The Palma Sweater: A unique knit

Palma Sweater, front
Palma sweater, back

I've come across a really beautiful and unique sweater. It's the Palma Sweater (shown at left) by Lene Holme Samsøe.

What initially drew me to this sweater was its simplicity: a cross-front sweater with three-quarter-length sleeves and a wide-rib collar. Then I saw the back, and it's made up of a stunning cable panel that incorporates a leafy vine set off with rope cables. You know how I love leaves; add in the cables and it's a winner in my book.

There's a third aspect to this sweater, though, that really puts it over the top. It's a pullover!

Here's the description from Lene's new book Essentially Feminine Knits: "This top has a lovely construction: it begins with a long, wide rib that forms the front and collar. The back is knit next with a pretty leaf motif branching out down the center. The sleeves are next, and, finally, there is a wide ribbed band at the waist. The lovely silk and wool blend yarn gives the top a beautiful drape."

You can see the construction best when looking at the schematic:

Palma sweater schematic. See how the sweater grows out of the waistband, giving it a cardigan look on a pullover base? Neat-o!

I know I'm always saying that I'm going to knit this and I'm going to knit that, and I really do take the first steps: adding the projects to my queue, choosing yarn, and sometimes even swatching! And I actually have knit many of the projects that I've talked about on Knitting Daily, but there's only so much time to knit—even for those of us who knit for a living!

So, some projects jump to the front of the line while others wait patiently in their project bags. The Palma is a line-jumper, but I have some work to do in order to knit this for myself. The sizes for Palma go up to a 41-inch bust, which is great, but I need a several more inches—like ten!

There are a few reasons I'm not worried about adjusting this pattern to fit me. The first is that the pattern is written for a sportweight yarn on size 4 needles. I can easily use a heavier yarn and knit this on size 6 or 7 needles, adding a few stitches to the body if needed to get the measurements I want (I'll use my gauge swatch to figure out my stitch-to-inch ratio and compare it to the measurements on the schematic). I can also add more rows to the collar to get a wider front. And lastly, the shape of the sweater is forgiving because it doesn't have a closure in front. I don't want it to stretch across my bust, though, so I'll need to make sure that I'm adding stitches if I need to and not just counting on the larger gauge to help me out.

I'm not super strong in the math department, but if I concentrate hard I can do "knitting math" quite well. I've adjusted a lot of sweaters successfully (and some not so successfully, but those were learning experiences, and they made great gifts!).

The Palma is a great example of Lene's designs. It's feminine but classic, simple with a twist. "Feminine" is a word you see a lot when knitting for women, but Lene captures the feeling perfectly in her book, and in the Palma pullover.

Get yourself a copy of Essentially Feminine Knits today and join me in knitting the Palma or choose another sweater from the book. It's not an easy choice!


P.S. What makes a knitting pattern feminine to you? Leave a comment and let us know!

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