knit with, it wears well over time, it comes in a wonderful selection of wearable colors, and it shows stitch patterning beautifully. I’ve worked with it many times over the years, and always enjoy designing for it.

This time, I knew I wanted to work it up into something cabled and cozy, but with a nod to more modern sensibilities. That, and a doodle of Jacob’s, was how Talcott started. I’m super pleased with how it turned out, and I hope you are too!

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Want one of your own? For now, it’s available exclusively through Kitterly. You can find out more details, and get your own, there. Happy knitting!

Catching up: Harrisville

Well, hello there! Long time, no see…

2015 has been incredible in many ways, but not so much on the sitting-in-front-of-the-computer front. Between my travel, the snow days you’re almost certainly sick of hearing about (or experiencing, depending on where you live!), and school vacations, this is one of the first days I’ve been able to just… work… in forever. So there’s lots of catching up to do! For instance, I don’t think we’ve talked about any of these things:

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And I think I’ve knit 5 sweaters during the current KAL, none of which I’ve talked about…

…but first, let’s start with a few more sweaters I’ve been knitting that I don’t think I’ve mentioned. I want to start by talking about my design partnership with Harrisville Designs.

My own journey with Harrisville actually started when I was a kid – we mostly worked with the absolute least-expensive (acrylic) yarn that could be found when I was young. But my mom always had a little savings fund going for “the really good wool”, and every so often would make a very special garment out of it. Harrisville projects were my favorites of that smaller collection of items. While I think they’re gorgeous in the hank too, the true beauty of these yarns doesn’t fully come through until the items made with them are worn, day after day, and year after year.

Over time, the things you’ll make from these yarns will soften, bloom, meld, and relax, the way a really good pair of shoes will. (You know the ones I mean.) Except that unlike the shoes, they’ll continue to look just as good – if not better – than the day they were knit. Of all of the sweaters in the giant set I bring to my classes, Acorn Trail (out of Highland) gets the most love. It still looks as good as the pattern photo, and it feels even better.

So needless to say, when Harrisville first approached me to design for them I was thrilled.

I’ve done 3 sweaters with them now, the latest of which was released just last week. Can I show them to you? (By the way, Caro Sheridan gets the credit for all of these incredible photos.)

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Leatherleaf (here’s a Ravelry link, too) was released in Harrisville’s “Spring Thaw 2014″ collection. It’s a flirty little thing, knit out of their Silk and Wool blend, a wonderful, nubby yarn that I’ve used several times now. (I like it sooo much.)

While I originally intended for the sweater to be worn with a couple of inches of positive ease, I think it looks great when worn more fitted, too. It’s a fairly quick and simple knit, and I keep meaning to knit one for myself – it’s a nice blend of the classic and sporty styles I’m personally most comfortable in. I can imagine it with several of the skirts hanging in my closet that are just waiting for warmer weather.

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Bennington (here’s that Rav link) was my chance to design for Harrisville’s Autumn collection, using their glorious WATERshed yarn. WATERshed is a light, medium-twist woolenspun yarn, similar to Shelter but more structured and durable. I found it to be a joy to work with, and for an Autumn collection, knew that I wanted to work with some deliciously cabled pattern. The front of this cardi is quite plain, and intended to be worn open. (Be sure to choose a size that’s large enough to let the cardigan fronts hang nicely!)

In fact, Harrisville is running a KAL for Bennington – and I can’t wait to see the sweaters! (It’s okay to be dreaming of autumn before winter is even done, right?)

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And finally, there’s Hemingway, which has just been released as part of Harrisville’s winter collection. (Here’s a Ravelry link.) I can’t say enough good things about FLYwheel, the yarn I used for this cardigan. It’s a completely exquisite yarn – a sport-weight relative of WATERshed, except that description can’t convey how perfect a sweater yarn this is. It’s warm, it’s light, it’s the perfect size and tweediness for stitch patterns.

And so, I designed a sweater that I wanted to wear (badly). Cabled, relaxed, comfortable, with just a bit of shaping. The kind of thing that will work with my jeans, my cord skirts, my fall dresses. With boots, with clogs, with an old pair of converse. Know what I mean?

I hope you like it. I’m ridiculously excited about it.

Want to see another picture for good measure?

