The sweater is knit with the Cocoknits method, a unique technique for working a sweater seamlessly from the top-down, and I’m curious to finally learn it! I think I’ll make it as a turne neck …. it gives the shape a bit more substance.
I’ve done my swatching and tried 3 different yarns:
I tried 7mm/US10.75 needles and 6.5mm/US10.5 needles, and got the best gauge by combining Drops Air & Drops Kid-Silk on 6.5mm/US10.5 needles.
In the video I also flip through the pattern … it’s very professional and comprehensive, I’m looking forward to it and I know we will be in good hands!
The ring I’m wearing in the video is from Kormar Jewellery. I bought it at the Toronto Outdoor Art Show and LURV it! It’s 3D-printed silver and doesn’t get caught on my yarn when I knit or crochet (an essential quality in my jewellery).
Mabel is a loose-fitting, comfortable pullover that fits the bill. She is also infinitely adaptable … try knitting the neck ribbing into a cowl or extra long fold-over turtleneck. Add cables, split the hem, knit it knee length, add stripes … the sky’s the limit. It is written in 10 sizes from 36 to 72” bust, so you have options for fit, as well!
This sweater is worked using the Cocoknits Method, a commonsense system for knitting seamless, tailored sweaters from the top down. The Cocoknits Method is explained in detail in Cocoknits Sweater Workshop by Julie Weisenberger.
Our fall Drops stock has FINALLY dropped! An unfortunate victim of COVID supply chain fatigue, our order was expected in August, then October, but got stuck in all kinds of international shipping snafus. Regardless, it’s here now and we are GRATEFUL for the bounty! There are bunch new colours in Drops Air and Drops Kid-Silk (including those marvellously neutral blush pinks and beiges). We also received some much sought after and back-ordered CHRISTMAS COLOURS in Drops Nepal.
Drops Air is a deliciously soft and airy yarn. It knits up beautifully into hats, scarves, cowls, sweaters, blankets, toys – you name it! It is a ‘blown’ yarn, which means it has a core (polyamide) that is a knitting tube, and then the fibre is literally blown into it, creating a light, fluffy, fuzzy haze of alpaca floating around it. It knits up easily, and you can even knit with 2 strands held together to bulk it up to a bulky weight (try a 6.5mm/US10.5). the yardage is also generous, coming in at 150m for a 50g ball. One of the extra bonuses with this yarn is that it’s been used a zillion times on Ravelry, so there’s lots of pattern inspiration out there and you know that its not going to let you down.
Drops Kid-Silk is a luxurious, feather-light brushed mix of super kid mohair and mulberry silk. It gives garments a sophisticated look, whether used alone or held together with other yarns (see projects by PetiteKnit).
Drops Nepal is a great staple yarn made with superfine alpaca and Peruvian highland wool. Both fibers are untreated, which means that they are only washed and not exposed to any chemical treatment prior to the dyeing. This highlights the fibers’ natural properties, making it a lofty, bouncy yarn that’s great for garments. It’s hand-washable and felts beautifully. Drops Nepal is great for sweaters, hats, scarves, mitts, blankets – you name it. It also comes in 50g balls, making it an amazing choice for fair-isle projects.
The sweaters above are different iterations of Riddari, a pattern from Istex Lopi that works up beautifully in Drops Nepal. (If can’t tolerate the itch but love the look of Icelandic knits try substituting Drops Air – it won’t be as dense or itchy as a proper wool sweater, but on the upside, it’ll be light as air and soft as a baby’s butt.)
Drops Wish is a dreamy, super bulky weight, blown yarn made from baby alpaca blown into a core of merino wool and pima cotton. Wish is cosy, light, airy, soft, fluffy and absolutely itch-free. Wish is a great choice for sweaters, accessories (hats, wraps, scarves, cowls, shawls, etc), blankets – you name it. To make for a REALLY thick knit, you can hold 2 strands of this yarn together and use 15mm/US19 needles.
The sweater pattern above is Harvest Queen, a free pattern from Drops that works up beautifully in either Drops Wish or Drops Air (holding 2 strands together). We made one and it worked up beautifully (blog post forthcoming).
