make. wear. love. west coast: the retreat designs

Each year, I create a design mini-collection for our fall retreat in Maine. Some of my favorite sweaters come from these little collections, and so when we decided to run our first west coast retreat, my brain immediately went to sweaters.

Drawing on my own knowledge of the Monterey Peninsula, which is both soaked in sunshine and often quite cool, I decided to create a collection of sweaters that would make great beach-wear.


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(From left to right: Spanish Bay, Sunset Drive, Pescadero.)

The actual release of these patterns will span two days, since Pescadero is a little different than what you’ve seen from me before! So for today, I’m going to start off with the two designs that are built directly into CustomFit: Spanish Bay and Sunset Drive.

Spanish Bay

Ask any knitter what sweater she prefers to wear in warm-again-cold-again weather, and a cardigan will top the list. And there’s lots of truth to those preferences!

Cardigans are easy to take on and off, forgiving in terms of fit, and flattering to all.

And I’ve personally always loved the slightly thicker, cotton store-bought cardigans that I wore on the beach, growing up. Spanish Bay is a nod to that nostalgia.

It’s made in Rowan’s Purelife Revive, which seems to have taken the place of the old Summer Tweed in their yarn line-up. I love this yarn. (For that matter, in terms of summer yarns in general? Rowan’s seriously got it going on.) It’s a lovely, heathered tweedy yarn made out of recycled cotton, silk, and viscose, so you get all of the nuance of color as from a traditional tweed… …but it’s smoother on the hands, less grabby when you knit with it, and all around a pleasure. I knit this sample in a week, and it wasn’t even a chore.

Spanish Bay is built right into CustomFit, so to get your very own, all you need to is fall in love with a yarn – we’ll craft the pattern numbers directly from your gauge. Want a little more detail? Check out Spanish Bay’s pattern page here, or on Ravelry.


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Sunset Drive

Contrary to popular opinion, pullovers make great warm-weather sweaters too! Though it’s absolutely helpful to knit them out of a lighter weight yarn. I’ve stayed away from fingering-weight designs, since I started pursuing a career in the fiber arts – the sad truth is that fingering patterns just don’t sell as well. But many of my pre-design-days sweaters are fingering and I love them all fiercely. Lucky for me (and hopefully you too), designing for CustomFit frees me up design-wise, in this way. As long as the design will look great in other weights as well, I can give fingering sweaters some time in the spotlight! And that’s good, because they deserve it.

You’ll never wear a hand-knit as comfortable as a fingering-weight sweater.

They’re light, they’re comfortable, and their fabric tends to be much, much closer to the kinds of fabric you can find in the store than that which we typically make with our hands. This means that the sweater will move against your body, and feel, more like a store-bought fabric. Except better, because now it fits you perfectly too! With this design, I went the tiniest bit funkier with my stitch patterning. I chose a shaping-on-the-back-only crew neck silhouette, with a super-wide lace panel on the (straight) front. I then added a lace panel on the roll-em-up sleeves, but only to a little bit above the elbow, giving some shape and style to this more relaxed silhouette. I love the result, and I hope you do too.

Thanks to a plethora of sock knitters in recent years, there are some stunning fingering-weight hand-dyes out there. I chose Anzula Squishy, in the Yarnover Truck-exclusive colorway “Minty Unicorn” (this sweater was for Lauren, after all, whose love of mint is well-documented). The tiny arrowhead lace pattern on this sweater is a snap to work, and looks great in Anzula’s wonderful colors.

Sunset Drive is also built right into CustomFit, so whether you’ll come along with me and knit fingering sweaters or not, it can still become your next favorite garment. (Did I mention Anzula also makes one of my favorite worsted-weight MCN blends?) For more detail as always, see either the Sunset Drive page here on my site, or within Ravelry.


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Pescadero

The final sweater in this collection, Pescadero, isn’t built into CustomFit yet. And there’s good reason for that — it’s very different than other sweaters you’ve seen me design so far. So I’ll be back later this week with more detail about Pescadero’s release, and a little bit behind why I created the sweater this way. Until then, have a close-up!

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The next summer sweater KAL is on its way, so get your needles ready – it’s time for warmer-weather knits!

(One final note: Jackie and Amy will be traveling to the TNNA summer show this weekend, so if you’re there, stop by booth #1215 to say hi!)

One thought on “make. wear. love. west coast: the retreat designs

  1. I was interested to read your comment praising fingering-weight sweaters because the fabric looks and feels more like store-bought. For a long time now I have followed your designs with interest but often find myself turning away with the thought, “That looks too much like something you could buy in a store.” Now I see that’s intentional. But for me, a large part of the appeal of hand knitting is that it produces garments that not only feel but LOOK like they were made by hand — not because they are clumsy (though sometimes they are!) but because they have a kind of noncommercial aura … don’t know how else to put it!

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