IWK Fall 2008 Little Blue Sweater

Gallery: Little Blue Sweater by Simona Merchant-Dest

Interweave Knits Fall 2008Notes from Sandi: The key to this sweater’s success is to determine, for yourself, where you want the ribbing to end and the cabled section to begin. Do you want the ribbing to come right up under your bust? Or do you want it to fall somewhere in the vicinity of your waist? As you can see, the ribbing ended up in different places on all of us, so pick the look that you prefer, and customize it for your own measurements. To mimic the style shown in the magazine, have the ribbing end halfway between your underbust and your natural waist–this seemed to be the most attractive point on most of us Gallery Gals as well!

As you can see, the same sweater looks very different on different women! We give general suggestions for customization for your inspiration. Only you can choose how you want your sweaters to fit and which customizations will work best for you and your beautiful self!

Some links you  might find helpful:

Measuring yourself and your clothing

About positive and negative ease

Measuring tutorial with photos


Little Blue Sweater

Sample garment shown is 34.5″

Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Sandi Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Sandi


Her bust: 40″
5.5″ negative ease

Size: The yarn, the gauge, and the stitch pattern give this sweater quite a bit of stretch, so the 5.5″ of negative ease shown here really doesn’t seem too unreasonable. However, the beautiful stitch pattern is distorted just a bit too much! Also, and this is a personal thing: you can clearly see the beige cami I am wearing underneath. I’m not so happy with that look. (In the magazine, this sweater is shown worn over another top, so if that’s the look you’re going for, ignore this part!) Hence, this is too much negative ease as far as I am concerned, at least in the cabled section. The 43.5″ would be too big (3.5″ positive ease), so I could probably get away with knitting the 39″. If I wanted it just a little bigger, I might even consider going up a needle size. Note that I kind of like how the ribbed section fits–it doesn’t bag out at all. I could compromise: Knit the ribbed section smaller, as it is here, and then increase up so that the cabled section was the bigger size. Ribbing: I actually kind of like where the ribbing falls on me–about halfway between my natural waist and my underbust. If it fell at my waist, it might bag out a bit just above that, and if it fell exactly at my underbust, it might look funny on me. Sleeves: Not bad, but I can’t help wondering if they are just a bit too long. They seem to widen that entire top portion of me…

Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Erin Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Erin


Her bust: 38″
3.5″ negative ease

Size: Way. Too. Small. (Erin is such a trooper.) If Erin made the 39″, she might be able to breathe a bit better, and the stitch pattern would not be as distorted as it is here. Ribbing: I think the ribbing needs to be lower. Here, it overemphasizes her full bust, and visually widens her hips. If the break between the ribbing and the cables were at her waist, or even halfway between waist and underbust, the effect would be more balanced. Sleeves and hem: The sleeves are actually fine, in terms of length. Erin might want them a bit longer, maybe about an inch or so. The hem needs to be about 5″ longer.

Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Stefanie Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Stefanie


Her bust: 34″
0.5″ positive ease

Size: I think the size is great on her! Ribbing: I like where it falls on Stefanie–it emphasizes all the right curves. Sleeves and length: I think the hem could come down just a bit, about an inch. The sleeves are adorable on her.

Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Debbie


Her bust: 34.5″
Zero ease

Size: It fits well, as far as size goes…but that ribbing needs to be lower by about two inches. Notice that the ribbing is quite a bit higher in front than in back, because Debbie Is Not A Refrigerator—in other words, her front has curves that the sweater has to travel over before it gets to the ribbing, while her back is a straight shot down. Bringing the ribbing down will help to even things out a bit. For Debbie, who has such a long waist, I’m thinking she could even bring the ribbing down to her natural waist, instead of halfway between her waist and underbust. That would be a pretty look on her–the cables for her upper half, and the ribbing to lay smoothly over her hips. Sleeves and such: The hem should be longer, please, by about two or three inches. However, on Debbie’s delicate frame, I think the overall effect would be cuter if the sleeves were about two inches shorter.

Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Kat Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Kat


Her bust: 40″
5.5″ negative ease

Size: I think this has too much negative ease in the bust area (see how the pattern is distorted?), so for Kat, I’d recommend she go up to the the 39″ size. However, Kat has slender arms and a slender waist, so she might want to consider making the 39″ in the bust area, but make smaller sizes in the sleeves and ribbing sections. Example: Cast on for the smaller size at the hem, then increase for the cabled section; work the smaller sleeves and adjust the armholes accordingly. Or…there’s always needle size changes. Ribbing: Because of Kat’s slender waist, the high placement of the ribbing looks really cute on her. I think she could leave this as is, if that is the look she wanted. Length and sleeves: I think the hem could come down about an inch, not much more. The sleeves seem to be a bit long in proportion to the overall sweater on Kat.

Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Toni Knitting Gallery - Little Blue Sweater Toni


Her bust: 33.5″
1″ positive ease

Size: This looks a teensy bit big on Toni, unless she wants to knit it with a size smaller needles OR wear layers underneath. Guess what?! Toni is a layers kind of gal, so the size is actually just perfect for her. Ribbing: I think the ribbing is too high for her long torso–it kind of smushes her vertically (“smushes,” that’s a technical term, right?). I’d start the ribbing earlier so it falls halfway between her underbust and her natural waist. Length and sleeves: I’d like a slightly lower hemline on Toni, to show off her long and lovely frame. As for the sleeves, I’d like them to be a bit shorter, maybe about two inches shorter, so that they do not overwhelm her petite self.

Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Knitting Patterns, Sweaters

56 thoughts on “IWK Fall 2008 Little Blue Sweater

  1. I love these galleries! This is the sweater I want to knit, and since I am 5 feet tall and wear a 2x, I make a lot of changes to every pattern i knit. The pictures help me to envision what changes I need to make it fit me. Thank you, thank you!

  2. I must say, this is a pretty pattern. There is room for play here. And utilizing the galleries, there is plenty of opportunity to make this item fit correctly. I love the galleries as well. Thank you everyone for taking the time to show and tell!

    Cherrie C. IWK Fall 2008 Little Blue Sweater.

  3. I am not fond of holes that size in clothing unless you plan to always layer it over another top. I would not make this because of the holes. I like the body style but I would ditch the open work in a stand alone garment for modesty sake.

  4. This sweater looked nice on everyone. I agree the sleeve length could be unflattering. It is intriguing to think of ways to make it work. The Gallery is wonderful for that. Keep up the good work, brave souls.

  5. This is a nice pattern, but needs a lot of fiddling to make it fit properly.The ribbing just doesn’t seem to start or end in the right place for most It’s like you need another pattern repeat to lengthen it or one less to accentuate the under bust area with a closer fit and on almost every one there is something off at the shoulder line that makes it rise up in the front(feels like it needs a ruffle to make the front longer in the center, reminds me of a regular dress being worn by a pregnant woman)

  6. Cute pattern but the most flattering fit seems to be on the maninequin (The final example). This is becoming a frequent trend unfortunately with many of these galleries – Open lacework and close fitting ribbing really only look attractive on a thin figure. And many examples do not allow enough ease to allow the knit fabric to drape properly as was designed.

  7. This pattern didn’t really strike me in the magazine but I love it now that I’ve seen it on Stephanie. I love these employee galleries – I wish you could do them for every sweater!

  8. Cute sweater, but not practical. The open lacework means you’d have to either be fairly immodest or wear a skin-toned tee shirt underneath. Also, unless you achieve a perfect fit, the huge swath of ribbing on the front just doesn’t work.
    It’s sort of like they couldn’t decide whether they wanted to make a lace sweater or a ribbed sweater and decided to split the difference.

  9. I am so thankful you chose not to include a comment about Bertha’s arms or lack thereof. I had gotten to the point where I couldn’t stand to even read these anymore because of the tacky, tasteless mockery. As someone who lives in China, working with disabled orphans, I find absolutely no humor in mocking those who are different than us.

    I know you were just “joking”, and it was about an inanimate object, but reality is that there are many people living with the reality of life with a missing limb, and it really isn’t funny for them to hear jokes about it.

    Thank you for avoiding the trap, and I hope you keep it up!

    You look great with your new weight loss!

  10. I love the gallery. I have had a few disappointments with things that I have knitted for myself. They look beautiful in the picture. I spend put blood, sweat and tears in to the final product only to hate the way it looks on me. I wish I could have a gallery for every pattern I choose!