Drops Melody is a super soft, super delicious alternative to Mohair it looks like mohair, but it has NONE of the itch! It’s super soft, light and airy. Drops Melody is a great choice for oversize garments and accessories, although it would also make a stunning and very cozy blanket. It knits up quickly on big needles without the piece becoming heavy and it can be held together with another yarn to create a fuzzy effect, or to give garments extra volume and softness.
The sweater pattern above is Caja, a free pattern from Ravelry. It knits up with 1 strand of Melody and one of a fingering weight yarn – like Cascade Heritage.
Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk is a luxurious alpaca and silk yarn that looks like beautiful (but itchy) kid mohair but feels like super soft alpaca. It’s light and fluffy, with plenty of halo. You can work with it as a single strand or hold two or three strands together to bulk it up for larger needles. It is very affordably priced and makes a great substitute for other kid mohair yarns.
Drops Andes is a soft, chunky blend of superfine alpaca and Peruvian Highland wool. The mixture brings out the alpaca silky surface, while the wool gives the yarn better shape and stability. It’s super easy to work with and works up quickly on large needles. It’s also great for felting and is ideal for felted slippers, mitts and bags. Andes is also ideal for beginner knitters, two balls are all you need to make a scarf!
The yarn fibres are untreated, which means that it is only washed and not exposed to any chemical treatment prior to dying. This highlights the fibre’s natural properties, while it also provides a better shape and texture quality.
It’s chilly outside today, which means it is time for me to start reminding about knitting for the holidays. You’ve got about 2 months until Christmas, Kwanzaa and Yule, if you’re Eastern Orthodox you get an extra few weeks, but Hannukah is REALLY early this year (Nov 28th!). I’ll try to keep throwing in the interesting stuff, abut the project suggestions are shifting into small achievable goals. Let the parade of giftable projects roll!
For a few years clients have been telling me they LOVE the soft, airy look and texture of blown yarns like Drops Air, but does it come in something more colourful? Well, this fall one of our distributors introduced something just of the sort, so if you like Drops Air, then Estelle Colour Flow is for you!
Estelle Colour Flow is a super-soft yarn with lots of fun! It’s made with merino wool that is literally blown into a nylon core, making it super light and airy, like knitting with a cloud (without the precipitation). The colour changes all by itself, making it an entertaining and pretty knit. It’s a bulky weight, so it will knit up reasonably quickly on 6mm/US10 needles. Colour Flow is knits really well with other fuzzy yarns (see below for more on this). NOTE: this yarn is feltable, so it must be hand washed.
It gets a bit busy around here in the fall (which is awesome, no complaints), so here’s a pic of our first solo project, a Mobius Cowl. Scarves, cowls and wraps knit LENGTHWISE will look amazing with this yarn, the colour gradation in the yarn will do all the work! The pattern is an oldie – you can’t beat a classic.
Use 6mm/US10 needles (36″ or longer)
Cast on 174 sts
Reduce each garter section by 1 round for each group (5 rounds becomes 4, 6 rounds becomes 5)
If you are a new knitter and can’t deal with the mobius cast-on, just use a regular cast on and make it without the twist.
Yarn combining has become a ‘thing’, and I’m glad it has, because it makes textiles that much more fun and interesting! I’ve embarked on a little experimentation, and found that Estelle Colour Flow works up beautifully held with other fluffy yarns:
I can’t say I’m in love with the colour combo I chose above (it works, but I find it a little depressing, the brown is sort of stealing the colour’s ‘life’), but I’d like to give it another shot holding the Colour Flow with a light grey, light beige or cream coloured yarn. I’ll try the fun skein below (colour 42204 Pinata) – it became unruly so I threw it on the winder and yowza it looks purty!
I tried getting Gru into the game, but he was having none of it (and I was out of treats). This is what birds look like right before they take-off.
