Berkeley Sweater

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Berkeley is a sweater place. It’s never really cold, but it’s never quite warm either. Even in the summer the fog comes in most mornings and you have to bundle up a bit. In the winter you might wear a coat, but a thick cozy sweater is better. My mother has an excellent sweater collection, with a full range from lacy cotton summer sweaters to thick cabled winter sweaters.

Last time I was in town, my mom took me to A Verb For Keeping Warm, perhaps the coziest store there is. I picked up four skeins of this outrageously soft alpaca to knit up a sweater which would feel at home in her closet. It’s a boxy, slightly cropped sweater with simple textural details. It’s warm enough for the coldest Berkeley night, and makes an excellent layer at home in New York.

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This sweater has no waist shaping. This gives it a boxy shape, which is balanced by the drape of the loose knit and the slightly cropped length. Pick a size that is slightly smaller than your bust measurement. The sweater begins with a band of garter stitch around the hem and ends with one around a slight boat neck. It has seed stitch panels up the sides and along the top of the sleeves. It is worked in the round up to the arm pits, and then flat to the shoulders. The garter stitch neckline is picked up and knit in the round after the shoulders are sewn up. The set in sleeves are worked flat.

Gauge: 16 stitches / 21 rows in 4 inches
Needles: 6.5mm/ US 10.5 (larger than the recommended 4mm/ US 6)
Yarn: 4(5,6) skeins Shibui maai, 175 yrd/160m per 50g ball

Finished size: 29.5(32.5,35.5) inches around.

Shown in smallest size with 3″ negative ease.

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Abbreviations used:
k – knit
k2t – knit two together
m1 – make a stitch
p – purl
p2t – purl two together
pm – place marker

Body

Cast on 118(130,142) stitches and join to work in the round.
Row 1: knit all stitches
Row 2: purl all stitches
Continue to work in garter stitch for a total of 20 rows.

From here you will work 12 stitches of seed stitch along each side, with stockinette between them. You may wish to use markers to identify the seed stitch panels.
Row 1: [k1 p1]X6; pm; k47(53,59) k; pm; [k1 p1]X6; pm; k47(53,59)
Row 2: [p1 k1]X6; k47(53,59); [p1 k1]X6; k47(53,59)
Continue to work in pattern for 14 inches.

Back

You have reached the arm pits. Now you will separate the front and back and work each flat, decreasing at the sides to shape the armholes. Remove stitch markers as you work row 1.
Row 1: Work 3 stitches as established; bind off 6 stitches; work 53(59,65) stitches as established, transferring these stitches to waste yarn as you go; bind off 6 stitches; work 53(59,65) stitches in pattern and turn work. You are now working flat. There should be53(59,65) stitches on your needles.
Row 2: p3 p2t p43(49,55) p2t p3
Row 3: k3 k2t k41(47,53) k2t k3
Row 4: p45(51,57)
Row 5: k3 k2t k39(45,51) k2t k3
Row 6: p43(49,55)
Row 7: k3 k2t k37(43,49) k2t k3
Row 8: p41(47,53)
Row 9: p41(47,53)
Row 10: p41(47,53)
Row 11: k3 k2t k35(41,47) k2t k3

43(49,55) stitches remain.

Work in stockinette until sweater measures 5 (5 1/2, 6) inches from the beginning of the armhole. Now you will begin the neck shaping.

Back left

Row 1: Knit 12(13,14) stitches, transferring these stitches to waste yarn as you go; bind off 19(23,27) stitches; knit 12(13,14) stitches. There should be 12(13,14) stitches on your needles.
Row 2: p7(8,9) p2t p3
Row 3: k3 k2t k6(7,8)
Row 4: p10(11,12)
Row 5: k3 k2t k5(6,7)
Row 6: p9(8,7)
Row 7: k3 k2t k4(5,6)

Work in stockinette for 1″. Total length from beginning of armhole should be just over 7(7 1/2, 8) inches. Bind off all 8(9,10) stitches.

