Make Your Own Basics: The ski sweater

Make Your Own Basics: The ski sweater

This a funny installment to fall at the start of summer, but there’s still one more sort of archetypal sweater I think every closet could benefit from and thus want to include in Make Your Own Basics. For the sake of being able to give this entry a label — and taking a mainstream-consumer-historical point of view (as opposed to a knitting purist’s POV) — I’m going to classify it simply as “a ski sweater.” That’s a term that has for a long time been very loosely applied to a woolly, generally brightly colored sweater with some form of colorwork patterning either on the yoke or all over, which was common outerwear for the slopes before the high-tech outdoorwear craze — look at this vintage chic-ness with the matching hat — but which, more importantly, is a useful part of any wardrobe. Colorwork sweaters have roots in many different knitting cultures of the world, but are most closely associated with Fair Isle and the assorted Nordic traditions. As far as knitters go, I definitely think everyone should knit one of one sort or another!  And hey, if you want it in your fall/winter closet, summer is the time to cast on.

There are thousands of great patterns to choose from, but here are a few good options:

TOP: Dalis by Dianna Walla features Fair Isle-style bands of stranded motifs

MIDDLE LEFT: Dalur by Hulda Hákonardóttir is a fairly ornate Icelandic lopapeysa

MIDDLE RIGHT: Star Jumper by Oddvør Jacobsen is in the Faroese tradition

BOTTOM: Sigla by Mary Jane Mucklestone is sort of a pared-down lopapeysa with geometric punch


PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: Loungewear





12 thoughts on “Make Your Own Basics: The ski sweater

  1. I have had an idea for such a sweater now for a year or two; however, I’m going to try (really try) to focus on what I’ve planned for this summer (even as I’ve gone into Plan B on most of them). But perhaps this fall…

  2. I have been talking about the same for years. A wardrobe must. I have chosen Sundottir and the Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Coal and Fossil. It will go with my neutral palette of greige for life. I also thank you for inspiring me to purge my closet to have less of a massive wardrobe. I took out 100 pounds of clothing to my local resale shop just yesterday. Win/Win

  3. When I was a law student back in 1980 (!!) yoke sweaters were the hot thing to wear at Queen’s University. Having recently read EZ’s “Knitting Without Tears”, I designed my own and knitted it using good ‘ol Briggs and Little Regal and EZ’s own percentage system. Nowadays, I prefer this style with a bit of waist shaping and no ribbing to hug the hips. Lett Lopi is my wool of choice; not too heavy, and a great halo after washing.

  4. I’ve been contemplating lopapeysas ever since the MDK KAL in Feb. 2016. Both traditional styles and non – maybe it’s time to commit???

  5. I skied in high school, and owned machine-made and hand knit ski sweaters. One was a great cabled sweater in ivory wool, which I dearly loved. My mother mistakenly machine washed it, and it ended up doll-sized and inflexible. Sigh. I had a wonderful hand knit pullover that my parents brought home from Portugal. Again, ivory wool, with red and black cross-stitched motifs, like crowns. Loved it, and wore it for years (and carefully hand washed it!). Finally admitted that I could no longer fit into it a few years ago, and gave it to charity (after taking pictures of the beautiful embroidery).

    But my all-time favorite was a ski sweater that had belonged to my father, purchased when he was in college. It, too, was an ivory wool, with a black band with a sawtooth edge across the chest and sleeves–and with a scroll pattern of leaves knit in red on the black band. I wore it with a circle skirt made by my mother when she was in high school. out of a rich printed corduroy. I loved those two garments (still have the skirt, lost the sweater years ago–left it at the cleaners by mistake). One day, I promise myself, I will knit a replacement for Dad’s ski sweater.

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  7. I knit myself a ski sweater last year but it doesn’t look anything like these! I designed it myself, making modifications along the way to make up for mis-measurements. It’s my favorite… so far.

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