That Hand Spun Sweater and a review of The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters by Ann Budd.

That Hand Spun Sweater and a review of The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters by Ann Budd.

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I’ve been asked lots of questions about my hand spun sweater, which I have shown off on the podcast (Ep. 57), so I thought I would do a quick recap to let you know how it came about and what I used.

Materials Used:

Merino and silk in Bohemia with white space (a one-of-a-kind) with Ryeland in light grey from

I spun an aran/chunky weight yarn got 382 grams, 492.3 meters across two skeins.

Using this book…

I adapted one of the yoke sweater patterns using the tables provided to work out my own top-down, in the round pattern.

It knit up really quickly and if it hadn’t turned so warm here I would have finished it in just two weeks… needless to say I am smitten!

This is the easily one of the best sweaters (in terms of fit and finish) I have ever made myself.

Would I adapt my pattern for next time? Possibly… here and there… my bust is bigger than my body size indicates and so I might try adapting the fit at the back by decreasing less there than in the front. I might also be tempted to tackle some sleeves too, maybe with less increases across the shoulder.

I used most of both balls of yarn and so am thrilled that I used less than 380g… at just 334g.

So what about Ann’s book? Would I recommend it and use it again?

Yes, yes and yes I definitely will!

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters

Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges

Ann Budd
Published by Interweave
  • ISBN-10: 1596684836
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596684836

This book made it really easy to understand different approaches to top down sweaters, from increasing to sleeve setting choice.

There are some simple patterns to follow, but what I like even more is that there are lots of chart information with gauge vs. stitch count and decrease/increase numbers that can help you make up your very own pattern… and it’s really not as daunting as it sounds… honestly! I found it easiest to draw my pattern quite large on a bit of paper, adding my body measurements to the relevant bits, i.e. bust, waist, top hip, true hip, etc and then next to each put my pattern workings out, so how many stitches I need to decrease at the waist and increase for each hip measurement. I also noted down how many inches to knit from the bust to get my waist measurement. I continued until I had a usable and detailed schematic of my sweater design.

Knitting top down meant that I could try on as I went and so making changes, or checking details was so much easier. I can’t say that I would ever fancy knitting a sweater bottom up from now on, unless fit wasn’t a factor.

I hope this helps and inspires you?