2017 FO-13 : The purple lopi pullover

Finished: Purple lopi pullover

After a year and a half, I finally knitted the second sleeve of the top-down tutorial sweater and seamed them both up, and the sweater is — more or less — finished! And I do adore it. As it’s fully documented in the tutorial, all I really need to tell you about it is the finished counts and measurements, below. But what I mean by “more or less” is A) I need to take a second pass at the neckband and seam up the basting stitches in the raglans, but B) I think it might become a cardigan! (Which would obviate redoing the neckband.) I knitted this in Lettlopi for the sake of the tutorial because it knits up so quickly at this gauge, and I absolutely love the color, but I don’t have a lot of cause to wear an Icelandic-wool pullover in Tennessee! (I only get away with the black one because it’s short-sleeved and cropped.) Plus ever since taking the elastic out of the waistband of that older J.Crew boiled-wool pullover, I don’t really need another purple pullover, either. So I think it would get more wear if it were vented — i.e., if I turn it into a deep V-neck cardigan, which would then be some semblance of that purple cardigan I saw a few years ago and have still never gotten out of my head.

It would be good fun to do, since at this point the only way to go about it would be to machine-stitch along the contours of where I want to cut it, and then add the button band. I can’t imagine trying something like that (for the first time!) with any other garment than this, as there’s less than forty bucks’ worth of yarn in this sweater. On the other hand, I do already have a purple cardigan, albeit quite different. So I’m pondering.

Pattern: Improv
Yarn: Lettlopi by Istex in Color 1413 (purchased at Tolt)
Cost: free pattern + 7 balls of lopi at $5.50 each = $38.50 (I know!)

Finished: Purple lopi pullover


3.75 sts and 5.5 rows = 1 inch (measured over 4″ = 15/22) knitted on US10; ribbing on US9


39″ chest = 148 sts
12.5″ upper arm circumference = 50 sts (10 at underarm)
9″ yoke/armhole depth (50 rounds)
13.5″ body length (2.5″ hem ribbing)
22.5″ total length
16″ sleeve length (3.5″ cuff ribbing)
7.5″ cuff circumference = 40 sts


— CO 51 sts, divided with markers as follows ( 1 | 2 | 9 | 2 | 23 | 2 | 9 | 2 | 1 )

— Increased for a basting stitch in the center of each 2-st raglan

– Planned on 10 sts cast on at each underarm, and divided the raglan stitches evenly between sections when separating sleeves from body

— Worked raglan increases as kfb on either side of the raglan stitches

— Increased at the front neck and all raglans on 1st RS row then every other row until 14 sts each front, 37 back sts. Cast on 9 sts and joined in the round (front sts at 14 each + the 9 cast on = 37 front). Neck depth approx 3.5″

— Increased the front and back until 64 sts each (counting 2 from the raglans at separation, plus 10 per underarm cast-on = 74; front + back + underarms = 148)

— Increased the sleeve-side raglans until 39 sts (counting 2 from the raglans at separation, plus 10 underarm cast-on = 49); work-even till separation at 9″ depth (adjusted to 50 sts when starting sleeves)

— Sleeves were knitted flat, decreased 5x (40 sts), every 8th row after the first couple of inches, then switched to US9 needles and worked 1×1 ribbing for 3.5″

— Worked body even for 10.5″ (with a basting stitch at each side seam, to be mattress stitched later), then switched to US9 needles and worked 1×1 ribbing for 2.5″

— Worked the neckband as 1×1 ribbing for 2.5″ and did folded neckband

— Seamed chest circumference is approx 39″, for about 4.5″ positive ease


PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Refashioned army jacket



38 thoughts on “2017 FO-13 : The purple lopi pullover

  1. Why not? You have little to lose, and several good blog posts to be gained from such a project. Lopi would be a great fabric for a non-sew steek.

  2. I’ve been searching for the Elizabeth Zimmerman quote about steeking – but failed to find it. She is reputed to have recommended lying in a dark room after steeking! Good luck!

  3. Do it!! Why not? If you’ve already got a purple sweater, why not try out a technique with this one? Especially since it wasn’t that expensive yarn wise.

  4. What a great experiment on a sweater with so much to gain. The classic Icelandic technique of the crochet steek might be a good thing to consider. Lopi is wonderful for steeking. And you’ll have a much more wearable sweater considering your climate. Best of luck!

