Go Seamless! Knitting the Natalia Sweater

I’ve been so enamored with the Natalia Sweater from Knitscene Spring 2016 ever since I first saw designer Leah Coccari-Swift’s submission. This top-down seamless sweater looks like it’s a breeze to knit, even with the colorwork section—especially since you’re only using two strands of yarn!

KnitScene-Spring-2016-1698

Leah used Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool, which comes in a wide array of both solid colors and print colors. This smooth worsted weight yarn knits up quickly; paired with an easy top down seamless knitting pattern such as the Natalia Sweater, you’re sure to have a new sweater in no time!

Because I’ve been eyeing this sweater for months now, I decided it would be our Knitscene Spring 2016 knitalong project! We’re kicking off this knitalong today over in the Knitting Daily KAL group on Ravelry (it’s free to join, just come on over and say “I want to knit this sweater!”). We don’t have a solid end date, but seriously, I think this will go so fast, even if you don’t have a lot of time to knit you can certainly have a brand new sweater to show off by the end of February at the latest.  I’ve already got my yarn—I’m excited to work with the Liberty Wool, and I’m basically inverting the color scheme with a black main color and Ultra Violet Autumn for my contrast color.

Here’s everything you need to know to get started (including the magazine with the pattern, which is available as a PDF from our online store, or should be on the shelves of your local yarn store—ask them to order Knitscene if it’s not!):

Sizes 36 (39, 42¼, 45, 48, 51, 53¾)” bust circumference; shown in size 36″, modeled with 4″ of positive ease
Yarn Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool (100% washable wool; 122 yd [112 m]/50 g):
• #7816 ecru (MC), 8 (9, 10, 11, 11, 12, 13) balls
Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool Print (100% washable wool; 122 yd [112 m]/50 g):
• #7871 bronze sky (CC), 1 (1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2) ball(s)
Gauge 22 sts and 32 rnds = 4″ in St st on larger needle; 22 sts and 29 rnds = 4″ in chart patt on larger needle
Tools
• Size 6 (4 mm): 24″ and 36″ circular (cir) needles and set of double-pointed needles (dpn)
• Size 4 (3.5 mm): 24″ cir needle and set of dpn
• Markers (m)
• Stitch holders
• Tapestry needle

Curious how to choose the best size so you’ll know how much yarn you’ll need? I find circular yoke sweaters—sweaters where the neckline and shoulders are increased evenly around in a circle—tend to need a little extra work to fit me, so I’m going to share my tips for choosing the best size for a sweater that fits.

As with all sweaters, check out the schematic. The schematic should give you a basic idea of what the sweater looks like when it’s a flat piece (such as laying on a bed or blocking board) along with numbers indicating a circumference or flat width. Here’s the schematic for the Natalia Sweater.

natalia schematic

The most important numbers needed for a circular yoke are the bust circumference (because for these sweaters, you need them to fit the widest part of your chest) and the armhole depth.

One of the best things about circular yoke sweaters is that they’re very forgiving for a range of sizes. Generally when I knit such a sweater, I choose a size that’s slightly smaller than my bust circumference. Conventional sweater knitting wisdom would lead us to believe that means my sweater will be tight fitting because of the negative ease, however, circular yoke sweaters have a built in “flattery feature” as I like to think of it. Because the sleeves are joined at the body at the full bust or just below (notice how the schematic shows the full bust measurement at the same point as where the sleeves begin), there’s generally extra fabric in the top of the sweater. So depending on your body (sweater knitting is all about honestly knowing your body), you can get away with a sweater that has negative ease.

Look at the pattern, and find the amount of stitches you’re supposed to have before separating for the body and sleeves. For the size I’m looking to knit, which is about an inch smaller than my bust circumference, I’m supposed to have 336 stitches. The gauge listed for this sweater is 22 sts to 4 inches, or 5.5 stitches to an inch. 336 stitches divided by 5.5 stitches to the inch is 61, so the circumference before dividing for the body and sleeves is 61″.  But if I measure my body and arms as one unit (stand upright and ask a friend to measure around both your arms and torso), that’s only 57″, giving me 4″ of positive ease at the widest part of this sweater.

Technically I could knit an even smaller size, as the next size down would have a circumference of 58″ at the widest part, but this sweater is intended to be a little bit roomy and cozy, so I’m going to stick with the size I chose.

The other thing to check is the yoke depth. Depending on your body, you may want to shorten the depth a bit. Take your tape measure, hold it at the base of your throat, right where your collarbones meet (adjust higher or lower depending on your neckline preferences), and measure down the center of your body, generally to the space between your breasts. Do the same thing, moving the starting point slightly to the left and right to angle over the bust enough to cover the full bust. Take an average of those measurements, and compare your number to the schematic.

For me, personally, my bust is “relatively” small. My bust circumference comes mostly from a broad rib cage, meaning I don’t necessarily need a lot of fabric to cover the front half of my body. So with circular yokes, I always have to shorten the depth a bit. To achieve that, I’m planning to work fewer rows between the increases. This may require some tinkering in the process of knitting it, but having a plan going in is at least a starting point to making sure this sweater fits exactly how I want it!

Now that you have all the information you need to get started knitting your own Natalia Sweater, get your copy of Knitscene Spring 2016 and join in the knitalong fun!

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