Icelandic Yoke Pullover

Icelandic Yoke Sweater 008-3

Pattern: Inspired by the Icelandic Yoke Sweater from The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Morehouse Merino 3-Strand
Needles: US 7 24" Addi Turbos
Recipient: Lorin

Notes: My niece is a character. More than two years ago, when I was visiting my mom and my sister still lived in the area, I was working on some knitting and she asked whether I would let her try a couple of stitches. After a bit of talking through, she picked it up and completed about five stitches. I then resumed knitting and she resumed watching cartoons. A couple of months ago we were talking on the phone, and somehow knitting comes up. "I can knit," she claimed. "You can? How did you learn?" I asked. "Auntie Jessica, YOU taught me. Don't you REMEMBER??" During that same conversation, she asked me for a sweater for her seventh birthday (if she's such the expert knitter, I joke, she could knit her own sweater. "Don't be SILLY, Auntie Jessica."). I am left with no instructions other than her measurements and that her favorite color is purple.

And here it is. I went through three different yarn purchases trying to find just the right purple, at just the right gauge for this sweater. Since it's a kid sweater, Knitpicks was my first choice. But Wool of the Andes was too thin and the purple shade of Sierra was hardly purple, or if it is, it is an Elderly Purple. Enter Morehouse Merino. The colors are simply unbeatable - a similar range to Lamb's Pride, but much, much less scratchy. Not exactly affordable, but hey, the kid will wear the sweater a while, and it's her birthday present.

And lo and behold, despite being made from across the nation, it fits! The sweater was finished enough when I visited last week to try it on:

lorin's sweater 1 lorin's sweater 2

You can tell it's unfinished because you can see Ms. Busy Hands playing with the yarn ends in the first photo. The sweater grew a bit on blocking, but it will definitely still fit. Added room in a kids sweater just means one more season of wear, anyway.

About design. The Icelandic Yoke Pullover, #14 from The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann was the starting point. This was the easiest sweater I've ever made. Totally in the round, no shaping (what kid really needs shaping?), with a relatively simple stranded yoke to keep things interesting:

Icelandic Yoke Sweater 006-1

The yoke is a modification of elements from the EZ original and some from my own imagination - extremely, extremely simple. This will tell you exactly how simple: the first (bottom) motif I'd charted out beforehand (as you saw in a previous post), but the others I literally made up as I went along. This is not organized knitting, Dear Readers. This is not fastidious, detail oriented, brilliantly structured and planned colorwork. This is Stranded Knitting for the Lazy Person.

Lorin's sweater yoke

I've never done colorwork with a single-ply yarn before - it's not quite as neat and orderly as the Dale-alikes I've used in the past, but I enjoy the rustic look it produces.

So, there it is. Happy Belated Birthday, Ms. Lorin! One sweater coming your way very, very soon.

Posted by jess at December 13, 2006 9:30 AM | TrackBack

Beautiful! Sounds like a rather simple knit with a fabulous end product!

Posted by: grumperina at December 13, 2006 10:30 AM

What a lovely little sweater! I'm going to have to put Morehouse on my list of yarns to try out.

Posted by: mote at December 13, 2006 11:09 AM

Love the purple and green together!
Your niece looks happy to wear such a beautiful sweater, and you seem very happy to knit her one. A match made in heaven!

Posted by: Veronique at December 13, 2006 11:18 AM

It's fantastic. The color combination is wonderful and the single ply yarn produces an appropriately rustic look. It's like lopi, only not hairy! Does she love it?

Posted by: Adrian at December 13, 2006 11:23 AM

Very pretty! I especially like the little bit of purple at the cuffs.

Posted by: Jo at December 13, 2006 11:31 AM

it looks fantastic! i'm glad you decided to leave the bottom undone much like the top. it definitely fits the sweater design better!

Posted by: gleek at December 13, 2006 11:57 AM

Love the little green stitches at the end of the purple. She’s one lucky kid!

Posted by: brooke at December 13, 2006 12:14 PM

I love this style and color scheme for a kid's sweater! I like that it's not too, too kiddy. And yes, Elderly Purple...I've seen it. Nice job sidestepping that one.

Posted by: jenna at December 13, 2006 12:21 PM

So cute! I bet you're thrilled that you have a niece that wants you to knit for her. If mine is anything like her mother, she'll say a slow "Thank you" with a grin that means, "What am I going to do with this?" Don't get me started. Great colors!