  11. No thanks for me. It highlights EVERY possible figure flaw: the tight ribbing means that the waistband of your jeans reads as belly-blob, it makes one’s bosoms look huge (which some of us don’t really need to emphasize any more) and the cropped waist seems to hit everyone at a weird and unflattering location. Stephanie, who normally looks gorgeous, looks downright *paunchy* in this number. Maybe for the young and thin (and small breasted) it’d be cute, but I don’t see what everyone’s raving about. I’d look like a big-boobied linebacker with a beergut in this number. Blech!

  12. I like the pattern and the color of this sweater. I would probably make it longer because I have a post baby body that just doesn’t want to spring back. Maybe the pattern would draw the eye away from my bulge.

  13. I’m detecting a trend – all of these sweaters need serious modifications to look reasonably good on a human woman. What’s wrong with this picture?

  14. I love these galleries! Actually Sandi, I think the sweater looks better on you than anyone else. All you need to do is wear a dark cami or tank underneath & it would look fantastic.

  15. I have to admit that I’m with Fiberlicious on this one – how can this be considered a winner in any sense if on every “real” body, it requires modifications?

    Heck, it even needs modification for BERTHA.

    What’s up with that?

  16. I don’t hate this sweater. It’s not at the top of the ‘to-do’ pile in my patterns, but it’s not the sweater from hell. I do hate some of this commentary. Since when is a full bust and wide hips a problem?!?! Embrace the curves with love ladies. As long as you’re healthy it’s all good.

  17. The connection between the cables and the ribbed cuffs is off. I think that if you use smaller needles for the bottom part it would flow more to the top. It is too bulky were the cables start and the ribbing ends. Also make it longer. The width to the length is not pleasing for the eye. Marthe

  18. Thank goodness – I was worried after the Tweed Jacket gallery but I really like this one. Love the colour (Sandi – want to borrow my cami that is just that colour?!) and have some lying around waiting to be knitted up that might well do, so this is a serious possible! I also thought it looked very good on Sandi despite being able to see the point about whether it suited a big-busted gal or not, but maybe each needs to try out for herself, everyone’s a different shape, no matter what size. I have to say I support the idea of even the curvier women wearing fitted clothes, especially if she is not 6 feet tall, otherwise, we just look like blocks, it is ok to emphasise curves, no matter how well covered 😉
    What I don’t like on any of the models is the sleeves – they make everyone’s arms look pudgy round the elbows, which is a shame (especially if your arms aren’t really skinny or if you’re over 40!). I think I’d leave off the ribbing, adjust the length to suit me (big-busted, so careful with half-length sleeves!) and perhaps do a light picot edging instead or even just something really fine and plain at the end of the pattern.
    I continue to think the Gallery is a marvellous idea – bring on the complete one for every pattern!

  19. Umm, of course it needs modifications to fit all of the Gallery Ladies – they are putting a sample size on five or six different women (and Bertha) to give an example of what it would look like on different body shapes. The one size is hardly going to fit everone spot on, is it? Yes, it would be great if they had two different sample sizes to give a better idea of how the garment would fit if the sizing were correct, but I understand that the time required to knit up a second sample might preclude the team from running the gallery at all. I think that what is marvellous about these galleries is that you get a basic idea of what the style of the garment looks like on different people – then, using all the great resizing and shaping techniques that have been shared on this forum, you can customize it to fit YOU – after all, none of us is exactly the same and if you’re going to spend 40 hours knitting the flipping thing, it might as well fit properly!

    Lovely jumper, and thanks for the hard work, Sandi et al.

  20. I may be in the minority here, but I think it looks best on Bertha, I usually like it when a sweater type garment just ‘hangs’ (as you categorized it). Otherwise, if it stretches over bust, or ribs, or waist, it looks like it does’t fit at all. I like the long, slender look for myself – since I am just about five foot one and that look makes me look taller (such as it is – LOL). I also like the openweave pattern, but would definitely wear it over another thin shirt. The sleeves look fine the length they are.

  21. I don’t think it looks great on anyone here either although it is a sweater I would consider knitting. This one is a design you would have to consider your own figure measurements on though…I think the cropped style is wrong for this pattern.

  22. This pattern would require careful sizing so it doesn’t look like the open ribbing is stretched across the body–particularly across the bust line.

  23. Ribbing that comes up that high is only flattering on the most flat-chested, zero-hipped women. If I were to knit this, I’d have to totally redesign it–so why bother?

