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!

Sweater Week: Stonington

For the last sweater release of Sweater Week, I wanted to share something that makes me think of New England fall. Meet Acorn Trail’s little sister, Stonington:

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Stonington started with a yarn, and a desire to create a sweater similar to Acorn Trail, but that was simpler to knit.

The yarn is Harrisville WaterSHED. Watershed is a wonderful yarn to work with – it’s woolenspun, so it’s lightweight and lofty. But it’s spun a bit more sturdily, so it will wear beautifully over time. It comes in a beautiful color palette, and is rustic enough to evoke everything warm and woolen about knitting.

With such a classic yarn, I wanted Stonington to match: To be a classic cardigan shape with a definite fall look, but on the easier side, skill-wise. It is both extremely simple to knit and has just enough detail to produce a timeless, wearable sweater. The lines evoked by the 2×2 ribbed sleeves and ribbing detail on the cardigan’s fronts allow it to be dressed up, and the earthy tweedy wool makes the sweater equally as comfortable with an old pair of jeans.


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As written Stonington has a low-hip length and full-length sleeves, but as usual (now) you can change those options when you create it via CustomFit. And like all of my other designs being released this week, CustomFit is where you can get a Stonington of your own.

Click here to get started!

I hope we’ll see you at the festival on Saturday or Sunday, but either way: Stay tuned for a post from Lauren tomorrow, and another post from me (on Featherweight fabric) on Sunday.

Have a great weekend!

Sweater Week: Hakone and Bridgefield

Today in Sweater Week news, I get to share the results of a partnership with one of my favorite yarnies: Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I don’t remember exactly when I was introduced to Jennifer’s yarns (maybe a sock exchange in 2006?), but I’ve been an avid fan ever since.

And above all other bases, I love her wool, cashmere, and silk blends. She’s got them in a variety of weights – I worked my design Alta in her Birte – and I aspire to a laceweight sweater some day too.

But for this fall season, I decided to design sweaters both in the fingering-weight Sunna and the worsted-weight Verdande. Fingering weight yarns and worsted weight yarns both make fantastic sweaters, but the different weights do encourage different things in the design process. Unsurprisingly, I wound up with two very different sweaters at the end!

I love them both, though. And I’m very pleased to share both Hakone, and Bridgefield, with you for today’s installment of Sweater Week.


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Here’s a little bit about each sweater:

Hakone is the kind of design that cries out for a lightweight yarn: whispery but warm, elegant but relaxed, and as at home with jeans as something fancier.

It’s largely Stockinette, which lets the yarn shine through, with just a couple of key details. The 3/4 sleeves are worked straight with a bit of a notch, and the edges are trimmed in 3×2 ribbing. The worn-open style and mid-hip length are easygoing and comfortable.

Hakone is currently available only through CustomFit: you can create your own here.


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Bridgefield celebrates the best part of worsted-weight sweaters: this pullover is cozy and warm, almost sumptuous. It begs to be snuggled on a crisp fall day and looks equally great over a tank or a button-down.

The scale of worsted-weight yarn shows texture beautifully, and keeping the texture on the front of the sweater only prevents the garment from feeling heavy or bulky. As written, Bridgefield has a mid-hip length and long sleeves.

Bridgefield is also currently available only through CustomFit; you can get started here.


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And the even better news about Hakone and Bridgefield is that now, for all sweaters that are built into CustomFit you can change the sleeve and sweater lengths to suit your preference. This has been a long time coming, and we’re so excited about it.

Finally, let’s talk yarn. Anyone who has listened to me talk in person has heard me extoll the virtues of a wool/silk blend – the drape! the shine! the memory! – and the blend that Spirit Trail Fiberworks uses for their Nona, Sunna, Birte, and Verdande yarns is a particularly nice one. The Bombyx silk gives the yarns a gorgeous drape and sheen, the cashmere gives softness and an ever-so-subtle halo, and the merino blends it all together into one glorious package. If you’re going to be at Rhinebeck this weekend, or even if you aren’t, I urge you to give it a try.

Sweater Week: Rhinebeck Plans, and Amy’s #FFKAL sweater(s?)

Today in Sweater Week news, I wanted to share some of my own #FFKAL plans, and give you all a heads-up about where we’ll be & what we’ll be doing at the New York Sheep and Wool festival this weekend.

#FFKAL – Amy edition

I’ve knit a few sweaters so far this fall, but I’m not sure whether any of them really count as FFKAL sweaters. They’re all sweaters I am enjoying greatly, they’re sweaters I’d enjoy wearing in “real life”, so perhaps they count…

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…but on the other hand, somehow I haven’t thought of them as KAL sweaters, in my head. I don’t know why, truly.

Maybe it’s because they weren’t imagined solely as part of the KAL. The ideas for them came from all over, and included more inspiration than just “What would I most like to wear this fall?”. Which is fine of course! But for whatever reason, I’ve felt like I haven’t been fully participating in this KAL so far despite the frantic pace of my needles.

That changed this week.

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As of this week, I have a plan that came from musing at my own closet, I have an absolutely incredible wool that I’m beyond excited about. I also have a dozen outfits I want to wear with this sweater. This sweater feels totally indulgent to me, and I can’t wait to share progress with you!