Posted by: Lola at December 13, 2006 12:27 PM

Beautiful sweater - I love, love the purple, green, and charcoal together. Your niece is adorable!

Posted by: kelp! at December 13, 2006 12:30 PM

What a great sweater for your niece. Thanks for showing and for the useful comments about the yarn.

Posted by: Mandella at December 13, 2006 12:31 PM

So pretty! She looks adorable.

Posted by: rfg at December 13, 2006 12:39 PM

You are such a good aunt.

Posted by: patricia at December 13, 2006 12:43 PM

That sweater is super cute! Shaping or no, plannign or no, I want one too!

Posted by: Jackie at December 13, 2006 12:51 PM

What a beautiful sweater!

Posted by: laura b at December 13, 2006 12:55 PM

the sweater is gorgeous. can't believe you made up that pattern from the top of your pretty head. nice!

Posted by: Sandra at December 13, 2006 12:59 PM

Happy Birthday, Lorin!

What a great sweater! The color combo is fab and the fit is perfect. The yoke, despite being SKftLP, looks really good. You did a terrific job!

Posted by: seedless grape at December 13, 2006 1:22 PM

Love it, love it, love it! It's so cute and soft and pretty! Lucky Lorin. And great pictures, too.

Posted by: Jessica at December 13, 2006 1:38 PM

Absolutely adorable. I love the colors and the style. I'm sure Lorin will wear it for as long as she can possibly fit into it.

Posted by: Stephanie at December 13, 2006 2:01 PM

It is exactly the right kind of gorgeous! And your niece is such a little sweety - the shot with the blurry hands is priceless.

Posted by: Ruth at December 13, 2006 2:25 PM

It's gorgeous! I'm glad it worked out after the gauge issues.

Posted by: Angela at December 13, 2006 2:41 PM

What a cute sweater - and little girl. You are the best auntie ever!

Posted by: Kelly at December 13, 2006 2:57 PM

SO PRECIOUS! love it and she looks HAPPY! Can't wait to try one for my nephews - hmm, maybe alike sweaters with different colors?

after christmas though.

Posted by: sogalitno at December 13, 2006 4:22 PM

Wow that worked out so well, it really suits lil' Lorin.
It's a very 'confident' knit..great job.

Posted by: Carson at December 13, 2006 4:45 PM

You really do beautiful work!

Posted by: SallyT at December 13, 2006 6:21 PM

I adore your version of this sweater! It's a wonderful combination of colors. Lucky Lorin!

Posted by: gina L at December 13, 2006 7:13 PM

Wow, that's lovely. Lucky niece! (I taught my 7 yr. old niece to knit when I was in MD for Maryland Sheep and Wool--and she is keeping it up!) Alas, she is not getting a gorgeous sweater like this one, but she is getting a hat made with yarn she picked out herself at MDSW.

Posted by: Angela at December 13, 2006 7:13 PM

What a beautiful sweater and a wonderful gift! Not many 7 year olds would appreciate a handknit sweater, but your niece seems to be an exception. I'm currently knitting an EZ modified yoke sweater and have just finished my 2nd decrease round -- I'm on the home stretch.

Posted by: nona at December 13, 2006 7:38 PM

It's stupendous and simple, all at once. I am still jealous of your new camera and its razor sharp images!

Posted by: Heather at December 13, 2006 7:54 PM

Lovely! Both the sweater and your niece!

Posted by: Jan-Knit at December 13, 2006 8:19 PM

This sweater turned out so well! It fits her just right. I love the colors you used, too. What a happy little girl, Ms. Busy Hands.

Posted by: karma at December 13, 2006 10:08 PM

So good to see the pics of your neice wearing that wonderful sweater. Once again I say it's fantastic (and squidgy)

Posted by: schrodinger at December 13, 2006 11:28 PM

and of course I mean niece (durr!)

Posted by: schrodinger at December 13, 2006 11:29 PM

aw, that's all kinds of cute! I love the purple and green together.

Posted by: Elli at December 13, 2006 11:46 PM

That is a beautiful sweater! She looks happy. Thank you for the inspiration – I've just bought two Elizabeth Zimmermann books. :-)

Posted by: terhi at December 14, 2006 1:13 AM

Gosh Jess, that's spectacular! The color combo and the color work! You are a knitting goddess!!

