KTFO-2016.2 : Bob’s rollneck sweater

KTFO-2016.2 : Bob's rollneck

I can’t believe it’s the end of February and I’m just now posting my second FO of the year. There are three more things completed since #1; it’s just taking me a bit of time to get them written up! Anyway—

For a long, long time, as many of you will recall, Bob and debated what kind of sweater I should make him. His favorite sweater of all time is a charcoal grey rollneck from J.Crew from six or eight years ago — you know the one; it comes around every ten years or so. It fits him perfectly, looks amazing on him, but he almost never wears it because it’s heavyweight, very densely knitted, 100% wool. It’s super hot, and the weather is rarely cold enough (in either CA or TN) for him to wear it — which is a shame, because it’s so perfect. So in the end we decided to try to make the closest possible replica, but more wearable. The yarn is O-Wool Balance (in Emerald), which is as ideal for husbands as it is for babies: It’s an organic, machine-washable yarn (nothing at all like those superwash wools) that is 50% cotton and 50% wool. And it’s what I would consider light worsted weight. So this sweater is thinner and less hot than his beloved charcoal sweater, and it can go in the machine — which, I should note, it will need to do a little more often because cotton does tend to bag out a bit in the wearing.

The key difference between the green replica and the original is that greenie is raglan sleeved, whereas the J.Crew classic is saddle-shouldered. Knowing how picky Bob is about fit, I was determined to knit it top-down so I could put it on him and check it and get his buy-in at every step along the way. And while it’s possible to do a top-down saddle-shoulder, I’ve not done it before, and for this one I wanted to stay on known ground for the best chance of a solid outcome.

KTFO-2016.2 : Bob's rollneck

I’m giving myself a B- on note-taking on this one — there are a few details I failed to record in my notebook along the way — but for anyone who knows how to knit a top-down sweater and wants to recreate this, these top-line specifics should get you there.




5.25 sts and 7.25 rows = 1″, measured over 4″ in stockinette, knitted on US6 needles


44″ chest = 238 sts
14″ upper arm circumference = 74 sts (76 with selvage sts)
9″ cuff circumference = 48 sts (50 w/selvage)
27″ total length
2.5″ front neck drop
9″ yoke/armhole depth
19″ body length (3″ hem ribbing)
19″ sleeve length (3″ cuff ribbing)
3″ rollneck


– Wanted 6.5″ back neck measurement = 33 sts, plus 10 for each sleeve, 1 for each raglan and 1 each at the front neck

– Thus CO 59 sts, divided with markers as follows ( 1 | 1 | 10 | 1 | 33 | 1 | 10 | 1 | 1 )

– Planned on 16 sts cast on at each underarm

– Increased (kfb) on each side of the raglans and at front neck every other row, casting on front sts to match back count and joining in the round when back measured 2.5″ deep

– Before going too much further, knitted the neck — picked up sts exactly as if I were ribbing the neck band (didn’t record st count, sorry) and worked in stockinette for 3″, decreasing twice along the way, in line with each back neck/shoulder seam (total of 4 sts dec)

– Continued increasing sleeve sts until 58 each (+16 cast on for underarm = target of 74) and increasing front and back until 103 sts each (+16 = 119 each; front + back = target of 238) (counted raglan sts as body sts)

– At 9″ yoke depth, set aside sleeve sts, cast on the 16 at each underarm, marking the center stitch (side seam “basting stitch”), and joined body in the round; from this point worked the stitch at the side seam as a purl stitch to be mattress stitched later

– Can’t remember if I decreased at the side seams once or twice as I headed toward the hem, but I think just once; worked 1×1 ribbing for 3″ on US5 needles, I think (maybe 4s?)

– Opted to knit the sleeves flat (turning the work to knit back and forth) and seam them — picked up one extra stitch at each end of the armhole cast-on and those were my selvage stitches; decreased every 8th row until 50 sts (48 cuff sts plus 2 selvage); worked 1×1 ribbing for 3″

– Oh, and there is that one teensy mistake no one will ever see.

The sleeves have been seamed, obviously, but I haven’t mattress stitched the sides yet. I also am reserving the right to seam up that single stitch at each raglan if the sweater appears to be bagging out in the yoke at some future date!

We’re both really happy with the sweater — and you can see in the photo below how well I managed to match the original’s dimensions. In most ways, the fact that this sweater is lighter and thinner is a plus, but it’s proving to be not ideal for the rollneck. The fabric just doesn’t have enough body to resist the roll, and wants to roll all the way down pretty quickly rather than standing its ground a bit, so there may be a neck band alteration in its future. Other than that, four thumbs up!

KTFO-2016.2 : Bob's rollneck

PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Wool gauze pullover