Where in the New York Sheep & Wool Festival are Amy and Jackie?!

Unlike the past few years, I’m planning on spending my Rhinebeck in my favorite of relaxed-crowd-ambling mode. For most of the festival, Jackie and I will simply be wandering the fairgrounds. I’m impatient for the whole weekend in the best way possible. So if you see us wandering about, come say hi! We’ll have a bag of CustomFit buttons to share, and I’d love to see your festival sweater.

But we’ll be doing a couple of more “official” things too, and I’d absolutely love it if you’d join us for them as well.

Buttons! A CustomFit button helps tell the world how you got the awesome sweater you’re wearing, what you intend to use to knit your next sweater, or just that you think CustomFit is cool. We’ll have them with us, and they’ll also be available at the incredible Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth.

Book signing! I’ll be signing copies of Knit to Flatter in the book tent on Sunday from 1-2pm.

CustomFit Meet-ups! We’ll be doing two this year, on Saturday from 1:30 – 2:30pm, and on Sunday from 11:00am – 12:00pm. We’ll meet in the grassy, fieldy, leaf-strewn bits across the path from the lost and found / building E overhang (kind of between the number 13 and the main gate in this picture of last year’s map). If you joined us last year too, we’ll do the meet-ups in the same place. We’ll do a group photo each day, and we’ll also do a group Q&A session. So bring your questions, sweaters, and your awesome self! I can’t wait to see you.

(For those who have asked, we won’t be doing measurements this time around. I’d like to change up the experience from last year’s rapid-fire one-on-ones (which were wonderful but totally crazy-pants), and spend the meet-up time talking to everyone as a group, instead. If you’re looking for help with measurements though, don’t despair! We’ve got a new measurements tips & tricks video up on our YouTube channel, and there is a fantastic collection of CustomFit LYSes who’ve been fully trained, too.)

For me at least, the meet-ups are about getting together and sharing the inspiring feeling of loving the garments you’re knitting. I really hope to see you there.

Free CustomFit patterns! One more bit of awesomeness from Spirit Trail: not only will they have CustomFit buttons in their booth, but they’re running an amazing show special – purchase a sweater quantity of yarn, and get a coupon for a free CustomFit sweater. (This is a good idea in general, by the way! Leaving with a sweater quantity is practically a yearly tradition for me, now.)With or without a CustomFit coupon, it’s a great idea to grab yourself some Spirit Trail. But a free pattern is definitely pretty cool!

Sweater Week continues tomorrow with another design…

That’s all for today, folks! What are you knitting for the #FFKAL? Will you be at Rhinebeck, and will we see you? What’s got you inspired, this year?

Sweater Week: Coracle

It’s the week before Rhinebeck, and all through the house, lots of wool is a-stirring…

…which is to say, we have a lot of very exciting things set to come your way these next 7 days! For those of us in the Northeast US (and many from further away, too), the New York Sheep and Wool Festival is an absolute mecca – for yarn, for inspiration, for wonderful knitters of all types. I can’t wait for it, every year. And every year, when it’s over, I return to my “regular life” inspired and energized.

So, Sweater Week. A (new) yearly tradition here at AHD, where we spend a whole week loving the sweater. Showing off the sweaters we’ll wear this year, sure, but also… sharing our hopes, our dreams, our plans for that next outstanding garment, too.

We’ll be finalizing our Rhinebeck meet-up plans very shortly, but today I wanted to start by sharing a new sweater design that’s built right into the CustomFit site.

We’ve got so many sweaters coming up this week that I’d planned on starting with something that evokes a crisp fall New England day. But then I thought: Waaaaait a minute. I never followed up with the progress on my own SSKAL sweater! Remember the sleeve dilemma?

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Well, I added sleeves, and have been wearing this thing non-stop.

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I love this sweater with a fiery passion. I’m calling it Coracle, and it’s the first design that I’m releasing exclusively through the CustomFit site. It’s built right in – choose your materials, swatch until you get a fabric you love, and get a pattern that’s as easy to knit as a blanket, with gorgeous custom clothing results.

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When the #SSKAL started, I knew I wanted to do a sweater that really departed from my typical woolly-wools. So I began by using a new yarn I found very exciting: Truesilk by Rowan. This is a 100% silk yarn, which is glorious for drape, sheen, and color. But it’s also chainette construction, which means it’s wonderfully elastic to work with. It produced a fabric that’s closer to what I can buy in the store than anything I’ve ever created with my needles.

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Now, for the nitty-gritty: This is a mid-hip, wide scoop neck pullover with tapered 3/4 sleeves. It’s trimmed with 2×2 ribbing, and the back is knit in plain Stockinette. The front is in an allover open mesh lace pattern (which has a gauge that’s essentially equivalent to Stockinette), and the sweater is written with waist shaping on the back only for ease of knitting and a more slouchy, relaxed feel to the garment.

The result is pretty much my most favorite sweater I’ve ever knit for myself. Want to make one for you, too? Click here to get started!

(Of course, later this week I’m going to get started giving Coracle a run for its money. I’m out to create a new wardrobe staple for myself, and I’m so excited about this one that I can’t even stand it. I hope you will be, too. Want a hint?

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See you soon!)