Knit the Look: Marthe Wiggers’ vintage-chic pullover

Knit the Look: Marthe Wiggers' vintage-chic pullover

I love how simultaneously retro and au courant Dutch model Marthe Wiggers looks in this slinky, ribbed, black mock-neck sweater and motorcycle jacket. Such simplicity with that sweater, and as usual what makes it noteworthy are the tiny little details — the proportion of the peaks and valleys of that ribbing, and the shift in scale from the sweater to the neck. Which is easy enough to emulate. Vintage patterns would be the best bet on this one, but there are some available options to work from. There’s a reasonably similar Rowan pattern from a few years ago, Fiori (just add ribbing) but it’s worsted weight, whereas Marthe’s sweater seems to be a fine-gauge machine knit. So I’m going to recommend Pierrot’s characteristically rudimentary, English-translated Japanese pattern called 22-23-20 Ribbed Turtleneck Sweater (free pattern), which is written for fingering weight. (As with pretty much all Japanese patterns, it’s one size, so add to the stitch count as/where necessary to adjust the width.) To make it look more like Marthe’s, try the rib in 2×1 or even 3×1, switching to 1×1 on smaller needles for the collar. And instead of knitting the neck to full turtleneck length, stop at about 3”. Yarn-wise, for that gorgeous heathered black I’m a big fan of Quince and Co’s Sabine colorway, which is available in fingering-weight Finch.

For more photos and Marthe’s full outfit, see Vanessa’s original blog post. And for guidance on how to read a Japanese knitting pattern, click here.


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Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

17 thoughts on “Knit the Look: Marthe Wiggers’ vintage-chic pullover

  1. Karen, do you have any advice for knitting a neat 1×1 rib? Mine always looks a mess.

    • Do you have a big gauge difference between your knits and purls? I’ve heard this is a problem for some knitters. That would explain a messy rib, if your purl stitches are always a bit bigger than your knits.

      If so, I don’t have any advice other than to say that you might need to change your knitting style so you are using very similar movements for both knitting and purling. I am a thrower who holds my right needle like a pencil and I find I have very consistent gauge.

      • I’m a thrower with quite neat gauge but my ribbing still looks terrible. My ribbed pieces come out super wonky. The only thing that helps is a good blocking. Thankfully it all does tend to even out after several washings.

    • @Donna – Have you tried a twisted rib? You knit through the back of the loop and then purl normally. It’s slower but i found it looks really neat since it makes the knit stitches tighter somehow… worth a try!

    • Donna, FOR LOOSE RIB STITCHES; on purl stitches AFTER knit stitches, on that purl stitch wrap the yarn backwards (clockwise) from the usual way. On the WS rows, work the purl stitch through the back loop. For the LAST knit stitch BEFORE a purl stitch, knit the knit stitch through the back loop. Voila! Much tighter ribbing.

      Have a great day… KNITTING Ribbing!

      • Oops! that’s what I get for having two pages open at once! Sorry everyone.

    • Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! I have tried the twisted rib before; I will try your other suggestions and hopefully get the ribbing of my dreams!

      • The inimitable TECHknitter also has some useful thoughts on uneven ribbing, and a trick or two:

        For most people, messy 1×1 ribbing is either due to differences between how they form their knits and purls (these people will also have “rowing out” in stockinette worked back and forth), OR looseness/extra yarn that they accidentally (usually unwittingly!) introduce when switching between knits and purls. For many people, one direction (knit to purl, or purl to knit) will be worse than the other. In this case, a similar wonkiness may show up elsewhere, such as at one edge of cables on a reverse stockinette background. Long run, you can adjust your knitting motions to change this (if you care to!) but it takes attention and focused practice.

    • There are loads of listings at Ravelry, but of course finding a copy of any of them is the hard part! All of the ones I own have been sent to me by nice people, but you can look for them at thrift stores, flea markets and, I assume, eBay and such.

  2. I knit a sweater with a Japanese pattern and it was an adventure. I had to use the measurements and stitch count to fill out a form. At one point I had the geometry wrong, had to frog that part and reknit. It was knit with two strands of Habu yarn (or maybe shibui). One of the strands was linen paper and the other was very fine mohair. It came out very pretty. I was told that the numbers and diagram were something that could be understood internationally.

    • More on Japanese knitting. I knit the Habu Textiles kit,, and they offered support and explanations of their (Japanese) system. I checked out the Ravelry group on this and it is not that explanatory.

  3. Karen, newbie knitter here! I have a question about gauge…what do you do if your swatch is good for stitch gauge for too big/small in terms of rows? Is this something that can be corrected by changing needle size?

    • Yes, you always want to try again with another needle until you get the pattern gauge. That’s they only way your finished dimensions will match the pattern dimensions.

  4. Pingback: Knit the Look: The Crown’s cardigans | Fringe Association

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