Drops Wish is a dreamy, super bulky weight, blown yarn made from baby alpaca blown into a core of merino wool and pima cotton. Wish is cosy, light, airy, soft, fluffy and absolutely itch-free. Wish is a great choice for sweaters, accessories (hats, wraps, scarves, cowls, shawls, etc), blankets – you name it. To make for a REALLY thick knit, you can hold 2 strands of this yarn together and use 15mm/US19 needles. We also love that Wish is made in the first world, and made exclusively with natural, biodegradable fibres (no synthetics).
If you do not already have the needles for this project we recommend buying interchangeable needles. They are very versatile for top-down sweaters and have more longevity for future projects (if you need a longer or shorter needle you can purchase an inexpensive new cord, rather than an entire needle. If you are buying individual tips and cords, that Knitter’s Pride are the most affordable option. If you are thinking about investing in a set, the Chiaogoo Twist Red Lace 4″ Tips: 2.75mm – 10mm have the best range and versatility for an assortment of projects.
I don’t love the way Drops formats their pattern, I find it makes them harder to follow. If you find you have the same issue consider copying the text into a free, cloud based text editing program like Google Docs and cleaning up the formatting to your liking – I find it’s worth the time to separate the sections. If you have a more pronounced learning disability you may even want to put it into a spreadsheet program like Google Sheets to break it down into line-by-line instructions – you can even make it into a chart and tick off your work as you go.
Harvest Queenis a cozy, oversized pullover that’s knit in one piece from the top-down. It features a yoke construction with pretty cable and lace detail. It’s knit on 9mm needles, so it works up fast! The yarns recommend are blownyarns, making it a lighter, airier textile than expected. Video and written tutorials are provided at the bottom of the free pattern (they even have a place you can ask them questions about the pattern, and the pattern is available in 15 languages).
XS(S, M, L, XL, XXL)
Bust circumference: 36.75(40.75, 43.25, 47.25, 51.25, 56) inches or 92(102, 108, 118, 128, 140) cm
Shout for Winteris a cozy, oversized cardigan that’s knit in one piece from the top-down. It features raglans sleeves with a pretty mock English rib detail. It’s knit on 9mm needles, so it works up fast! The yarns recommend are blownyarns, making it a lighter, airier textile than expected. Video and written tutorials are provided at the bottom of the free pattern (they even have a place you can ask them questions about the pattern, and the pattern is available in 15 languages).
S(M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL)
Bust circumference: 40(43.25, 46.5, 51.25, 56, 60.75)inches or 100(108, 116, 128, 140, 152) cm
Just Rightis a cozy, oversized pullover that’s knit in one piece from the top-down. It features raglans sleeves with a pretty cable detail and puffed sleeves. It’s knit on 9mm needles, so it works up fast! The yarns recommend are blownyarns, making it a lighter, airier textile than expected. Video and written tutorials are provided at the bottom of the free pattern (they even have a place you can ask them questions about the pattern, and the pattern is available in 15 languages).
S(M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL)
Bust circumference: 40(41.5, 44.75, 49.75, 54.5, 59.25)inches or 100(104, 112, 124, 136, 148) cm
One of the cool things that have come out of COVID is that there are a lot of new and inexperienced knitters out there, so I’ve been on the lookout for patterns and projects that you guys can do at home without the support of an in-person class. I think Four Scoreis a great sweater project for newbies or just people whose skill threshold isn’t advanced, but they want to try and do something more.
The sweater is worked flat in four pieces, on two straight needles (or circular if you prefer) and sewn up later using mattress stitch. The back and front are the same. A generous 4×4 rib pattern makes this a stretchy, flattering sweater with a bit of cling. It is designed to be worn with 3-6” of ease.
The yarn, Drops Air, is also super accessible. It’s super soft, light as air (hence the name), fluffy (which can be both cozy *and* forgiving), and affordable. I think this project is one you’ll love making as well as snuggling into. It’s a good thing many people are working from home, because when people see your new sweater they are going to ask you to make them one!