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(And is that sweet dog not the most adorable thing ever?) So that’s that – another stop in the line of pinch-me-experiences I’ve had since leaving my day job to pursue the fiber arts full-time. What’s on your needles these days – and what sweaters are you looking forward to making this year?

Charlie’s Cardigan

Jackie has said about me, more than once:

“She’s a compulsive designer. She literally cannot stop.”

And it’s true. I can’t touch a hank of yarn without thinking about what it wants to be. I’ve taken three pauses in my work today, just to pull some yarn and needles down and play around with them, and it’s only barely lunchtime. And in all of my design work, I try to be true to what the yarn needs. I strive to make sweaters that are infinitely wearable, and which fit seamlessly into a wardrobe.

…But oftentimes, I’m not actually knitting sweaters that fit comfortably into my wardrobe. I have a pretty strongly-developed style: my outfits tend to be a blend of sporty and preppy, with a few bohemian, modern, and/or romantic touches thrown in now and again for flavor. So as much as I love all of the sweaters I design, I wear them less than you might think.

Which is why, when I decided to use some of the utterly-phenomenal Swans Island All-American yarn for my FFKAL sweater, I decided to stick close to my own wardrobe roots.

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Charlie’s Cardigan is a kinda-sporty, kinda-preppy crew neck cardigan that slips quietly into wardrobe heavy rotation. It looks good with button-downs and a skirt, and is equally at home with a long-sleeved T and your favorite pair of jeans. Its lace chevron pattern is interesting to knit and looks great, but is not so eye-catching that your whole outfit has to be about the sweater.

The Swans Island All-American Worsted is a wonderful partner for the classic lines of Charlie’s Cardigan. It’s a worsted-weight, woolenspun 2-ply blend of soft Rambouillet wool and alpaca, both sourced within the US and blended & spun at a mill in New England. It’s soft (though not smooth), light, warm, and incredibly beautiful. Swans Island’s All American Collection celebrates centuries of American textile tradition, and I’m thrilled to use it for a garment that’s getting so much daily wear already.

The best part? Charlie’s Cardigan is built right into CustomFit, so you can create one in your very own gauge, for your very own self.


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So there you have it – some closure to my FFKAL sweater, and a new design for you, just in time for the Deep Winter KAL.

Stay warm, and happy knitting!

In review, looking ahead

Happy holidays, from our little team!

We hope your knitting has been gifted, and you’re now luxuriating in family, friends, and a shorter to-do list than in early December. And while we’re still snuggling with our loved ones and enjoying a little family time of our own, I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for being here, and reflect a bit on 2014.

My family experienced 2014 as a pretty tumultuous year, honestly. A good year in many ways, to be sure… …and a challenging one in others.

2014 was my first full year working for myself (and with an incredible team). It included more trips than I’d like to think about (16 before summer, which is when I stopped counting very carefully, even though I love teaching with all my heart). Our family made a huge move to a much less expensive place to live (but yay for continuing to be able to work on my passions!), with all that entails: new schools, new surroundings, exploration of this place we now call home. And more than that, it included a lot of introspection: What would we like our lives to be like? How much of that is under our control, and what can we change to bring ourselves closer to the family we want to be?

I feel incredibly lucky that we were in a position to make some big changes, and we’re ending the year in a place that (while still more tenuous than we’d like) is filled with light, and joy, and love. Even the bad days are easier, here.

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(Family out-take time!)

Ravelry tells me that I also knit 25 sweaters, though you can’t see most of them until the spring:

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(Knit Wear Love is coming this spring to a location near you!)

And lots of other work that has been keeping us busy this fall is under wraps until spring-time, too. All in all, 2014 left me feeling hopeful, more centered than I have in a long time, and very very excited about 2015.

How did you feel about 2014?

However your year went: Happy New Year, to you and yours. May this night be filled with light, knitting, and wonderful company. See you on the flip side!

Three yarns, three women, three sweaters.

Vogue Knitting Live was, of course, bundles of fun – even if I did spend every non-class moment curled up with some Sudafed. Teaching is one of my most favorite of things, and it’s always wonderful to see fellow teachers and exhibitors at these large events.

