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The Palma Sweater: A unique knit

May 30, 2012

    
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!

Cheers,



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


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Comments

fraserco@2 wrote
on Jun 10, 2012 5:09 AM

Also tried to order this book @ $16 and was told it cost $24 @ checkout.  I am only interested in the Palma sweater (for my daughter).  With my hours being cut back at work recently I will have more time to knit but less money to spend.

selenaj wrote
on Jun 9, 2012 11:03 AM

Tried to order the book that was on SALE for $16.00, but could only order it for $24.  Wanted to make the palma sweater.  What gives with the price?

Mostitch wrote
on Jun 4, 2012 12:56 PM

I hope, hope,hope to make this sweater; not just for me, but my 41 year old daughter, too.  It looks like a design suitable for both of us.  What makes a feminine sweater for me?  A design that is age and shape appropriate for the wearer and a color that the wearer likes and looks good in. Subtle detail goes a much further for me than ruffles - although I love them.

margiev2 wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 11:26 PM

This is indeed lovely - gorgeous detail on the back - but who, besides the model, would it flatter? Might we see a picture of the whole sweater, not the model's (admittedly beautiful) hair?

NancyM@26 wrote
on Jun 2, 2012 8:46 AM

I just ordered the book without problem. About sizing: we smaller girls are just as frustrated by patterns whose smallest size is 38", or even larger. Scaling down is as much of a pain as scaling up. Using finer yarn and/or smaller needles is not always a viable option, especially when the yarn called for is already light, such as sportweight. So I guess we will all have to admire each other's sized patterns from afar.

csew wrote
on Jun 1, 2012 2:25 PM

I love Knitting Daily and your Blog Kathleen.

But I'm not so sure about Interweave.  On May 30, I tried to order the book Essentially Feminime Knits and had a problem with the system recognizing my payment info.  After unsuccessfully trying to find a customer service phone numbe, I followed their instructions and emailed the Customer Service Dept the same day, and received a notice stating "they would resond as quickly as they can."  As of today, I have heard nothing. It does make one wonder what would happen if I had already paid for an item and had a problem!!  Unfortunately, they lost a sale and a customer.

csew wrote
on Jun 1, 2012 2:25 PM

I love Knitting Daily and your Blog Kathleen.

But I'm not so sure about Interweave.  On May 30, I tried to order the book Essentially Feminime Knits and had a problem with the system recognizing my payment info.  After unsuccessfully trying to find a customer service phone numbe, I followed their instructions and emailed the Customer Service Dept the same day, and received a notice stating "they would resond as quickly as they can."  As of today, I have heard nothing. It does make one wonder what would happen if I had already paid for an item and had a problem!!  Unfortunately, they lost a sale and a customer.

on May 31, 2012 8:46 AM

The patterns in the book look lovely, but the sizing is pretty ridiculous.  Yes, I know it's a pain to grade larger sizes.  Yes, I know putting them in adds length to the directions and potentially the page count of the book.  On the other hand, the lack of sizes over 44"  (my bust size in, say, tenth grade) guarantees that I'll never buy this book!  This is the same reason I never bought "French Girl Knits," even though I loved several of the patterns.  Interweave generally publishes books and magazines with a very wide size range, and I appreciate that.  I'd hate to see it backslide.  Makes me wonder if this is a reprint of a non-North American book, because sizing elsewhere isn't as accommodating.

Chris Essler wrote
on May 30, 2012 3:55 PM

Fluid with details, yes that seems feminine to me; unless I am knitting for my little girl shih tzu -- details just get stuck on the fence.

Seriously, I would love a new knit-a-long with something leafy; but I have never been fond of plunging V fronts.  I do love the back.  But if Kathleen decides to do this as a knit along, I am game just for the fun.

StephanieP@9 wrote
on May 30, 2012 1:58 PM

While the construction looks interesting, I can't imagine who this would look good on.  Between the wide waistband and the shawl collar, it would make a skinny person look big.  

LoriS@26 wrote
on May 30, 2012 1:54 PM

ok yes the model's hair is lovely.  

NO do not use a bulkier yarn.  I have knit too many disasters with thick yarn, I am not a toothpick person, so don't even think of going there.  I picture a soft blue sky alpaca type yarn for this.

already ordered the book.  thanks for featuring this sweater.  It is lovely.  Its a cardi its a pullover, no wait, its both!

on May 30, 2012 9:54 AM

OK, I need to say first of all that I like the model's hair. How it tumbles prettily past her shoulders. I would willing give a bar of Ghiardelli chocolate for those locks.

Anyhow, back to the sweater. My greatest concern is fit especially around my petite shoulders. My fear is that this sweater would be constantly falling off my shoulders. But other than that, love it. The indigo hue? Great with jeans. The surprise of the intricate stitches on the back? Like a well-made couture hat. Good milliners (and designers) know how to incorporate elements that keep a garment (or hats) interesting, whether you are coming or going (front vs. back). Does this make sense?

on May 30, 2012 9:45 AM

The Palma sweater looks lovely, but the previous comments are right on...gauge to large for such a design.  I am a petite woman and would look overwhelmed in this sweater.

Also, if I were to knit this sweater I would mirror the cables to off-set the center back design.

The yarn manufacturers certainly would approve of this design.

pladle wrote
on May 30, 2012 8:38 AM

Oh Kathleen, Worsted weight yarn would be much too thick and heavy for a short sleeved sweater, especially with that wide, ribbed collar. I suggest more stitches would make it a longer but much more satisfying project. You can do it!

p.s the sweater is beautiful. but probably not appropriate for a skinny 70 year old?

TammyT wrote
on May 30, 2012 8:20 AM

Gorgeous sweater!  I want one.  :-)  I see that the book is on sale!

I second (third?) the other commenter's advice about gauge.  I would never knit something like this for myself in yarn heavier than sport weight.  I am a 41 bust and adding thickness to myself, particularly in this type of style, is not a good idea.  Because of the shape and the folding over of this design it would become very bulky and unattractive in a heavier yarn.  I know it would be adventurous and a lot of math, but I think it is worth the extra effort to figure out how to modify it without using a thicker yarn.  I think it would be much more flattering that way.

AbbieD@3 wrote
on May 30, 2012 8:02 AM

Another concern with using a thicker yarn/larger needle would be the row height.  I haven't done a whole lot of pattern adjustments, but it seems like that would be significant for the cable pattern in the back, especially a pattern repeat that long.

giuliacorte wrote
on May 30, 2012 5:59 AM

Hi Kathleen,

I do like your comment and most of it would fit for me, too. With one exception: I would never use a needle size over 4 (mm) for a feminine looking sweater for me. This is what I learned from Big Girls Knits, and I think they are right.

Soft, flowing garment, following my curves or supporting my silhouett are what I consider feminine - the material is secundary.

So for me it will be some more knitting math than you described. But as you wrote, the sketch is soooo helpful.

Thank you for this one!

Ulrike from Langenlois, Austria