The skills and techniques used in this project are not complicated! The most advanced skill is seaming. Don’t let seaming scare you, it isn’t complicated, you just have to do it to practice it. The yarn that this project is made with is a great canvas to learn on – you don’t have to be perfect, the fuzzy aura will obscure so many sins.
ssk (slip, slip, knit – an easy type of decrease)
knit 2 together (a very easy type of decrease)
purl 2 together (a very easy type of decrease)
bind off in rib (knit the knit stitches, purl the purl stitches)
seaming with mattress stitch
If you’re looking for help on the interweb I always recommend the following two resources to new knitters:
I have fallen seriously behind in my COVID knitting … you know how it goes, make plans and universe laughs. I pulled some sexy yarn from my ‘stash’ and have been working on Love Note. I know fuzzy isn’t really spring but hey, my pandemic, my rules. My sweater is not the pink one, that belongs to the pattern designer, mine is the dark one in progress below.
I finished the body last night and tried it on and it looked amazing! I’m feeling motivated to finish the arms and wear it – it feels light as air, it should be great over a cami. The lace looks really pretty, I’m not really a lace person, but it isn’t too much, and it’s in the right place. There is a sort of high front/lower back thing going on, if you aren’t into it you can skip it, although I would put in at least half of the short rows to even out the front & back. The pattern has both a cropped and full length version, I’m making the adult size XS in the full length (see below for interesting things about size), I added a 1/2 inch, and it’s still on the short side style-wise. I highly advise trying on your sweater before starting the short rows. BTW, the lace is fairly simple, and the pattern comes with both a chart and the written instructions.
The pattern uses a thin mohair held with a fingering weight yarn, but I’m not really up for mohair (itchy), so I have subbed a ‘blown yarn’ with baby alpaca. Blown means it has a knitted core and the alpaca is literally blown into it with a machine. It makes an extremely light, airy yarn that has some depth to it. I’m using Illimani Amelie, but you can also use the very similar and quite affordable Drops Air(or if you want I’ll special order you some Amelie, it’s super yummy scrummy sexy (I don’t have any in store right now, it costs $24/skein).
The pattern is EXTREMELY size inclusive, it runs from a baby 0-6 months up to an adult 5XL (72″ bust). I’m thinking matching mommy/baby sweaters? Sibling sweaters? Cousin sweaters? BFF sweaters? The opportunities are endless. The baby and child sizes are an ideal opportunity to use Drops Air – my mom always said you can put a baby in anything, that they can’t complain, but I beg to differ – they seem to be adept at wailing their adorable little heads off for as long as they feel uncomfortable.
Sorry we haven’t connected in a while, I’ve been working hard and am healthy and happy. You know how it is, this experience is wearing on the most resilient of us – going eyeball to eyeball with fear and vulnerability is challenging. Anyway, I haven’t been feeling myself lately, but I think that’s ok, I’m growing into something new, so I’m just sort of letting myself marinate. I saw my niece and nephew for the first time since before march break and found they have grown … they used to fight like cats & dogs and now they’re BFFs (it only took a month and a half of being locked in together). They got bigger too, but that’s a given.. they’re kids. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to (should you be interested):
Reading:The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle (audiobook) … I just started this on Sunday and it’s the kind of book that you’re going to read over and over as you grow. I think it’s also the kind of book that you don’t read until you’re ready for it. I wouldn’t say the material is over my head, but I’ve got some work ahead of me.
Listening: Tara Brach podcast …. I’ve wandered from her excellent weekly pandemic support content and have crawled into the back-catalogue from B.C. (ie. before covid). The episodes on Radical Compassion from December 2019 are excellent, this morning I was listening to Desire and Addiction from March 2020.
Discussing: The Zombie Apocalypse … apparently I’m not on my beau’s Zombie Apocalypse ‘team’ and he’s throwing me under the bus. On the upside, he says the team will eat me. I don’t really blame him, I can’t run and I bruise easily. Anyway, I don’t really want to be around for the Zombie Apocalypse anyway, it sounds stressy and low on crafts. Other topics of interest include washing our winter coats … is there anything better than sucking the air out of the storage bag containing your winter coats? That’s a feeling worth savouring!
Cooking: Instant Pot Chicken Adobo. Yummy, simple and easy! Serve with Rice and a veggie. Freeze in batches for quick prep later.
