Sweater Workshop: The Manicouagan Pullover (it's a free pattern!)

I love drop-stitch knitting patterns. It's so much fun to drop the stitch! It feels so wrong, even though I know it's right.

The Manicouagan Pullover by Alex Capshaw-Taylor, from the Winter 2014 issue of Interweave Knits (get the free pattern here!)

The drop-stitch patterns I've knitted are all scarves, so imagine my delight when I came across a drop-stitch sweater! It's Alex Capshaw-Taylor's Manicouagan Pullover, from Interweave Knits Winter 2014.

This sweater is what happens when the steam-punk style meets the classic Henley pullover. Because I'm me, I got curious about the origin of the Henley style, so I did a little research. Apparently, the crew teams of the English town of Henley-on-Thames wore shirts that were collarless with a button placket below the round neckline. This style became popular with the masses and the Henley was born.

Anyway, the Manicouagan sweater was featured in the very first episode of Knitting Daily TV with Vickie Howell, where Knits editor Lisa Shroyer explained the ins and outs (and drops!) of the pullover.

The sweater is knit from the bottom up, in pieces. After knitting the ribbing, a lifeline is drawn through all of the stitches. This is to keep the drop stitches from raveling all the way through the ribbing. The lifeline remains in the finished sweater, holding up those dropped stitches, which is a pretty neat trick. Here's what the process looks like:


   Here's Lisa threading in the lifeline. This occurs in the last row of the ribbing. The lifeline is threaded in using a tapestry needle, through the live stitches on the needle. (Lisa is using contrasting yarn. In the real thing, the lifeline yarn is the same yarn that's used in the sweater.
Here's a swatch of the stitch pattern for the sweater. The knit columns between the cables are the stitches that you'll drop at the end of the knitting process for each piece. It's hard to wait!
This swatch shows the bound off top edge, with the stitches waiting to be dropped. As the piece was bound off, Lisa popped the drop stitches off the needle and then kept binding off.

You can see them at the top of the swatch, looking like little pearls, patiently waiting to become a long column of dropped stitches.

This set of swatches shows the stitch pattern before dropping, and after. Note how much wider the swatch is after the stitches are dropped. It's essential to swatch for this sweater, and take an accurate gauge count. The gauge called for is 22 stitches and 25 rows = 4 inches. When counting stitches to determine your gauge, count the two stitches in each cable, plus the dropped stitches.


Detail of the drop stitch cable pattern

The Manacouagan Pullover is such a unique design, and it's a great three-season addition to your wardrobe! In the KDTV episode that this was featured in, Vickie said she would be able to wear it in the warmer climate of her home in Austin, Texas.

The Manacauagan Pullover is a free download, so get your pattern now. With this sweater workshop, you're all ready to cast on!

These sorts of patterns and in-depth how-tos are what you get in Interweave Knits. If you're not already a subscriber, jump on board and subscribe today! You won't regret it.


P.S. Drop-stitch patterns: yay or nay? Cast your vote in the comments!

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