As a young child, I remember my wonderfully elegant grandmother wearing her cardigans backwards with the first couple of buttons undone, creating a soft V dipping down from her shoulders. As an adult I turn to her back-revealing style still, as I love wearing her summer frocks from the 50s with cutouts that reveal the small of my back.

The Short Row Sweater is my autumn ode to the grace and distinction of a bit of bare back. Knit in one piece, this wrap of a sweater is a half moon shape, folded around to create a sweeping crisscross in the back. I used the superlatively soft Blue Sky Sport Weight Alpaca for its draping ease and classic simplicity.

I have thrown on this sweater with jeans and flats for some of my last outdoor brunches of the season. At night, I've worn a silk camisole underneath it. And I know that in just a few more short weeks, I'll be pairing it with a long sleeve nautically striped tee. Even layered, the crossed back adds just the right amount of feminine frolic to my step!

Materials

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Gauge

6 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Sizes

Sizes: XSmall/Small (Medium/Large)

  • Finished Chest Circumference: 34 (38) inches
  • Length from Center Front Hem to Back Neck: 19 1/2 (22) inches

Notes

You will work a large portion of this piece in short rows. You work back and forth, turning the work part way through each row instead of continuing to the end of the needle. For a great Short Row Tutorial, click here!

Pattern

Begin

With the longer circular needle, cast on 306 (342) stitches

*K2, P2, repeat from * to end of row.

Continue in 2 x 2 rib until piece measure 3/4-inches from cast on edge.

Right Side (RS): K171 (K189), wrap and turn.

Wrong Side (WS): P36, wrap and turn.

RS: K36, knit the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, K1, wrap and turn.

WS: P38, purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, P1, wrap and turn.

RS: K40, knit the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, K1, wrap and turn.

WS: P42, purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, P1, wrap and turn.

Continue in this pattern, working up to the wrapped stitch, working the wrapped stitch with the wrap picked up, working one more stitch, wrapping and turning. Ending with a RS row.

WS: P178 (P214), purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, P1, wrap and turn.

Separate for Armholes

RS: K42 (K54), place last 6 stitches on a holder, K102 (K114) place last 6 stitches on a holder, K36 (K48), knit the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, K1, wrap and turn. (99, 111 stitches for Right Back. 6 stitches for each Underarm. 96, 108 stitches for Front. 99, 111 stitches for Left Back. This count includes all of the stitches on your needles, not just the stitches you have just worked. This count adds up to your Cast On number.)

Work the Right Back

NOTE: The Right Back is worked over just the next 99 (111) stitches with the row ending at the stitch holder.

WS: Purl across until you reach the stitch holder, turn your work.

RS: Knit to the wrapped stitch, knit the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, K1, wrap and turn.

WS: Purl.

RS: Knit to the wrapped stitch, knit the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, K1, wrap and turn.

Continue in this fashion. On the RS: knit up to the wrapped stitch, knit the wrapped stitch with the picked up wrap, K1, wrap and turn. On the WS: Purl. Ending with the WS row, purling across 96 (108)  stitches.

RS: K96 (K108), knit the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, K2.

WS: Purl.

Cut the yarn. Place all 99 (111) stitches on scrap yarn.

Work the Front

NOTES: Before working the Front, place the Left Back stitches (the 99 (111) stitches to the right of the right stitch holder if RS facing) on either scrap yarn or your 16 inch circular needles. For the Front section, you will be working the 96 (108) stitches between the two stitch holders.

With the wrong side facing, join yarn and purl.

RS: Knit across.

Continue working in stockinette for 5 more rows, ending with a WS row.

Neck Shaping: the Front Right Side

RS: K45 (K51), bind off 6 stitches, knit to end. (90, 102 stitches)

Place the first 45 (51) stitches you knit on to scrap yarn or add them to the Left Back stitches on the 16 inch circular needle. (45, 51 stitches remain for Front Right Side)

WS: Purl across row until you reach bound off stitches.

RS: Bind off 4 stitches, knit to end. (41, 47 stitches)

WS: Purl.

Repeat previous two rows two more times. (33, 39 stitches)

RS: Bind off 1 stitch, knit to end. (32, 38 stitches)

WS: Purl.

