Whakairo Top by Francoise Danoy

Whakairo Top

October 2019
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
24 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches
in Garter Ridge Stitch
US 5 - 3.75 mm
800 - 1765 yards (732 - 1614 m)
Bust Sizes: 32 (34, 38, 42, 46, 50, 54, 58, 62) in. / 80 (85, 95, 105, 115, 125, 135, 145, 155) cm
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This pattern is available for $12.00 USD buy it now

Pay What Works: In an effort to find a balance between more financial accessibility and sustainable pricing, I now offer a “Pay What Works” model. This allows for financial flexibility while still valuing and respecting the work and energy I and others provide in the making of this pattern. The price shown on Ravelry is the “true” value of the pattern that best reflects the work put into creating this design.

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Earlier this year I released the Whakairo cowl, a design I created to honor and celebrate the respected art of Māori wood carving. Whakairo really resonated with me because while it is a work of art, the carvings also tell a story.

Whakairo requires patience and diligence and is a skill that many Māori continue to hone to both honour their heritage and carry the stories and lessons embedded in the carving forward.

Knitting, like whakairo, requires patience and diligence. I use knitting, specifically knitwear design, to honour my heritage and carry the stories, values, and lessons of my people forward. I wanted to create a piece to pay tribute to this art form, which I was able to recreate the feel through the usage of twisted stitches and cables for a fabric rich in texture.

The Whakairo top is the sibling pattern to the Whakairo cowl. I loved working with the rich textured stitch pattern (originally created by Hitomi Shida) so much, I wanted to explore it again in another form.

This top is worked bottom-up, in the round until the armhole separation, where each side is worked flat. The drop shoulder, boxy type fit with minimal shaping only at the armholes, makes it really easy to make adjustments as you please.


  • Fingering/4-ply.
  • Red Sock Blue Sock Cashmerino Sock (70% Superwash Merino, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon; 400 yds./365 m, 115 g).
  • See photos for yardages


  • US 5/3.75 mm size and US 6/4 mm or size needed to obtain gauge, 32 in./ circular needle, and double-pointed needles or magic loop needle for sleeves.


  • 5 stitch markers total, 1 unique for marking BOR
  • Scrap yarn, stitch holders or extra circular needles
  • Darning/tapestry needle


  • 9 sizes with measurements to fit in both inches and cm.
  • Bust Sizes: 32 (34, 38, 42, 46, 50, 54, 58, 62) in. / 80 (85, 95, 105, 115, 125, 135, 145, 155) cm
  • Finished Garment Bust Measurements: 36 (38, 41, 46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66) in. / 90 (95, 103, 115, 125, 135, 145, 155, 165) cm
  • 4 in./10 cm of positive ease, with a boxy fit.
  • Reference to schematic on last page


This pattern has been tech edited and test knit to ensure that the pattern is as clear, complete and concise as it can be. Errors can still slip through or if you have a question, please send pattern support inquires to fdanoy@arohaknits.com. We can only respond to pattern support requests by EMAIL ONLY.

A big thank you to all parties involved to make this pattern the best it can be!

Note: in the photos I am wearing a kirituhi stencil. Kirituhi was initially developed so that non-Māori could get “Māori-inspired” tattoos. For Māori, they are used for kapa haka performances and for wāhine to feel empowered—I use it as a forward expression of my cultural heritage without violating the specific mana and tikanga of tā moko. The mana of kirituhi is safe to wear as it is purposefully made to be a “generic” design.

Māori — Native people of New Zealand

Kirituhi — A Māori-inspired tattoo or marking

Kapa haka — Dance performance

Wāhine — Woman

Mana — Authority

Tā moko — A traditional permanent marking of the body and face