Baleen by Sylvia McFadden


September 2021
Worsted (9 wpi) ?
17 stitches and 27 rows = 4 inches
in knit flat in lace and blocked.
US 7 - 4.5 mm
to fit chests 30", 32", 34", 36", 38", 40", 42", 44", 46", 48", 50", 52", 54", 56", 58", 60", 62", 64", 66", 68", 70", 72" & 74" (Positive ease not included in these measurements)
Flag of English English
This pattern is available for C$10.00 CAD buy it now

- a full yardage chart as well as both suggested chest dimensions and finished garment dimensions can be found in the image section of Ravelry’s pattern page -

I designed Baleen in October 2017. Once I’d finished knitting up the first sample it was the most proud I’d ever been of my knitting ever. And the sweater came out as just the most beautiful thing I’ve ever designed.

But in the many years since then I’ve struggled to complete the pattern. I couldn’t figure out why. I struggled my way through every bit of learning to grade patterns, organize my thoughts enough to manage the workflow of it, organize testing or just anything. I couldn’t seem to do any of it properly or consistently enough to get it done.

Over the 4 years I’ve learned a lot about myself and my brain. The biggest thing being that I am wildly neurodivergent. With these discoveries came new ways of doing things. Ways that honoured my brain instead of punishing it. And eventually finding ways that actually worked for me, as who I am, without having to constantly struggle without language to explain what I’m experiencing.

I could not have gotten this pattern out there without Sarah Opie supporting me the whole journey from my scattered notes and half done attempts at grading to this beautiful edited and graded pattern.

So without further ado I’m SO honoured to present Baleen to you. My most favourite design that I’ve ever done.

Baleen is special in every way, knit from one sleeve (The Increase Sleeve) all the way over through the body to the other sleeve (The Decrease Sleeve) all in once piece. The lace is continuous throughout the pattern and the arrow lace continuously points in one direction (making the sweater sneakily asymmetric). Designed with an incredibly comfy amount of positive ease around the body with a snug few inches of negative ease around the arms (as well as the natural stretch of the lace). Since the sweater is knit side-to-side the stitch gauge is actually what contributes to the length of the garment, it’s also why the ribbing along the bottom of the sweater looks so strikingly similar to a whale’s baleen.

So far this sweater has looked good on everyone who has tried it on. It’s easy to wear over a dress, or with jeans or shorts or a skirt. It’s elegant in any yarn (the two samples featured were wildly different yarns and it looked amazing in both of them). During testing folks used self striping yarn, and because the construction it created really lovely vertical stripes! I can’t speak highly enough of this sweater! I imagine myself knitting Baleen sweaters into my elder years. A staple for my wardrobe for the rest of my life.

As for all my for-pay patterns! If you find yourself low on funds please don’t hesitate to email and I’d be happy to gift you a copy of the pattern. Just include your ravelry username and the pattern you’re eyeing in the email. No questions asked! <3

The smaller cream coloured sample was knit with
Hinterland Range in colourway “Honey”.

The larger black sample was knit with a worsted
weight cotton yarn I had in my stash.

4.5mm* (US 7) circular needles in at least a 40”
(100cm) cord. Or whatever size needles it takes
you to get gauge.
(US 7) circular needles in either
DPNs or circular needles for working a small
circumferance (sleeves) Or whatever size
needles it takes you to get gauge.

2 stitch markers.
Darning needle for sewing up sides of sweater.

17 stitches and 27 rows = 4” (10cm) square knit
flat in lace pattern and blocked.

To fit chest circumferences (in inches) 30”, 32”,
34”, 36”, 38”, 40”, 42”, 44”, 46”, 48”, 50”, 52”, 54”,
56”, 58”, 60”, 62”, 64”, 66”, 68”, 70”, 72” & 74”.

To fit chest circumferences (in centemeters)
76cm, 81cm, 86cm, 91cm, 96cm, 101cm, 106cm,
112cm, 117cm, 122cm, 127cm, 132cm, 137cm, 142cm,
147cm, 152cm, 157cm & 163cm

These measurements do not include the sweater’s
positive ease.

On Choosing a Size:
There are two important measurements for this
sweater: the upper arm circumference and the
chest circumference.

Upper Arm Circumference: the design is for
negative ease at the upper arm, however, if
this is not your intended fit, you may wish to
select a size based on your desired upper arm

Chest Circumference: the design is inteded to
fit with 20 inches of postitive ease. For example
the size 13 is for a person with a 53 inch chest
circumference and the finished garment will
measure a 74 inch chest circumference. If you
prefer greater or less postivie ease, you may wish
to choose based on the finished measurements
(at the end of the document).

K - Knit (K2 = Knit 2 stitches)
P - Purl (P2 = Purl 2 stitches)
KTBL - Knit Through Back Loop of stitch
PTBL - Purl Through Back Loop of stitch
M1R - Make 1 Right-leaning
M1L - Make 1 Left-leaning
S1K2P - Slip 1 stitch, Knit 2 stitches together,
Pass slipped stitch over.
YO - Yarn Over
WS - Wrong Side
RS - Right Side
sts - Stitches
PM - Place Marker
SM - Slip Marker
Work stitches as established:
This means knitting the knits and purling the
purls. If the knits and purls you’re about to work
are twisted, knit or purl them through the back
loop to twist them.