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For me, January has always been the month when you can be confident that there will be snow on the ground, and the snow will be there the whole month. (all of February too) It is cold here! So, my January sweater is one that is suitable for wearing indoors. Shorter sleeves so they don’t get in my way when I am doing stuff, and a cozy but not too warm fingering weight merino.
Simple, casual, drop shoulders, right? Not really… a cleanly fit drop shouldered sweater is not a box with sleeves! To fit the body perfectly, you need some curves and slopes and angles. Oh, and if you want the loose body to hang smoothly, you might also need some short rows over the bust. But fear not, all the details are written into the pattern for you and it will be quite simple to knit up a sweater that fits as beautifully as a store-bought one or better.
January is the first of my 2015 collection of fine-gauge sweaters. I asked myself; what if I made a whole collection of sweaters, exactly as I would like them to look, and feel, without worrying about how long they take to make, or how complicated the pattern might be…? Here is the result. In truth, they are not excessively complex, nor incredibly difficult, but, these patterns are not recommended for beginners. They are made for those who are comfortable knitting already, and want to use what they already know to get an unusually flattering and wearable garment.
That said, if you are adventuresome, and enjoy a long knit, some confident beginners might like them as a starting point to learn new skills. Just be aware that the pattern will not include detailed tutorials for the skills and stitches used, you will need to use google and YouTube for “how-tos”.
You will need to be comfortable (or willing to learn before you come to the point in the pattern where you need to use it) working in the round and flat, knit and purl, slipping stitches, increasing and decreasing, picking up stitches, and grafting.
As much as I love my (bought, machine made) positive-ease sweaters, I hate that they never incorporate any bust shaping. If your bust is a C or smaller, this won’t be an issue, but for those with more curves, the larger your bust, the more the hemline of your sweater will swing out like a tent in the front and pull up over your tummy. Not flattering. Bust short rows can fix this problem, allowing the front of the sweater to fall straight and hang smoothly. The pattern includes directions for 1, 2, 3 or 4 inches of extra length in the front, in all sizes. Or they can be left out. The sweater shown has 2 inches worth of short rows.
Ladies, if you have tried on sweaters like this and hated how they swing off your bust, knitting is your only chance to try one that will fit well! If you wear plus sizes, I took care to fit the shoulders properly - these shoulders will drop the same amount no matter the size. No gorilla shoulders here ;)
The pattern includes (optional, not shown in photos) instructions for a variation with a curved hemline, so the back ends up two inches longer than the front.
The sweater is fitted at the hip, and has positive ease over the bust and waist. Sleeves have negative ease, but they are simple to adjust if needed.
Sizes are to fit busts 26-30 (30-34, 34-38, 38-42, 42-46, 46-50) inches, and you will need 4 (4, 4, 4, 5, 5) skeins or approximately 1,400 (1,500, 1,650, 1,750, 1,900, 2,000) yards
Size xs only, on page 5, under “decrease rows”: The list of numbers includes 3 out of order numbers that should not be there: “213, 217, 219,”. There should be a total of 17 decrease rows, all the ones listed, but not 213 and 219. (217 is listed twice, and is an increase row)