I am super excited to tell you about my latest sweater design: It’s a top-down, in the round fitted crochet lacy number, with three quarter sleeves, feature raglan shaping, a tapered bodice, frilly hemline and delicate buttoned cuffs!!! Wow, that is a mouthful….
Here are some pics of me modelling the design prototype. I am between a Small and Medium and wearing a Medium.
This sweater was inspired by the very first garment that I submitted to the CGOA Design Competition. It was a short-sleeved cardigan with a frilled v-neck opening that I crocheted with laceweight alpaca, and I imaginatively called it “Frilly Alpaca Lace Cardigan” (way to go Susan…. Lol). It won 3rd place in the competition in 2013 and kicked off my obsession with designing crochet clothing. I never did publish a pattern for the cardigan, but the lacy fabric feel was the inspiration for this design.
The Susannah Sweater is made with a gorgeously soft tonal sock yarn I bought from a local Perth yarn shop and Indie Dyer, Stitchcraft & Wizardry. I held the squishy skein in my hand and immediately thought of combining the lacy fabric I mentioned earlier with some solid stitching and frilly bits!
This golden deliciousness is “Turmeric Latte” colour on the Liberty Elf base yarn which is a blend of 85% Superwash extra fine merino and 15% nylon, in a 400m/100g skein. Anna runs the business and dyes the yarn to order - you will be happy to know that they ship worldwide!
Here are some other random colours it comes in too (drool, drool):
As you see in the blog post's lead photo, I also made a version in the light pink you see there – called “Barcelona”. I couldn’t resist trying one without the under-bust trim:
So how has the Susannah Sweater name come about? Well, it seems my imagination is consistently all used up with crochet design with not much left over for creative names.
It breaks down like this: Susan designed the garment and Anna dyed the yarn…. (…you just have to accept some parts of yourself, right)?
I have to say though, I very much like the name Susannah and feel like a change – so much so that I decided my preferred name going forward is Susannah rather than Susan. Not that it really matters to anyone else, but you heard it here first! Better make time to re-jig my name on socials etc and make it all official.
Okay, now that we have gotten the yarn and the name out of the way…
The Susannah Sweater is graded to 9 women’s sizes from XS to 5XL!!
Here is the schematic and measurements chart for the finished and blocked garment laid out flat.
Which size to choose?
This sweater is intended to be fairly fitted, with only a few cm of ease around the bust and zero to a cm or two of ease around the upper arm. The lacy main fabric is pretty stretchy so can flex with you to accommodate a curve here and there. If you are between sizes, choose the smaller of the 2 sizes.
You’re best to order the yarn for the larger of the two sizes though, just to make sure you have enough (VERY important when using hand dyed yarn as its all dyed together in the one dye bath).
Where can I make custom-fit changes?
The top-down construction method means you can try it on as you go and can adjust the fit when separating the bodice from the sleeves at the underarm. Here you can increase or decrease both sleeves and bodice together (maybe your gauge loosened up as you went), or you can increase the sleeves without changing the bodice (maybe your individual shape suits a larger sleeve relative to bust than the pattern describes).
Adjusting the length of bodice or sleeves is super-easy – just insert or omit some rounds, allowing for 5.5cm length for the hemline and 7cm length for the cuffs.
I know a few people are keen to order their yarn, so here are the details for Yardage for using Anna’s gorgeous, dyed yarn:
(Yarn allowance assumes no custom changes, allows for 5% extra contingency and enough yarn for 2 swatches.
You will be happy to know that some other yarns were used by testers. Here they are with tester FO and WIP pics!
Natalie made her Small in Scheepjes Metropolis 052 Bangalore: 75% merino/25%nylon, 400m/100g. Sunny and gorgeous!
Bev is making a Small for her daughter using the Stitchcraft & Wizardry’s Elf Lliberty base in a colour that is now called “Beverlicious Blue”! 85% Superwash extra fine merino/15% nylon, 400m/100g.
Lisa whipped up this amazing Medium using an indie-dyed sock yarn from the UK in a luscious Rust colourway: 75% merino/25%nylon, 425m/100g.
Ruth made her Large in Scheepjes Metropolis 041 Rabat: 75% merino/25%nylon, 400m/100g. Just fabulous!