Posted by: Aimee at December 14, 2006 2:45 AM

Lorin is a lucky little girl!! The sweater looks just beautiful on her!! You did a wonderful job!

Posted by: Lora at December 14, 2006 7:37 AM

Wow - you did a gorgeous job on that sweater! The colorwork looks absolutely flawless. And taking the time to search for the right colors paid off - that purple is perfect. Well done!

Posted by: Elizabeth at December 14, 2006 9:35 AM

Just beautiful and I'm sure Lorin really loves and appreciates it! What a good auntie you are! :-)

Posted by: Wanda at December 14, 2006 9:48 AM

What a beautiful sweater!

Posted by: kelley at December 14, 2006 10:06 AM

Love it!

Posted by: Kim P at December 14, 2006 10:31 AM

it is adorable! glad you made it through the icelandic yoke test! i'm getting on a kids sweater designing kick lately and this is just going to further my addiction!

Posted by: melissa at December 14, 2006 10:54 AM

it's beautiful! love the colors, the design is simple and effective... really makes me want to try stranded knitting! lucky niece and a great aunt :)

Posted by: amisha at December 14, 2006 11:06 AM

What a great sweater - and I'm glad it's a little big, so she can get an extra season or two out of it.

Posted by: MeBeth at December 14, 2006 11:24 AM

lovely! what a lucky niece!

Posted by: amanda at December 14, 2006 11:27 AM

The sweater is lovely - and it's so soft...I NEED morehouse merino yarn...ok maybe NEED isn't the right word...

Posted by: Marie at December 14, 2006 1:44 PM

It's absolutely lovely!

Posted by: Shayo at December 14, 2006 2:48 PM

You have a lucky and obviously well educated niece, your sweater turned out beautifully.

Posted by: Amanda at December 14, 2006 6:24 PM

bravo! love the sweater! what a lucky niece!

Posted by: Allegra at December 15, 2006 12:36 AM

Congratulations on a sweater well done!

Posted by: jessie at December 15, 2006 6:16 AM

It is breath-taking!

Posted by: Gina at December 15, 2006 11:33 AM

You are an outstanding knitter! That sweater is so cute.

Side note: If you are still looking for an orchid, think about an oncidium named Sharry Baby. Easy to grow with fragrant blooms.

Posted by: chica at December 15, 2006 3:10 PM

gorgeous sweater! the purple really *pops*, it was a great choice against that grey!

Posted by: Erin at December 15, 2006 4:09 PM

The sweater looks wonderful - you've got one happy niece there!

Posted by: Delica at December 15, 2006 5:36 PM

this is officially the last time that i'm going to comment on how great that shade of purple is. tres adorable!

Posted by: carrie m at December 15, 2006 8:14 PM

That is so awesome! i'm trying to design a summer dress out of butterfly 10 for my niece who is three states away. Being an aunt rocks!

Posted by: Rae at December 16, 2006 10:08 AM

The sweater and colors are just lovely! I love how the gray makes the green and purple stand out even more! Nice job.

Posted by: Kathode Ray Tube at December 16, 2006 1:26 PM

Lovely...too bad that they grow out of them so quickly.

Posted by: Patricia at December 16, 2006 3:33 PM

The colors are awesome, and I love the simplicity of your design. I'd wear this one myself!

Posted by: Leslie at December 16, 2006 4:20 PM

This must be one of the most beautiful sweaters I've seen for a long time - you outdid yourself! Absolutely amazing work!

Posted by: Dipsy D. at December 17, 2006 4:57 AM

What wonderful colors -- I love how the dark grey makes the purple and green "pop". Lucky girl!

Posted by: Pam at December 17, 2006 8:06 PM


Posted by: BrownPants at December 17, 2006 8:14 PM

It's a beauty! Nice, nice work. She's lucky to have such a talented and thoughtful aunt!

Posted by: doulicia at December 18, 2006 9:17 AM

The sweater is absolutely beautiful. I love the color combination. You did a great job!

Posted by: Sam at December 27, 2006 10:18 AM

Wow ... how cool is that! I'm so impressed ... I saw it starting out ... its turned out so well. V Clever!

Posted by: sarah at January 4, 2007 4:16 PM
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