Back right

Set up: attach a new ball at the right edge of the neckline. You will begin with a wrong side row. Pick up 12(13,14) stitches of waste yarn.
Row 1:  p3 p2t p7(8,9)
Row 2: k6(7,8) k2t k3
Row 3: p10(11,12)
Row 4: k5(6,7) k2t k3
Row 5: p9(10,11)
Row 6: k4(5,6) k2t k3

Work in stockinette for 1″. Bind off all 8(9,10) stitches.

Front

Set up: Pick up 53(59,65) stitches off waste yarn and attach a ball of yarn. You will begin with a wrong side row.
Row 1: p3 p2t p43(49,55) p2t p3
Row 2: k3 k2t k41(47,53) k2t k3
Row 3: p45(51,57)
Row 4: k3 k2t k39(45,51) k2t k3
Row 5: p43(49,55)
Row 6: k3 k2t k37(43,49) k2t k3
Row 7: p41(47,53)

Work in stockinette until sweater measures 2 1/2(3,3 1/2) inches from the beginning of the armhole. Now you will begin the neck shaping.

Front left

Work rows 1-7 as for back left. Work in stockinette for 3″. Total length from beginning of armhole should be just over 7(7 1/2, 8) inches. Bind off all 8(9,10) stitches.

Front right

Work rows 1-7 as for back right. Work in stockinette for 3″.Total length from beginning of armhole should be just over 7(7 1/2, 8) inches.  Bind off all 8(9,10) stitches.

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Sleeves

Make two identical sleeves.

Cast on 32(34,36) stitches. You will work 4 stitches of seed stitch down the center, with stockinette on either side.

Row 1: k14(15,16); pm; [k1 p1]X2; pm; k14(15,16)
Row 2: p14(15,16); [k1 p1]X2; p14(15,16)

Work in pattern until sleeve measures 12 inches. You will now begin increasing one stitch on each side every 8th row. You will do this 5 times, over a total of 40 rows.

Row 1: k3 m1 k11(12,13) [k1 p1]X2 k11(12,13) m1 k3
Rows 2-8: work in pattern
Row 9: k3 m1 k12(13,14) [k1 p1]X2 k12(13,14) m1 k3
Rows 10-16: work in pattern
Row 17: k3 m1 k13(14,15) [k1 p1]X2 k13(14,15) m1 k3
Rows 18-24: work in pattern
Row 25: k3 m1 k14(15,16) [k1 p1]X2 k14(15,16) m1 k3
Rows 26-32: work in pattern
Row 33: k3 m1 k15(16,17) [k1 p1]X2 k15(16,17) m1 k3
Rows 34-40: work in pattern

There should be 42(44,46) stitches on your needles. Now you will work the sleeve cap.

Row 1: bind off 3 k16(17,18) [k1 p1]X2 k19(20,21)
Row 2: bind off 3 p16(17,18) [k1 p1]X2 p16(17,18)
Row 3: bind off 2 k14(15,16) [k1 p1]X2 k16(17,18)
Row 4: bind off 2 p14(15,16) [k1 p1]X2 p14(15,16)
Row 5: k3 k2t k9(10,11) [k1 p1]X2 k9(10,11) k2t k3
Row 6: p13(14,15) [k1 p1]X2 p13(14,15)
Row 7: k3 k2t k8(9,10) [k1 p1]X2 k8(9,10) k2t k3
Row 8: p12(13,14) [k1 p1]X2 p12(13,14)

Work in pattern for 6 rows. Bind off all stitches.

Finishing

Sew together front and back shoulders together.

Pick up 66(74,82) stitches around the neckline: 19(23,27) along the front and back and 14 stitches along each side. Join to work in the round and work three rows of garter stitch. Bind off all stitches.

Sew up the long seam of the sleeves. Sew the top of the sleeve into the armhole. Weave in all loose ends.

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