Never EVER too many black sweaters. . .

Once the weather got warm this spring, I really missed my black cardigan.  Last year I made Miriam, and I find myself wearing it at least once a week when the weather is cool.  But I really can't wear wool once it warms up.   Though Miriam isn't a big bulky sweater, it is a warm one.

So, I interrupted my regularly scheduled knitting (Breckon, you are who I am thinking of) to make a black sweater I can wear in the spring and summer.  I chose Bonne Marie Burns' Abria sweater, because I have enjoyed knitting her patterns in the past, and it's similar to Miriam, but not the same.
I think it's going to be just the thing.
It's made of Juniper Moon Farm Zooey yarn, a linen/cotton blend.  As you can see, it's kind of a thick and thin yarn.  I think it's nice to have some texture in this simple design, although it may not be the optimal way to show off the lace detail.  Also, it came in black, which turned out not to be so easy to find in a dk yarn that blended cotton with silk or linen.  I hoped the linen would enhance the drape and body of the cotton yarn, and it seems fine.  Also, it's not too warm.  Really, though I might appreciate those sleeves after dark or when I'm somewhere with too cool air conditioning, what I really wanted was the look a cardigan can give to finish an outfit.  Warm wasn't wanted.

The construction of this sweater was really fun.  It was the first time I have knitted a sweater from the top down.  First, I knit the back of the neckband, then picked up stitches for the back and sleeves.  Then, stitches are picked up for the front.  There are short rows and some nice shaping.  I made it as written, except to add some rows of length at the end -- two extra 8-row repeats of the short row shaping, without the decreases (though I did the decreases as written up to that point).  I don't know if my row gauge was off, or if my torso is long, but when I tried on the sweater before the ribbing, it wasn't long enough.  So, I got to see for myself one of the advantages of knitting from the top down.  I also used one size smaller needle for the bottom ribbing, and two sizes smaller for the sleeve ribbing.

Initially, I used the same size as the rest of the sweater for the sleeve ribbing, as directed.  I think I was afraid after the slightly too-tight sleeves of Miriam (which do stretch on wearing, by the way).  But the sleeves on this sweater are fairly generous, and cotton and linen are inelastic.  So, the first time I wore the sweater, the sleeves stretched unattractively at the elbows.  It was but the work of a couple of TV viewings to unravel and reknit them, and totally worth it.  Here's the "before" picture of the sleeves:


  • Chic Knits Abria, knit to size 38
  • Juniper Moon Farms Zooey, 60% cotton, 40% linen, 284 yards in 100 grams, color 10 (Anise) 3 skeins (from Webs)
  • size 4 (US) needles for the body,  size 3 for the bottom ribbing, and size 2 for sleeve ribbing
  • knit as written except for two extra repeats without decreasing of the front (wrap) shaping rows, and using smaller needles for ribbing.
  • On Ravelry here


  1. As always...simply stunning garment Pam. Thanks for including the information on the sleeves because as I read I wondered why you had chosen the smaller needles for the rim...good choice after seeing the original. Do most sweater patterns start from the bottom up? It makes sense to start from the top down because of sizing, and I am wondering if this is a new thing? Thoughts?

    1. Thanks Sharon! Yes, in my experience, the "usual" way to knit a sweater is from the bottom up. I think knitting from the bottom is easier -- easier to visualize, and the shaping is easier. Or maybe we just think it is. Top down is newer, I think, but more logical from a fit perspective -- you can knit down to the correct length for body and sleeves.

      And about the ribbing trim on the sleeves - most instructions have you use needles one or two sizes smaller for ribbing -- so I was surprised when this pattern didn't. I think not going down a size would have worked with a yarn that had some wool -- wool is more elastic and holds its shape better than cotton/linen does.

  2. You're so very right -- never EVER too many black sweaters! That one is definitely a keeper -- and so worth fixing up the sleeves. I bet you'll wear it a lot! Just lovely.

  3. that cardigan look awesome, and I totally agree- you can never have too many black sweaters. I need more black sweaters in my closet, now that I think about it. And the best part about the top down approach is trying it on as you go, as you know!


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