I returned home to the kind of Halloween fervor only ninja- and monster-obsessed little boys can muster, but I’ve still managed to get a fair amount of work done. In fact, I can finally share three more fall sweaters with you! The sweaters have been done for some time, but we haven’t been able to add them to CustomFit until this week. (It’s not really interesting to explain why – maybe I should just leave it by saying that sometimes even the programmers themselves have a hard time estimating the difficulty of programming tasks?)

So to everyone who saw these sweaters in person, a month agothanks for your patience. I’m very pleased to say that the make, wear, love retreat sweaters for 2014 are now available within CustomFit.


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The Harbor Island Cardigan.

The Harbor Island Cardigan is relaxed, friendly, and warm – just the ticket for chilly nights in front of a fire or for a walk along the coastline. Its long sleeves, longer length, and deep V neckline layer beautifully. A textured stitch pattern is fun to knit and subtly showcases a beautiful yarn.

The sample is shown in Indigodragonfly’s Sad Lester DK, an utterly gorgeous 100% BFL yarn that knits like a dream. It’s wooly, a little on the gruff side, and glorious to wear. We used the color “The New Black”, but Kim produces gorgeous, saturated shades – so find a color that speaks to you!

While the design was originally conceived with stitch patterning only on the bottom of the sweater. Lauren changed things a bit to balance her shape and make the sweater her own. Her extra-long sleeves are super snuggly, and the ribbing at the top of her sweater as well as at the bottom adds interest to the shoulder area and balances the stitch patterning at the cardigan hem. I like the way it looks so much, I’ve included instructions for both in the CustomFit patterns.

You can adjust fit, sleeve length and sweater length to suit your own preferences as usual; Harbor Island is shown here in a relaxed fit, low-hip length, and full-length sleeves. You can create your own Harbor Island directly within CustomFit.


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The Pilot House Pullover.

The make, wear, love fall retreats are always held in a beautiful spot in coastal Maine where I grew up, and I try to create sweaters that would be at home in the region. The Pilot House Pullover is definitely “dressing up” fare, in my hometown, but who doesn’t like to be a bit fancy every now and again? It’s a comfortable, simple pullover to knit, with a diamond lace panel and simple scoop neckline. The lace adds a nice visual touch without fighting with the gorgeously-shaded colors of a hand-painted yarn. It also provides interest for the knitter in an otherwise-simple design.

For this sample, I used The Woolen Rabbit’s Sporty Kashmir in the colorway “Forever in Blue Jeans”. This yarn is an incredibly soft, 3-ply Sport Weight and is made from 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. I highly recommend it! If you’re using this yarn, you should aim for a stitch gauge of around 6 stitches to the inch to get a fabric like the one shown.

I recommend choosing either a ‘close’ or ‘average’ fit for this pullover, which looks best when worn either next to the skin or with a thin layer. I’m wearing it with a close fit. You can make your own Pilot House Pullover right here in CustomFit.


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The Round Cove Cardigan.

The Roundcove Cardigan is as classic as it gets. Elbow sleeves, tiny buttons, and 1×1 ribbing pair with a gorgeous yarn and tailored shaping to create a piece you’ll wear day in, and day out, for years to come.

Of the three make, wear, love retreat designs, this is the simplest – and an excellent showcase of how utterly classic a simple sweater can be. If you’re nervous about dipping your toes into sweater knitting, this would make a gorgeous first garment.

This design will work beautifully in absolutely any gauge. I have a special place in my heart for fingering weight sweaters, though – and so the sample is worked in The Uncommon Thread’s Posh Fingering. It’s a delight both to knit and to wear – a lovely, light yarn in beautifully shaded tones made from 70% Superwash Bluefaced Leicester, 20% Silk and 10% Cashmere. (Yum.) It’s shown in color Plata.

Stateside, you can find Posh Fingering at the wonderful shop Yarn Culture (both brick-and-mortar, and online.)

This cardigan will look lovely at any fit. As shown, the cardigan was generated with an average fit – but as you can see, Jackie’s measurements have changed since she’s expecting! In these pictures, I think it looks more like a close fit in the shoulders and bust. You can create your very own Round Cove Cardigan here in CustomFit.


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I hope you love all of the sweaters as much as we do! Just looking at them reminds me of the wonderful time we all had, and makes me homesick. Happy Halloween to all who celebrate, and we’ll see you soon!