  24. I have to agree that the sweater looks best on Bertha. I would love to see more non coat sweaters that drape nicely rather than cling.
    Perhaps some editors advice for those who want the sweater to fit as it does on Bertha would be better than telling us how to make it tighter on her.

  25. I think this looked lovely on Sandi (don’t change a thing!) and Stephanie and rather old-ladyish on Bertha. I love these galleries; I think the idea of using the same size on different people makes me think outside the box more, even though on some people some sweaters wind up looking a little ludicrous. I never would have considered making a size _smaller_ than my bust measurement, but with the galleries I can see a lot of places where that really works! I disaagree with the comments about the ribbing being only for flat-chested women. I haven’t been flat-chested since 4th grade but I would consider making this sweater…if only I had infinite time 🙂

  26. It’s the sleeves that kill this design. I think this sweater would look much better with long sleeves. I agree that everyone seems to need a larger size – is the lacy stitch pattern at the top supposed to be THAT stretched out?

  27. I like this one, a lot! I think I’ll put this one on the needles soon! I’ve got just the right wool in my stash… I had knitted it up into something sadly that pattern was not printed correctly and I found out after I had the front panel knitted and I had to frog… I’m happy to find something that would work perfectly with that projects wool!

  28. I also love the gallery. I even think it’s valuable to see a sweater looking ludicrous, because not every pattern is right for every one of us. If I see one looking ludicrous and the body shape sort of matches mine, then I can see it’s not for me. As someone else said, why spend all that time knitting and only then find out it doesn’t look right.

  29. OHHHH! This one is a winner! I am so glad to see things on you “real women” because often the things I THOUGH would look like crap on me, based on these galleries, might actually look nice! This sweater is an example of that. I think properly sized (and in most cases, lengthened a bit) this sweater would look great on everyone.

    One of the things I’ve learned from these galleries is that I’ve been making my sweaters too big all these years. Negative ease is NOT my enemy. A snugger fit is often a better fit- within reason. BTW, you look AMAZING, Sandi!! You are seriously looking fit and slim.

  30. This really is very helpful. It would be convenient to shown the size of the sample (super small, no doubt) and the actual dimensions. I guess it’s possible your knitters are so perfect that the sample exactly conforms to the pattern dimensions; mine are never perfect. this information would help make adjusting the pattern easier.

  31. So on most models, the ribbing needs adjusting. Is this sweater knit bottom up? If so what is your recommendation? Do a provisional cast on and start the knitting above the ribbing? For me this is how wonderful sweaters become UFO, finding that the adjustment I need to make requires me to frogged the whole thing.

  32. It definitely fits best on Bertha. Not everything is designed to be skin tight. Ribbing is a design feature in this sweater and is not meant to be so tight it’s stretched. You should have asked the designer’s opinion.

    I like the galleries but the opinions expressed are very unlike mine.

  33. This one left me cold, in more ways than one. That’s a LOT of holes to cover, somehow, and a T just doesn’t “go” with the lace, in my book. The striking thing about this sweater is the ribbing. It makes everyone look extremely short-waisted. It’s not high enough to be empire, but too high for a waist. Sorry, this gets 2 thumbs down from me. Interesting color, though.

  34. My comment is a follow-up to NancyD’s comment about showing the dimensions of the sample sweater. I’m one of the technical editors for Knits, but I didn’t work on the Little Blue Sweater and therefore don’t know its exact measurements. I can tell you that for the patterns I *do* edit, I try to make sure the gauge and schematic measurements match the sample garment. If necessary, I recalculate the the dimensions for the non-sample sizes based on the actual gauge(s) measured from the sample. I don’t know if the other technical editors do the same thing, but whenever possible I like to relay exactly how the finished garment really turned out, instead of offering a theory of what should have happened under perfect knitting conditions. Those perfect conditions may never materialize, but at least I can report accurately what one real-live knitter was able to achieve with the sample.

  35. Love the gallery!!! I have the same question as Cris. If I wanr the ribbing to start farther down from the bust, how would I adjust the rest of the patterns—add on one more repeat to the lacey part?… your tutorials are wonderful about measuring, but how and where exactly is the shortening/lengthing done so the rest of the sweater is not distorted??? Please help.

  36. I liked this top (truth be told, I succumbed to all of the tops in the blue period), and it is good to see how the differences in shape can change the look of the top.

    This is the type of top that would also look good over a white button down top, a style that seems to have come back into fashion a bit.

