Sleeve It to Me: Conquering Sweater Sleeves with the Murray Pullover

I wrote back in March about my in-progress Murray Pullover, a gorgeous sweater design from Wool Studio Vol. IV, the Norah Gaughan Collection. Back then, when I was young and full of optimism, I hoped to have my first-ever sweater done by now. But that was before I had to try my neck and shoulder shaping three times to get it right! (All I will say is, “Follow the pattern notes, friends.”)

But there’s no room for discouragement with all my elation around finally starting my first-ever sleeve! That’s right—I have now seamed my shoulders, picked up my stitches, and started sleeving. And, as all my kind mentors here at Interweave have been telling me all along, starting my first sleeve was seriously anti-climactic in terms of difficulty. Picking up my stitches took two tries, but only because after taking my measurements, I decided to go up a size for my sleeves and then forgot.

murray pullover

So much to love about the Murray Pullover by Norah Gaughan! Mine is coming along nicely.

I did a good job of picking my first sleeved project. The Murray Pullover is dead simple in terms of construction, with simple drop shoulders and simple seaming. It’s also easy to modify the length based on your body type. Because I have a very short torso with long legs, I chose to make my pullover several inches longer than the sample. Longer lines tend to balance out my proportions, especially for sweater silhouettes without waist shaping.

Now, some people just can’t do drop shoulders, and I understand that. Lisa Shroyer does an amazing job of explaining exactly why, for some knitters, drop shoulders will just never be flattering, and offers tips to find a more flattering armhole. In fact, the Murray Pullover does have some armhole shaping to make that fabric “hangover” over the shoulder look a little neater, reduce underarm bulk, and improve the cross-back fit.

murray pullover

You can see that there is just a little bit of shoulder and armhole shaping in the Murray Pullover. It doesn’t make it much harder to knit, but it improves the fit a lot!

You won’t find an easier foray into sweater knitting than the drop shoulder! I’m underway with my first sleeve, and I can already feel that I’m starting to close in. Check back soon to see my final Murray Pullover. If you’re looking to get started knitting sweaters too, check out our Focus on Fit series for TONS of tips to choose a great design and get a flattering fit. I can’t recommend the Murray Pullover highly enough as an easy place to get started!

Newbie sweater knitters: What’s holding you back from taking the plunge and starting? Let us know in the comments. Experienced sweater gurus: Lend your advice to help get your new comrades started!

Yours in Stitches,


(Model photography by Harper Point Photography. WIP photography by Andrea Lotz.)

Don’t Sweat the Sleeves: Start a Sweater Today!

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