If someone were to ask me what I’d knit if I could only knit one kind of project for the rest of my days, I’d say ‘sweaters!’ I love the scale of them – you really dig in and spend some time there, much like the big fat historical novels I like to read. And then you get to wear them out in the big, wide world, really representing this crazy wonderful craft of knitting.
And when a designer with a wicked fashion sense goes about making a system to create sweaters that are seamless, cleverly constructed and (be still my heart) top-down, there’s a lot to celebrate.
Julie Weisenberger of Cocoknits has done just that with her new Cocoknits Sweater Workshop, a book that’s chockablock with great techniques as well as many wearable silhouettes. The five sweater designs in there have options for different necklines, lengths, and so on – making eight distinct variations available for your knitting and wearing pleasure! Julie also adds a section on on styling and what sweater elements do visually to balance (or imbalance) body shapes, so you don’t spend time knitting one up and then get disappointed with how it looks on your particular body type. There’s so much in here, for newbie and advanced knitters alike!
The Cocoknits method begins with the back neck, then picks up for front shoulder tabs, and then works sleeves and fronts and back down together, to create one of the most painless set-in-sleeve knitting experiences you’re bound to encounter. I love how it packs all the interesting little fiddly bits into the beginning of a project, when you’re most likely to be super-engaged with it … and then at the end, you can just cruise down along the sleeves and body so that before you know it, you’ve bound off, woven in your ends and ready to wear your new sweater!
I spent a bunch of time this morning on the Blue Moon site, prowling for yarns suitable for each of the designs – I’m having a hard time limiting myself to the (first) two SQs I’ll need to knit pieces from this book in Tina’s yarns … oh, the possibilities!
(All images here courtesy of Cocoknits. Stunning photography and styling you can really imagine in your wardrobe – thanks, Julie!)
Let’s break it down, style by style.
EMMA version A (v-neck and long sleeves, shorter body). Julie’s got this one knitted up in a bulky-weight wool. With its open V-neck, it’s not bound to get too warm for everyday wear. Plus, all that skin at the neckline is great for balancing out larger busts. (Keeping the body length shorter up above the hips also means it can be good for those with more visual weight through the bottom – Julie’s tip would be to style it with darker pants to minimize your bottom half.)
Emma’s knitted gauge is 12 stitches and 18 rows = 4″/10cm, which means it would be an ideal candidate for Targhee Bulky. The loft and bounce in this yarn is phenomenal, as is the smooth stitch definition. You could slip into this for an entire Saturday of errands and movies and couch knitting and never want to take it off …! (Golly, that brick red with maybe some brown or charcoal wool trousers? Instant panache.)
EMMA version C (C is for Cardigan!) looks like another daily driver – those deep cuffs at the wrist and pockets! Throw this on over a me-made tank top and you’re ready for knitting night at your LYS or a Netflix marathon of “The Crown”.
The other bonus: Targhee Bulky skeins boast a whopping 462 yards, so you’ll only need 2 or 3 skeins to make any of these versions, depending upon which size you choose. And since they’re top-down, you decide when to stop at the best length for your body type! The largest size might end up using up every little bit of that third skein, so commit to knitting up the body first so it can be just the right length, and divide up your remaining yarn by gram weight into two equal halves – one for each sleeve. Then you can knit up every single inch of your lovely Targhee Bulky!
I’m dreaming of one in Chana Masala. I know, right?
TALLULAH is an ingenious sleeveless garter-stitch cocoony cardigan thingy that I’m totally obsessed with now. The drop-shoulder silhouette means it balances out a larger bottom half well, and the fact that it’s split up the front, cardigan-style gives a great visual line up the body. This one should be flattering on so many of us – and with no sleeves, it should provide just enough warmth over dresses or blouses. You could totally rock this one in the office if you wanted to. Targhee Bulky is our hero here as well – can you imagine how classy this would look in Black Onyx?
The book should be arriving at your LYSs soon, but if you just can’t wait another second, you can order the book directly from Cocoknits now.
I’ll be back next time with the rest of the silhouettes and some ideas for yummy Blue Moon yarns for them. Right now I gotta go – my cart is calling me!