  5. Lopi is one of the best yarns to steek, because it’s so very sticky. I did my first steek with Lopi earlier this year and highly recommend it. Just do a little contrast color running stitch to mark where you want to cut, machine sew a couple of rows close to it on both sides, and cut. I say do a couple of rows of single crochet and put in a zipper but you do you. :)

  6. I’d do it. It will help you learn another technique. Since you have not been crazy to finish this sweater, I suspect it will not be one you are wanting to wear all the time. And we will all benefit from your experiment.

  7. Love that shade of purple! A technical question – I see you cast on 2 for the raglan, then said you increased 1 for a basting stitch. Is there a particular reason you don’t just cast on 3 for the raglan section from the start?

  8. Go for it! As mentioned above Lopi is a very sticky yarn so it would be perfect to try this new (to you) technique on with the highest possibility of success…. I am an inveterate cardigan wearer, so think one can never have too many. I was wondering when you were going to wear a Lettlopi sweater in Tennessee?

  9. I say go for it – convert it to a V-neck cardigan. In my opinion, one can never have too much of a color you love. And the cardigan will be perfect for the colder days in TN or since your office is cold, maybe it could be an office cardigan.

  10. You’re talking to someone who’s spirit colour since birth has been purple/lilac/mauve so I have a hard time computing a sentence that includes “I already have a purple cardigan” LOL. But I’m with the other steekers – do it! You’ll have created a whole new category of crafting: Slow/Improv/Refashioning Yay!

  11. Totally and completely unrelated to knitting: “… if it were vented.” You used the subjunctive tense! As a card-carrying member of the Grammar Nazis, I applaud your writing!

  12. I think it’s so cute. I’m more of a pullover person than a cardigan person so I would keep it as it is.

  13. Nice work, and great colour. I know you love neutrals (I do too), but it’s important to have some colour in your wardrobe. Especially in February. As for steeking, I have a tutorial at http://chezlizzie.blogspot.ca/2017/01/handle-with-care-anatomy-of-steeking.html which might be helpful. I teach classes on steeking and prefer the machine stitched (a la EZ) version over the crocheted method. I agree with the earlier comment that Lopi is a great yarn to do this in for the first time.

  14. Would love to hear from Karen or any others who have used Lettlopi what your honest opinion is. I just learned how inexpensive it is and it feels like my world has been opened up in terms of sweaters I could afford to make. However, when one hears “icelandic wool,” it is hard not to imagine that meaning “scratchy.” How does it feel? Do you need to layer underneath? We live in Virginia where it is decently cold in the winter, so the warmth factor would be great.

  15. Here’s a thought- a cardigan, by nature, needs something to go underneath it. It’s an extra equation in the math of daily dressing. Do you have layering clothes that go with this new potential cardigan? Or, does it seem to fit more easily in with your wardrobe as one solid piece?

    If kept whole, this sweater would be a great candidate for a dip-dye technique. The loose Lopi fiber will sop up the dye beautifully. (Indigo over this purple shade would be stunning and pair amazingly with jeans.) Now I want to dip dye something…. hmm.

    • I was thinking that overdyeing with indigo could be an answer, too, but to the “already have a purple cardigan” dilemma. It’s already a blue-based purple, so it could easily go more blue. Or you could just dip the lower half, and go ombre. And I’m also on board with the steek-to-cardi idea! But I’m biased. I run hot/cold/hot/cold all day, so I’m all about the cardigans.

  16. I can’t help you decide whether to make it a cardigan although I have lived in TN a good many years and there are times when a heavy wool sweater is the ONLY solution to comfort. But what I really want to encourage you to do with confidence is the machine stitching and cutting technique. When I was a newbie knitter-maybe 4 or 5 years-I launched into making a boy’s sweater from a pattern in McCall’s Needlework (I am really old) which called for steeking by machine stitching, cutting the armholes, then picking up stitches. I was too dumb to even be afraid of doing that but it turned out perfectly and I do it regularly when I need to steek because it works easily. Sorry to be so wordy …

  17. Why not crochet the edges first, then machine stitch if you want? That way you can see and change the lines if needed and it’ll be a little more forgiving in case you want to change up the neckline. I also love the dip dye suggestion- maybe even a black or charcoal so it blends with the rest of your wardrobe. Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

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  22. I was terrified of steeking until I read a piece by Kritin Nichols. She said she was a sewer first and then a knitter; steeking is like sewing a seam, just straight sewing. I practiced on a small piece first. It really was a easy as Kristin said. You can sew, you can steek. (I did three rows of very close stitching for each side before cutting.)

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