Knitty: little purls of wisdom


My interest in knitting has been kept alive over the years by the almost infinite variety of color, pattern, and texture that is found in collections of knitters and museums around the world. Although I love the smooth, quiet repetition of knitting a rectangular scarf in garter stitch using a luxurious yarn, it is the endless diversity of technique and style that keeps me interested in knitting as more than a way to keep my hands busy while watching TV.

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
--from The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

spacer title
beauty shot

spacerby Donna Druchunas


This sweater is inspired by one I bought at a shop in Vilnius, Lithuania. Every time I wear it, I'm asked, "Did you knit that?" and I have to answer, "No." Now I've finally made one! And I'm planning to make at least one or two more with different lace motifs. This is my favorite style top to wear for travel and teaching. It works over a sleeveless dress, over jeans and a tank top, or over black pants and a turtleneck.

I've designed this to be a very loose garment, with 4-6 inches of positive ease. The upper body should not be snug and the lower body should flow and drape around your hips.

If you've never knit with linen before, I suggest using very slippery needles and not trying to pull the stitches tight. I used a US size 6 needle on this sweater where I may have used a size 7 or 8 needle with wool yarn to get the same gauge. I found that knitting looser on slippery needles makes knitting with linen much more enjoyable and less stressful on my hands.

spacer model: Donna Druchunas
spacer photos: Dominic Cotignola

For women's garments: XS[S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X]
shown in size L

Chest: 32[36, 40, 45, 49, 54, 58] inches
Length: 16.5[17, 18.5, 20, 21.5, 23, 24.5] inches



spacer Claudia Handpainted Yarn Drama[100% linen; 270/247m per 100g skein]; color: Poppy; 3[3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5] skeins

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer US #6/4mm circular needles, 29- to 40-inch. Two needles required.
spacer extra needle 2 sizes larger for 3-needle BO

spacer stitch markers
spacer yarn needle

14.5 sts/32 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch, as knit
14.5 sts/28 rows = 4" in Stockinette and Lace Stripe patt, as knit

Note: This fabric is very stretchy and will increase in length when washed & blocked. When measuring length as knitting, smooth out fabric or measure hanging to adjust for added length after blocking.

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]

This sweater is made from the top down in one piece and worked back and forth. The back is worked first, then the front is picked up at the shoulders with stitches cast on in the center for the boat neck. Both pieces are the same except for the cast on. Short-row shaping is used at the underarms, then the sleeve and underarm stitches are put on hold. Increases are worked to create the points at the hem. When the knitting is complete, the held stitches are returned to needles, stitches are picked up along the sides of the bottom and the side seams are joined with 3-needle bind off.

I-cord Selvage (worked on sleeves)
RS rows: K3, work in patt to last 3 sts, sl3 purlwise wyib.
WS rows: P3, work in patt to last 3 sts, sl3 purlwise wyif.

Slip Stitch Selvage (worked on lower body)
RS rows: Sl knitwise wyib, work in patt to last st, k1.
WS rows: Sl purlwise wyif, work in patt to last st, p1.

Stockinette and Lace Stripes (Worked over an even number of sts.)
Rows 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 (RS): Knit.
Rows 2, 4, 6, 8 (WS): Purl.
Row 10 (WS): Knit.
Rows 11, 12 and 13: K1, (yo, p2tog) to last st, k1.
Note: Read your knitting. On rows 12 and 13, the p2tog is a stitch and the yo to its left. Watch this to make sure you are maintaining patt with no errors.
Row 14 (WS): Knit.
Rep Rows 1-14 for patt.

Seed Stitch
(worked over an even number of sts.)
Row 1: [K1, p1] to end.
Row 2: [P1, k1] to end.
Rep Rows 1-2 for patt.

I-cord Bind Off
With RS facing, CO 3 sts at beg of row. *K2, ssk (last cord st and first live st from main piece of knitting), slip the 3 sts back onto left ndl. Rep from * until 3 sts rem. BO 3.


Using the cable cast-on technique, CO 122[130, 138, 146, 154, 162, 170] sts.


Upper Body and Sleeves
Row 1 (WS): P3, pm, p38[42, 46, 50, 54, 58, 62], place removable marker, p40, place removable marker, p38[42, 46, 50, 54, 58, 62], pm, p3.

Note: The removable markers will remain on the row on CO edge to indicate placement for picking up stitches on the front.

Row 2 (RS): Work I-cord selvage, sm, beg with Row 3 work Stockinette and Lace Stripes to marker, sm, work I-cord selvage.

Cont in patt as established until 3[3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5] repeats of Stockinette and Lace Stripes have been completed.

Work 2[4, 6, 2, 4, 6, 2] rows in St st.

On the next row, markers will be placed for Sleeves and Lower Body Shaping - contrast colors will be helpful.

Next Row: Knit across 32 sleeve sts, pm for Sleeve, work 17[19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29] sts in patt, pm for Shaping, work 24[28, 32, 36, 40, 44, 48] sts in patt, pm for Shaping, work 17[19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29] sts in patt, pm for Sleeve, knit across 32 sleeve sts.

Cont in Stockinette and Lace Stripe patt as set, with slip stitch selvage, and work Underarm Shaping and Lower Body Shaping AT THE SAME TIME.

Underarm Shaping
Next row (RS): Work to second sleeve marker, sm, work 6 sts, w&t.
Next row (WS): Work to second sleeve marker marker, sm, work 6 sts, w&t.

Next row: Work to 1 st before previous wrapped st, w&t.
Rep last row 9 more times - last wrapped sts are situated next to sleeve markers. Place 32 Sleeve sts on each side on hold for working side seams later. Remove sleeve markers.

Lower Body Shaping
Continue in patt as set working slip-stitch selvage either end of the work and, on every RS row in the St st sections (Rows 1-10 of Stockinette and Lace Stripes pattern), inc as follows: Work to first shaping marker, yo, sm, k1, yo, work to 1 st before second shaping marker, yo, k1, sm, yo, work to end of row. 4 sts inc'd

Continue with Lower Body Shaping until piece measures 9[9, 10, 11, 12, 12, 13] inches at side seam, ending on Row 14.

Work 4 rows of Seed st while cont to inc on RS rows.

Work I-cord BO.

With RS of Back facing, pick up and knit 41[45, 49, 53, 57, 61, 65] sts from beg of row to 1st removable marker; using the cable cast-on technique CO 40 sts for neck; pick up and knit 41[45, 49, 53, 57, 61, 65] sts from 2nd removable marker to end of row. Turn work, WS is facing.

Work as for Back from [**].


On right edge of Front with RS facing and beg at lower edge, pick up and knit 1 st in each chain along side edge of lower body, then slip held Sleeve sts onto same needle.

Purl 1 WS row, working wraps with their corresponding sts at underarm.

On corresponding side of Back, with RS facing and beg at sleeve edge, slip held sts onto second circular needle, then pick up and knit 1 st in each chain along side edge. Purl 1 WS row, working wraps with their corresponding sts at underarm.

With RS together, use larger needle and 3-needle BO to join side seam, working loosely.

Repeat seam on opposite side.

Weave in ends.
Wash and block to dimensions. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Donna Druchunas escaped a corporate cubicle to honor her passions for knitting, world travel, research, and writing. She teaches in the United States and Europe, offers online sock-knitting classes at, and holds retreats at her studio in Vermont. Her newest project, Stories In Stitches is a pattern line featuring stories about knitters and their lives, traditions, history, and travel, all tied together with gorgeous knitting patterns and projects.

Visit Donna's website at