DIY Vanessa Bruno turtleneck

How to knit a version of Vanessa Bruno's amazing turtleneck

Ever since Vanessa Jackman posted these photos on her blog, this Vanessa Bruno sweater has been getting a lot of attention on Pinterest and elsewhere. It’s totally killer. It’s also a case of another $400 half-synthetic sweater that’s easily replicated by any crafty knitter. If you look at Asos’ shots, where it’s worn with even more ease, you can see a few more of the details, especially the long ribbing at the cuffs. And apparently it has a split hem, although none of the photos really shows that. It’s a very simple sweater, the most distinctive feature of which is the raglans. And where have we seen almost identical raglans before? The totally amazing and highly coveted Sweatshirt Sweater pattern at the Purl Bee, which requires only the most minor of modifications to become the Vanessa Bruno. One: skip the kangaroo pocket. Two: knit longer ribbing at the cuffs. Three: keep knitting the neck until you’ve got a turtleneck instead of a crew.

The question is yarn. The Purl Bee sweater is written for worsted-weight yarn, and the Bruno looks more like an aran or chunky to me. So if you’re slightly more ambitious you could change the gauge. (Or just improvise it top-down.) But I think choosing a yarn with the same salt-and-pepperiness of the grey yarn used for the Bruno is more important than the gauge. It needs to have coloration along the lines of Joseph Galler’s Prime Alpaca in Mist Grey, but 100% alpaca seems too weighty for a big sweater like this. Anyone know the perfect yarn?


Photos © Vanessa Jackman, used with permission

19 thoughts on “DIY Vanessa Bruno turtleneck

  1. What about DRN’s Gilliatt in the “Poivre et sel” (Salt’n’Pepper, no kidding ☺) colourway ? You can check it on Ravelry.

  2. It strikes me that the ‘Forester’ that you featured a couple of “knit the Looks’ back would also serve very well and you get the marl with the double yarn.

  3. I really love the shape on this….or lack of shaping, I should say. That swingy hem seems to be staying the course … no cinching in whatsoever at the hips … which has never worked on me regardless of the trend.

    Karen, how in the heck am I supposed to keep to my resolution when you post bait like this? WANT TO MAKE. NOW.

  4. P.S. Forgot to add yarn. Off the top of my head, Cascade Eco Duo has some gorgeous marls, or for less weight, maybe B.T. Loft held double?

  5. Love the sweater and Purl Bee pattern looks like a great start. Thanks!! Do you have any resources on how to modify patterns? For instance, I see that the body is nice a lose and the ribbing at the bottom hangs straight. I have never made a sweater so I am not sure how to modify the pattern to achieve this. It fits well in the arms and shoulder area so I don’t think just going up a size would achieve the same results. Also, I am often interested in using a different gauge than some patterns call for (my favorite size 10 needles call to me often!) and I want to be sure to get the math right. I figure there have to be resources out there but haven’t tapped into the right ones yet.

    Love your blog and thanks for being “real” and sharing all that you do. It really helps!

    • Hi, Jennifer. A lot of the information in my top-down tutorial applies to all sweater making/modifying. In this case, since the Purl Bee pattern is bottom up, you’d just want to cast on a bigger size, then do paired decreases at the sides a couple of times along the way, decreasing down to the stitch count from whichever smaller size you want to be making by the time you get to the armholes/bust. Does that help?

  6. That’s a lot of sweater–I bet the alpaca would be too heavy!
    I love gray yarn–
    Jamieson & Smith Shetland Aran in BSS13 would be perfect.
    Quince Osprey or Lark in in Kumlien’s Gull would work, too, as a less rustic but still heathery option.
    Or BT Loft or Shelter held double, depending on your desired level of chunkiness, for a subtle marl. Soot & Sweatshirt or Snowbound, maybe? Soot on its own, even–

  7. I thought about suggesting a held-double marl, and it would be lovely. (You all know how much I love a good marl.) But what I like about this yarn is the blackness of the grey without actually being a marl. There’s a Joseph Galler yarn called Asano, a thick-and-thin, that’s just like this color-wise (I used it for the Tunisian cowl/cape monstrosity a couple years ago), which is what got me looking at Galler for this.

    I’ll check out those other recommendations from you all when my shipping duties are done!

  8. Thank you for pointing out how easy this would be to create! I would probably try it replicate the yarn with Cascade 220. Their marled yarn has a bit more black in it and has a darker look than two contrasting yarns held together. I think it would be a nice weight, too, knit loosely on a 9 or 10 needle!

  9. it looks double-held to me. but also exactly like your imperial yarn! fantastic design – thanks so much for sharing!

  10. This is beautiful – thanks for posting it.

    I’ve used a grey Berroco Ultra Alpaca Grey with a strand each of black & charcoal lace weight merino to very similar effect. (project is Out of Season on Rav)
    Maybe a strand each of black and white would get closer to the colour here. Or Shibui Silk cloud instead of the merino.

  11. I want to knit this right now, and funny thing, I just finished a project (that’s marled) to use up my leftover Joseph Galler Prime Alpaca. Maybe Habu Textiles A-184 (, would be a good substitute, though I have never actually seen it, I’ve just bee really liking marled things lately. As someone said above, maybe the marled Imperial Stock yarn…in red.

  12. This is a lovely sweater, and an even more lovely diy tutorial for it. Make me want to start up knitting again, or just finish the sweater that’s still on my needles!

  13. I may have found the secret. The description mentions mohair as the contrast.
    I swatched patons classic cream with black mohair and a light grey with the black mohair. Both were not perfect but close. I think you need a silver color wool with black mohair. It doesn’t look double stranded but is marley . Must find a light silver worsted.

  14. I have been eyeing this sweater as well!
    Just love those simple lines – here are some choices of yarn for it I think (check out how it knits up )
    Or this more stark and decadent choice of Mink yarn with perfect color from Jones & Vandermeer

    And these could look like fun knit up too!

  15. Pingback: DIY Elizabeth and James holey sweater | Fringe Association

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