Annemie decided Scheepjes Our Tribe was the go and made her XL in 988 Generosity: 70%merino/30%nylon, 420m/100g. Absolutely love it!
Femke sourced a beautiful “Mallard” teal blue from an indie dyer in The Netherlands: 100% Superwash merino, 400m/100g. Fitting so well and that colour!
I made this 3XL sample in Valley Yarns Charlemont: 60% SW merino/20%mulberry silk/20% polyamide as I wanted to experiment a little. I had to reduce hook size by 0.5mm to achieve gauge (yep, I had to swatch a few times for my own pattern - you really want to know how a yarn is going to behave before you start the project!)
The fit is absolutely Super! So thrilled with my grading of the pattern to fit a range of body shapes! The lace fabric is a bit stretchy to follow body contours comfortably.
What’s in the pattern?
The first 6 pages are all the preamble info, being the cover page, the schematic, measurements and materials shown in this post, as well as notes on how to use the pattern, abbreviations and swatching instructions (including stitch chart), and pre and post blocked gauge (including photos showing how to measure this). Links in the PDF will take you to support tutorials here on my blog, where appropriate.
Then pages 7-20 contain the written instructions, close-up photos, multiple stitch charts, and a couple of links for a video demonstration of the tricky bits in those decorative cuffs!
What languages will it be published in?
It will be available in English, both in UK and US terms.
Yarn Substitution Advice…
Stitchcraft & Wizardry Elf Liberty base is a beautiful luxurious yarn, but for those wanting something more immediately available, or a less luxurious price tag here are some tips:
Sock yarn is the go: Superwash merino as 100% or up to 70% merino/30% nylon blend is ideal for its elasticity and durability. (My 3XL experiment is a tiny bit stiffer for having the silk on board but the stitch definition is lovely). The weight of the yarn needs to be pretty close to 400m/100g. Having said that, two yarns with the same 400m/100g character but different fibre-blend may need different hook sizes to achieve gauge. Swatching is everything!
My testers looked for these factors to choose their yarns and I think you will agree, chose wisely! Scheepjes Metropolis and Our Tribe have a VAST colour range, and I think Annemie’s choice of the Our Tribe in the self-striping Generosity colourway is SO wonderful, I just can’t even…. When I saw how the colours were playing out in the upper-bodice I was like, “Aaaagghghhh!! I need to design more top-down sweaters in OT!!“
What about cottons? I know I have used Scheepjes Whirlette/Whirl as a substitute for Metropolis in a couple of patterns (such as the Rabbit Alice Sweater), but I believe it is not suitable for this design. The lace has fewer anchorage points than that of a solid/semi solid fabric, and the textured hemline adds weight to the lower garment. Both factors combined with the non-elastic and grow-with-use-and-gravity-aspect of cotton means if made in this fibre it will hang lower and narrower than the springy elastic merino wool blend it was intended for. A “fitted” style of (stretchy) garment made in an inappropriate (non-elastic) fibre will not be comfortable to wear or worse still, not fit around the body at all.
All dressed up?
A few keen folks on socials have commented that this would make a wonderful dress. The shape?
…The engineering structural integrity to support the weight of a dress (that would also generally be made in a cotton)?
Not so much.
All sweatered up though? YASSSSS! Convenient top-down construction, well fitted and packed with design details for a dressy sweater – I am proud of it and love all my tester’s luscious creations! With only a week until pattern launch, I am so happy to see this design heading out into the world and I hope you are too!
* Thank you to Stitchcraft & Wizardry for yarn support to make the pink Barcelona version seen here. All other yarn has been purchased, and there are no affiliate links.
I like to support local Perth small businesses and my friends at Scheepjes. Stitchcraft & Wizardry stock Scheepjes yarns, as does another Perth shop: Yarns For All so you can source all your Metropolis or Our Tribe desires.
If you are excited and raring to go, it is possible to whip one of these up over 2-3 weeks, so you could even get to wear it before the season changes! Here is the pattern link for when it is published. Tell your friends, pop it in your favourites on Ravelry, share this post and I look forward to seeing new Susannah Sweaters popping up on socials and in my pattern support group Pepper-Gaggle.
Happy stitching awaits!