Repeat previous two rows five more times. (27, 33 stitches)

Work in stockinette until the right edge of the Front matches the length of the Right Back, ending on a WS row.

RS: K27 (K33), place marker, then knit across the 99 (111) stitches of the Right Back stitches. (126, 144 stitches)

Cut yarn.

Neck Shaping: the Front Left Side

Note: You will now be shaping the Front Left Side of the neck, working 45 (51) stitches you previousl placed on hold. (If you haven't already, you can place the Left Back stitches on to scrap yarn, or if they don't bother you, you can work the Front stitches with the Left Back stitches on the needle.)

With RS facing, join yarn and knit knit until you reach the previously bound off stitches.

WS: Bind off 4 stitches purlwise, purl to end. (41, 47 stitches)

RS: Knit.

Repeat previous two rows two more times. (33, 39 stitches)

WS: Bind off 1 stitch purlwise, purl to end. (32, 38 stitches)

RS: Knit.

Repeat previous two rows five more times. (27, 33 stitches)

Work in stockinette until the right edge of the Front matches the length of the Right Back, ending on a wrong side row.

Cut yarn.

Either place these 27 (33) stitches on scrap yarn, or keep them on the needle, being careful not to confuse them with the Left Back stitches you are about to work.

Work the Left Back

NOTE: You will now be working the 99 (111) stitches of the Left Back of the sweater.

With wrong side facing, joing new yarn.

WS: Purl to the wrapped stitch, purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, P1, wrap and turn.

RS: Knit.

WS: Purl to the wrapped stitch, purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, P1, wrap and turn.

RS: Knit.

Continue in this fashion. On the WS: purl up to the wrapped stitch, purl the wrapped stitch with the picked up wrap, P1, wrap and turn. On the WS: knit across. Ending with the RS row, knitting across 96 (108)  stitches.

WS: P96 (108), pick up wrap and purl together with wrapped stitch, P2.

RS: K99 (111), place marker, then knit across the 27 (33) stitches of Front Left Side. (126, 144 stitches)

Do not cut yarn. Keep this ball attached, you will use it to pick up stitches for the neck line later.

Fold the Sweater

Place the 27 (33) stitches from the Front Left on a double pointed needle, removing the marker.

Place the 27 (33) stitches from the Front Right on a second double pointed needle, removing the marker.

Fold the Right Back behind the Front so that the edge aligns with the end stitches on the double pointed needle.

Fold the Left Back behind the Right Back, aligning their top and side edges.

Attach the Right and Left Backs

Holding the two circular needles parallel, with the wrong side facing, join yarn and purl across both needles at once. Here's how...

With yarn in front, use the longer circular and insert the needle purlwise into the first stitch on the back needle and then into the first stitch on the front needle. Purl the stitches together, pulling the needle back through both the front and back stitches.

The folded back sides of the sweater are now attached along their top edge. There are 99 (111) stitches on the longer circular needle.

Cut yarn leaving a 20 inch tail.

Lay the sweater flat, front side facing.

Attach the Front and Back

First attach the Front Left Side and Left Back. Hold the double pointed needle and circular needle parallel. With a threaded tapestry needle, use the Kitchener Stitch to graft the front to the back.

Next, flip your work so the back of the sweater is facing. Hold the circular needle parallel with the double pointed needle. With a tapestry needle threaded with the 20 inch tail you left, once again, use the Kitchener Stitch to graft the back to the front.

Transfer the remaining 45 stitches to your 16 inch circular needle.

Pick up for the Neck

With attached ball of yarn and circular needle that is holding the 45 back of neck stitches, pick up 99 stitches evenly around the Neck. (144 stitches)

Place a stitch marker and working in the round, work in 2 x 2 rib for 4 rounds.

Bind off in 2 x 2 rib pattern.

Cut yarn.

Pick up for the Armholes

With the 16 inch circular needle, join new yarn and knit the 6 stitches from the underarm stitch holder. Then pick up 86 stitches evenly around the Armhold. (92 stitches)

Place a stitch marker and working in the round, work in 2 x 2 rib for 4 rounds.

Bind off in 2 x 2 rib pattern.

Repeat for second Armhole.

Weave in your ends. Block gently. You are finished!!!