Recipe for an almost perfect pullover

karen templer's almost perfect pullover pattern

Oh hey, look at me, standing in the unscenic courtyard outside my studio on a dreary morning, all cozy and warm in my new favorite sweater. I feel like this one has been finished forever, but since I’d gone on about it here and elsewhere, I wanted to show you how it turned out. Pretty cozy, yeah? It grew a bit in blocking (and wearing), so the yoke and armhole depth are a bit longer than I’d intended. So that’s lesson number one for today: This is why we wash our swatches!

You may recall that Agnes was my original starting point for this one. I wound up ripping it back to the neck ribbing and reworking the whole yoke, and in the end (other than the commonalities of all top-down, raglan pullovers) there’s not a single stitch that lines up with Melissa LaBarre’s perfectly lovely pattern — it just wasn’t quite what I was wanting. Lesson two is that I should have ripped out the whole neck and done proper neck shaping, picking up stitches for the ribbing. As Julie Hoover would have warned me, there’s not really enough structural engineering here for the weight of the sweater. The neck will be stretching out every minute I wear this.

Lesson learned, and thus the sweater’s official name: The Almost Perfect Pullover. There are more pics at Ravelry (and my undying affection to anyone who favorites this over there). And the recipe is below. I haven’t written this out in pattern form, but these notes should suffice for anyone familiar with top-down. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

(Oh, and that hat I have on is the bulky cabled hat from this week’s Knit the Look — pics and details for mine right here.)

karen templer's almost perfect pullover pattern details

Here’s what I did, to the best of my ability to reconstruct it from my notes:

– Malabrigo Chunky in Natural, 600-ish grams (6 skeins plus about a yard, oy); gauge is 3 sts and 4.5 rows per inch

– CO 60 stitches on US11 needle; ribbed 2×2 for 2 inches; increased evenly to 74 stitches on following round (via pfb).

– Marked off for raglans as follows: 2 stitches per raglan seam, 23 stitches each for front and back, 10 stitches per sleeve ( 2 | 10 | 2 | 23 | 2 | 10 | 2 | 23 )

– Worked increases as a kfb on either side of the 2 raglan stitches. Aiming for an eventual 40 sleeve stitches (x2), 57 body stitches (x2), and an armhole depth of about 11.5 inches, I increased at all eight increase points on round two, then again on every 3rd round through round 36; on 37 and 38 I increased the body sections only. (For more on my raglan decision-making, see A tale of two raglans.)

– Worked the arms first: CO 4 stitches for each underarm; marked center of underarm. Increased 2 stitches on the 8th round (I know, weird). Decreased (k2tog/ssk pairs) at 6 inches and on the 8th, 14th, 18th and 22nd rows thereafter (i.e., counting from the 6-inch mark). At row 26, switching to US10.5 DPNs, decreased evenly (p2tog) to 28 sts. Continuing with US10.5 needles, ribbed 2×2 for 5.5 inches, BO in pattern.

– Body now 114 stitches. On first round, adjusted markers to mark off the two stitches at the center of each underarm. For a tiny bit of interest, I purled those two stitches on every round and twisted the stitch (ktbl) on either side of them. Worked in that fashion for 10 inches, then divided the stitches evenly into front and back.

– For the split hem, and a nice substantial edge up until the ribbing, worked in stockinette with I-cord edging at each end for 1 inch. Adjusting stitch count to 58 stitches (so there would be a pair of knit stitches at each end), switched to 2×2 ribbing for 2 inches. BO in pattern. Repeated for the other side.

– Wove in ends; wet blocked.

Again, for more (and more descriptive) photos, see Ravelry. Thanks to Leigh for snapping the pics.