  37. The top itself is pretty. However, unless your whole skin color is pure white like Bertha. It might look better if the shirt you wore undearneath it wasn’t white but a neutral or darker color like the one Stephanie has on. I wonder whether the color of the t-shirt would change how it would llook on the other models?

  38. I like this sweater more, now that I’ve seen it on a variety of ladies. I’d wear it with a sharply contrasting tight t-shirt underneath. 🙂 Now THAT would be fun!

  39. I really enjoy knitting lacy things, and I will probably use this pattern in some way, somewhere, but no thanks for the ribbing. I am one who really has no waist, and anything that cinches in right there is a no-go for me.

  40. You know what would be great help? Probably no one would go for this….but I would be so grateful if these awesome real-women models wouldn’t mind providing us their waist measurements! In the “for instance” of this sweater in particular, it would be so helpful to know what inch-age is creating which stretch-age in the ribbing! 😉

    And ZOINKS! Why has no one said how stunning Kat, in her shockingly pretty long red locks, looks in this shade of deep turquoise? Kat if I were you I’d make one of these for myself _yesterday_.

  41. With the color being so dark, can’t really see the pattern. Additionally, the holes draw too much attention. Its like a sea of dark “who knows what” with holes. Being unable to see the pattern between the holes, the holes do not make much sense. I have an idea the perspective would be different if it were knitted in a lighter color. One thing for certain, I do not like the three holes right over the top of each breast.

  42. Really, the galleries are awesome. It’s amazing how different the garments look on different people, and how different the people look in different garments! It’s no wonder what I knit almost never fits the way I’d like it to. I need to pay much more attention to my measurements and garment shape.

    Thanks so much for this. The gallery concept is worthy of a whole magazine of its own.

  43. StacyC wrote re: IWK Fall 2008 Little Blue Sweater
    on Aug 12, 2008 2:33 AM
    I don’t think it looks great on anyone here either although it is a sweater I would consider knitting. This one is a design you would have to consider your own figure measurements on though…I think the cropped style is wrong for this pattern.

    DITO! It looks best on Bertha.

  44. The sweater is lovely and I’m all in favor of curvy women wearing it. If you’re concerned with a horizontal line of ribbing cutting you in half, consider raising the ribbing in the middle/chest area in a point. The Big Girl Knits “Bombshell” did that and it looks FANTASTIC on a curvy woman. I would make the sleeves 3/4 length. Great sweater, great gallery, as always.

  45. Now this sweater is a winner. I love the design and since I’ve recently lost weight, I would be more inclined to make myself a fitted sweater. Very nice.

  46. I agree with DebbieW – the ribbing should start under the bustline. I also had the same idea as AnneG – long sleeves, either entirely in the lace or just lace at the top and ribbing to the wrists, echoing the body. I do like the idea of short sleeves tho, but with those I’m also thinking a narrower ribbed cuff would be better. I’d wear a non-neutral cami under it, but I also like the idea of a collared shirt (tho not for me).

  47. I don’t think the large lace holes flatter the larger figures. It almost looks as if the lace is straining against the breasts…which I’m sure it’s not..but the illusion is there. Maybe substituting a smaller lace design..hmmm. I don’t mind the sleeve length. I also love how it looks with a constrasting color tee under. But again, smaller holes!

  48. It would be useful to know how tall the models are, so we have an idea where the bottoms of sleeves and body would fall.

    Also, will you ever do your galleries on anything bigger than the smallest size? I’ve read that the “average” woman out here is something like a size 14 these days. And from what I’ve seen, the sweaters are consistently too small on all except for a couple of you modeling ladies. It would be useful to see how the sweaters would look with a greater range of positive ease — i.e., sizes that would actually fit some of the larger ladies, and show those of us who prefer a bit of positive ease how it looks on the smaller ladies.
    (Not that I’m small, alas, but I prefer more ease in the things that I wear.)

    Speaking of ease — a number of the comments complain that the holes are too big. I’d like to point out that the large amount of negative ease for some of the gals makes the holes bigger (besides distorting the lace pattern), so some of the “hole” issue can be averted by knitting in an appropriate size. Also, the size of yarnover holes in lace is related to the needle and yarn sizes. Lace done with heavier yarn and/or on larger needles will produce larger holes — before the stretch factor comes into it.