Working On: Making vulnerability my BFF … according to researcher Brené Brown in Daring Greatly: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
With the holidays coming up I’m going to try to focus on smaller projects that make great gifts (hats, cowls, scarves, slippers, sockies, mitts, leg-warmers, etc). What are you making for the holidays this year? I received a reprieve this year, only one hand knit required, so I’m developing my self-love and making myself some new leg-warmers and a new sweater made with the new Fibre Co. Cumbria. I’m looking forward to sharing that project with you, the results so far are great – I’ve gone off-book and am trying a new experiential experiment with it, fingers crossed!
I was originally thinking of using a sightly heavier yarn for this, some Cascade Eco+ Merino that was leftover from our Felix Pullover, but I kind of wanted to experiment and see what the hat would be like with Drops Air, a lighter, airier yarn. I think it made for a really nice fall hat or something for people who have a lot of hair. Now that I’m sitting down and giving it another thought, I’m having a “what were you thinking?!” moment and realize that it would look sensational made with the Malabrigo Mecha (smack forehead). Thankfully, there’s always another hat on the horizon! It would be interesting to make the same hat over & over in different yarns and see how they turn out …. maybe that will happen some day, when I’m no longer a person with a DaVinci-esque attention span (he was notorious for not finishing his work, once DaVinci solved a puzzle he lost interest and moved on).
If you mke a pompom for this hat, don’t kill yourself making it dense. I did, I got all perfectionisty and packed it tightly, which made it look smooth and dense. Unfortuantely, this made it smooth and dense. This hat looks great with a “hand-made” looking pompom, and light and airy is definitely better. If you like a tight pompom, go for a smaller size pompom maker, like the yellow one from clover.
Design Hack: Want a quick pick-me-up for a dull hat? Add a fur pom-pom or a hand made pompom in a contrasting colour!
Another experiment with Drops Air, Antler turned out super light and cozy. Like, super-duper light and cozy. I just tried it on, and it’s so cozy that I’d kinda like to crawl into a matching onesie made with the same yarn … that would be quite a sight, quite possibly the ultimate in ‘cocooning’ (something to think about for halloween next year). I’ve completely lost my train of thought … that’s how cozy it feels!!! Oh yeah, wear it with your Infinitude cowl, you’ll never want to take your outerwear off.
We made the brim of our hat short so it can be worn like a slouch, but it was designed with more ribbing and you can take it either way, depending on what looks nice on you.
I really love how this project came out! It’s soft, airy, light, cozy, and with the pattern being free and the yarn only costing $20, it’s a pretty cost effective knit too! If you’re starting to think about holiday gift to knit, this is a great go-to project.
The pattern is called a scarf, but I don’t know why because it’s actually a cowl. We made the smaller size and in the yarn we used (Drops Air) it can be worn either once or twice around the neck. I also found that the “twice around” brings the ‘full goldilocks’ – it isn’t too big or too small, it’s just right (in my mind, that means it doesn’t gape, letting cold air in). If your finished project looks small just wet-block it, mine stretched from 20″ x 10″ to 24″ x 9″.
The pattern, Infinitude Scarf, is a simple little thing that combines knits and purls in the easiest way. The skills are pretty simple: casting on, working in the round, using a knit & purl stitch in the same row, and binding off. We made the smaller size, but had extra yarn so just kept going in the welt pattern by adding an extra 3 pattern repeats (so we did “Knit 4 rnds, purl 4 rnds” a total of 6 times).
We used two skeins of Drops Air, a new yarn for us this year. It’s a super light and airy alpaca that knits easily and looks great! It’s a ‘blown’ yarn, which means it consists of a loosely knit chain core made of polyamide and then the Alpaca is literally blown into and through this core, coating it in a delightful halo of the softest alpaca. The result is an extra depth of colour because you can see a bit of the core through the translucent outer layer. Drops Air comes in both heathered and solid colours, but I think the heathers are extra pretty, with that extra dimension of colour added. Did I mention that it’s also super soft? Yeah, it’s crazy soft, it totally passes the neck test. Drops Air comes in a bunch of colours, made in Peru and the European Union, and it only costs $9.97 a skein.