Sweater Workshop: The Manicouagan Pullover (it's a free pattern!)

I love drop-stitch knitting patterns. It's so much fun to drop the stitch! It feels so wrong, even though I know it's right.

The Manicouagan Pullover by Alex Capshaw-Taylor, from the Winter 2014 issue of Interweave Knits (get the free pattern here!)

The drop-stitch patterns I've knitted are all scarves, so imagine my delight when I came across a drop-stitch sweater! It's Alex Capshaw-Taylor's Manicouagan Pullover, from Interweave Knits Winter 2014.

This sweater is what happens when the steam-punk style meets the classic Henley pullover. Because I'm me, I got curious about the origin of the Henley style, so I did a little research. Apparently, the crew teams of the English town of Henley-on-Thames wore shirts that were collarless with a button placket below the round neckline. This style became popular with the masses and the Henley was born.

Anyway, the Manicouagan sweater was featured in the very first episode of Knitting Daily TV with Vickie Howell, where Knits editor Lisa Shroyer explained the ins and outs (and drops!) of the pullover.

The sweater is knit from the bottom up, in pieces. After knitting the ribbing, a lifeline is drawn through all of the stitches. This is to keep the drop stitches from raveling all the way through the ribbing. The lifeline remains in the finished sweater, holding up those dropped stitches, which is a pretty neat trick. Here's what the process looks like:


   Here's Lisa threading in the lifeline. This occurs in the last row of the ribbing. The lifeline is threaded in using a tapestry needle, through the live stitches on the needle. (Lisa is using contrasting yarn. In the real thing, the lifeline yarn is the same yarn that's used in the sweater.
Here's a swatch of the stitch pattern for the sweater. The knit columns between the cables are the stitches that you'll drop at the end of the knitting process for each piece. It's hard to wait!
This swatch shows the bound off top edge, with the stitches waiting to be dropped. As the piece was bound off, Lisa popped the drop stitches off the needle and then kept binding off.

You can see them at the top of the swatch, looking like little pearls, patiently waiting to become a long column of dropped stitches.

This set of swatches shows the stitch pattern before dropping, and after. Note how much wider the swatch is after the stitches are dropped. It's essential to swatch for this sweater, and take an accurate gauge count. The gauge called for is 22 stitches and 25 rows = 4 inches. When counting stitches to determine your gauge, count the two stitches in each cable, plus the dropped stitches.


Detail of the drop stitch cable pattern

The Manacouagan Pullover is such a unique design, and it's a great three-season addition to your wardrobe! In the KDTV episode that this was featured in, Vickie said she would be able to wear it in the warmer climate of her home in Austin, Texas.

The Manacauagan Pullover is a free download, so get your pattern now. With this sweater workshop, you're all ready to cast on!

These sorts of patterns and in-depth how-tos are what you get in Interweave Knits. If you're not already a subscriber, jump on board and subscribe today! You won't regret it.


P.S. Drop-stitch patterns: yay or nay? Cast your vote in the comments!


Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

43 thoughts on “Sweater Workshop: The Manicouagan Pullover (it's a free pattern!)

  1. I’m a fifty nine year old knitter who’s been knitting for 54 years. I love doing a drop stitch on a scarf, and I have a wrap in graded golds it worked well on. I have seen it used well in an afghan, too. However, the practical problems of wearing it in a sweater would deter me. Rings, pens, the knobs on the kitchen cupboards; all of that catches in this. Think carefully before putting this much work into a garment!
    Thanks for the tutorial, though, it would be very helpful for a beginner to see this way to do drop stitch.

  2. I really love this sweater and the idea of a sweater with drop stitch seems really fun. I’m wondering how one determines the amount of ease when putting in the lifeline? It has to have enough give to stretch with the sweater (it expands after the dropped stitches are raveled back) and the ribbing at the bottom. Wouldn’t want to get it too tight to ease over the body. Suggestions?

  3. Yest to drop stitch patterns. I have not tried one yet, but am getting up the nerve to do it! More choices of patterns means I will likely try one sooner!

  4. Love the look, but think of the snags with all those loose dropped-stitch columns. My fingers would snag in the sleeves, I suspect. The safety yarn at the bottom might be a problem for me -why not do a loose bind-off and YO on the return row for the “drop-stitch” stitches? Same effect, only integral, not an extra yarn strung through. MY extra yarn would surely be the first to break!

  5. If you are LOOKING 4 the PATTERN, just right click on the picture. This will open a page with the pattern, picture, and a comment box like this one. Happy Knitting ‘YA ALL…………

  6. This pattern is nice with the drop stitch making it airy, but the overall pattern is not very flattering. I wouldn’t try it. It makes the model look pear shaped, and I already have enough trouble with that…

  7. Click the picture of the sweater at the top of the page and it will open the page to download the pattern

    i personally am not interested in drop stitch patterns for sweaters and tops, but they work nicely for shawls and wraps that are less likely to get tangled up during everyday wear.

  8. Nay for me…I have been knitting for almost 60 years and while I love the style and would knit it to wear, too many chances of it being snagged on things with the dropped stitches….I personally think it looks much better without the dropped stitches. Barb

  9. Nay to dropped stitches. As has been said, they’d probably catch on protrusion. More importantly – all that energy into knitting for nothing! A yarn over twice or three times would give the same (snagging) effect.

  10. Nay to dropped stitches. As has been said, they’d probably catch on protrusion. More importantly – all that energy into knitting for nothing! A yarn over twice or three times would give the same (snagging) effect.

  11. I think dropped stitches are great.Since I am also a long time weaver, I would combine the two by weaving different colours and textured yarns ( odds and ends) through the dropped stitches. I made a sweater like this a long time ago but using yarn over rather than dropped stitches.

  12. I’m unconvinced that the loose texture would make this “three-season”. The dropped stitches make the garment see-through, so the wearer would need a ‘modesty’ layer: Even over a tank, wool is WARM when layered.

    Maybe if it were a vest. . .