The random number generator has spoken and Cheryl is our giveaway winner!
We’ve just mostly wrapped up our Lopi Sweater knit-along! I say mostly because not everyone is finished, and some of us (yours truly included) have cast on for more than one so we’ll still be chatting in the Berroco Lovers group on Ravelry about our progress as we go along. As you know, the Lopi Sweater KAL was primarily focused on bottom-up sweaters with colorwork at the yoke. But we also championed anyone wanting to make a top-down sweater knitting pattern (after all, we mostly just wanted to celebrate the awesome Lopi yarn with a new sweater or cardigan).
Tolt Yarn & Wool host an annual Icelandic Wool Month each March, and as part of it, they release a new pattern from an independent designer along with other goodies. This year’s pattern, Dreyma, was designed by Jennifer Steingass, who has created many beautiful bottom-up and top-down sweater knitting patterns. I asked Jennifer to talk a little bit about designing a top-down sweater knitting pattern (she has also designed some lovely bottom-up sweaters if you prefer that construction) and her thoughts on some alternate colorways for Dreyma.
After having knit many bottom-up yoke sweaters over the past few years, I finally took the plunge and learned how to design a top-down Icelandic yoke sweater this past summer. I learned out of necessity, because when I swatched for my Fern & Feather sweater pattern, I decided that the yoke motifs for that particular design looked terrible when knitted from the bottom up. Since top-down construction is very popular and customers had been asking for top-down versions of some of my pre-existing patterns, I was glad to finally find the motivation to try designing a top-down yoke, even though I had never knitted one before. I was so happy with the results, although I did find charting the yoke to be a bit more challenging than I would have expected.
Soon after my successful attempt at top-down Fern & Feather, it was time to cast on for Dreyma, my lopapeysa design for this year’s Tolt Yarn & Wool Icelandic Wool Month. I asked the team at Tolt whether they’d like top down or bottom up, and they asked me to construct the sweater top down. After having so much fun knitting and designing Fern & Feather, I was eager to design another yoke in the same manner.
Top-down construction has a few advantages: you can try on as you go, so it’s easier to get the length and yoke depth just right. Also I think it’s so much fun to watch the yoke grow and radiate outwards while knitting it. Top-down sweater knitting does have one disadvantage—it requires casting on all the neckline stitches right at the beginning. So if you think you might want to go back and adjust your neckline width later, you can cast on provisionally and then go back and adjust later, if needed, and bind off your neckline stitches when you’re finished.
I enjoy top-down yoke knitting so much, that I have now designed 4 lopapeysa patterns that use top-down construction and invisible increases: Fern & Feather, Treysta, Arboreal, and most recently, Dremya.
One of my favorite features of Dreyma and my other top-down yoke sweater designs are the left-leaning invisible increases I use in the yoke (Inv-L increases). I learned this increase technique when knitting the sleeves of Jared Flood’s Grettir yoke sweater several years ago, and it’s been my go-to increase style ever since. It’s easy to execute and inconspicuous. I’ve shared a video showing how to do this increase on my Instagram feed.
I especially loved knitting Dreyma, my most recent release. Using natural black, grey, and white shades of Icelandic wool, I created a subtle fading effect through the yoke. Lettlopi comes in so many beautiful tonal shades and the the sweater would look equally good in a light body color with darker colors fading through the yoke. Or if working with a similar color palette, dark shades like bottle green, navy blue, or brown make a great backdrop for the lighter, fading yoke motifs.
CLOSED To keep the celebration of Icelandic wool going, we’re giving away a kit to make Dreyma in the original colors! Tolt Yarn and Wool is graciously contributing a PDF of the Dreyma pattern, along with a Dreyma enamel pin, and Berroco will be providing the Lettlopi yarn, a Berroco project bag, and a Lopi pin to one lucky winner! Unfortunately we can only offer this prize to folks 18 years of age or older who live in the United States or Canada.
Leave a comment on this blog post before 3:00 pm EST Friday, March 23, 2018, letting us know whether you prefer top-down or bottom-up sweater knitting and which pattern of Jennifer’s (other than Dreyma) you’d most like to knit. Our blog is set so that all comments must be moderated before the appear, so please be patient. We will approve all comments (as long as they’re not spam), but we cannot do it automatically.