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Tuesday
Oct252011

Laura's Loop: Short Row Sweater

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!

The Materials

The Pattern

Gauge

6 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Finished Dimensions

Sizes: XSmall/Small (Medium/Large)

Chest Circumference: 34 (38) inches

Length from Center Front Hem to Back Neck: 19 1/2 (22) inches

Pattern Notes

You will work a large portion of this piece in what is known as '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!

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.)

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.

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.

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.


Folding 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.

Attaching the Right and Left Backs

Holding the two circular needles parallel, with the wrong side facing, join yarn 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.

Attaching 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!!!

Reader Comments (121)

What a stunner!
Adding this to my To Make list, for sure!
October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuanita
this is very lovely! Once I get over the 324 stitches at the beginning....
October 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpetra
This is amazingly beautiful and geniously desingned!
October 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaijanmaja
I H.A.V.E. to make this! So beautiful!
October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKara
beautiful! I would love to see what this looks like being worn!
October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMari
Love the look of this sweater! Is there any way to adapt this pattern for those of us with a smaller bust size, like a size 32? Any help with this dilemma would be great! Thanks.
October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKris
I love this sweater! Just wishing size XS was included in the pattern. I'd love to make it but am afraid the small would be too large for me!
October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara
Sara and Kris... Thank you so much for your interest in the pattern. I will add XS sizing tomorrow! --Laura
October 27, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Are the finished measurements actual sizes or to fit that bust size with built-in ease? Do you know the yardage for the medium in case of a yarn substitution?
LOVE this!! Thank you!
October 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin P
Sara and Kris... the pattern now includes sizing for an XS. Hope you enjoy making this as much as I did. Thank you again for your support! --Laura
October 28, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Erin P,
The sample that I knit up is the medium size. I do not have the sweater right now, but I will weigh it and let you know approximate yardage as soon as I can. In the mean time, I know I only used, at most, 1/4 of the 6th skein. I think that 600 yards will have you covered for the Medium!

Thank you for commenting! --Laura
October 28, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Erin P, Sorry I forgot to mention the sizing... The dimensions given are those finished sweaters, after blocking. I have a 36" bust and knit the Medium (38") to fit me. The 2 inches of ease are to let the alpaca drape and also provide room for layering. I hope this helps! --Laura
October 28, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Love this pattern, have already cast on!

One question though, should it read 108 or 198 before you start working the armholes?

Thanks!
October 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristie
Hi Laura - Huge fan!
I've started this sweater today and I'm using Eco Alpaca from Cascade and it's knitting up great. I am having a bit of confusion of what to do right before separating for the armholes. I'm going to send you an email.
October 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnni
Hello Laura, I've been knitting your pattern and have just finished the "begin" section but my garment length looks way too short to be starting the armholes - its only about 5 inches at the longest point. I've read the instructions several times and am convinced I've done everything correctly so far. Can you help me understand what I might be doing wrong? It seems like I'd need to be knitting more than 108 stitches (size small) to have the body of the garment long enough to start the armholes. perhaps this is a typo and I actually need to knit 180 stitches? Help!
October 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkelli ann
totally had to cast on for this! before the "separate for armholes" section, how many inches should the small size be from the middle of the cast on edge (center front hem) to the stitches on the needles? i feel like i only have a few inches and the picture looks like there is way more length before separating for the arms. somehow i'm probably doing the short rows wrong....sigh!
thanks...........
October 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermel
I think I've figured it out... Before the "separate for armholes" step, the last instruction should say: "WS: P180 (P198, P216, P234), purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, P1, wrap and turn" instead of: "WS: P102 (P108, P114, P120), purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, P1, wrap and turn." Is this correct?
October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkelli ann
Hi! Love this pattern! Am knitting it just now but have a question about the separating for armholes step that would be better thru email. To whom can I email my question? Thanks!!!
October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristen
Hi Kristen-

You can email it through the "Ask Purl Bee" link here: http://www.purlbee.com/ask-purl-bee/

Or we are happy to answer it if you post it here as well.

Thank you!
October 31, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Mel. Hang in there. You are probably doing it all right. Did you see the corrections in the last line of the Begin portion of the pattern. This might just fix the problem. And as for the length, it does seem short when you are working it, but after blocking you should have about 4 inches under the armhole, give or take, depending on the size you are making. --Laura
October 31, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Kelli Ann and Kristin... Thank you both so much for commenting and pointing out the typo at the end of the Begin section of the pattern. I have corrected that last WS row instructions. Kelli Ann, I believe you will need to P178 before working the wrapped stitch, purling 1 more and then wrapping and turning. The following row you will, cumulatively, knit 180 stitches before working the wrapped stitch, etc. Thank you both again. I do hope you end up enjoying this project! --Laura
October 31, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love this! I have a few skeins of this yarn in different, but compatible colors. Do you think this could be done in more than one color yarn? I'm trying to figure out how, based on the construction, that could work.
October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith
You keep serving the good stuff!

What's the wear ease on this sweater? I am somewhere between a 36 and 38. How should I pick my size and also, what books would you recommend for custom fitting knits? Thanks!
October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLourina
thank you so much for those corrections! I had started knitting this without refreshing the browser, and couldn't figure out how to end that first section!

(I ran out and cast on as soon as I saw this pattern! Loving it so far!)
October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlissa
Lourina, Thanks for writing. There is about a 2 inch ease. I believe the Medium or Large would fit you. Depends on how much layering you intend to do with this piece. I find Interweave's Knitwear Design Workshop to be full of useful information: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/7184-Interweave-Press-Knitwear-Design-Workshop Also, I am a huge fan of Ann Budd's books, especially her two Handy Books of Patterns: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/4-knitting-crochet-books?filters[]=245

Hope this helps. Thanks again. --Laura
November 1, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hey Meredith. I totally think this could be done in different colors. Color blocking or stripes could really emphasize the unique structure of the sweater. You could take the finished dimension length and divide it by however many colors you have, getting X, and then switch yarns at the beginning of the row every X inches. The cast on and ribbing will all be one/different the same color, but that could be beautiful, it framing all the other colors. --Laura
November 1, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
So I am just coming to the end of the beginning section and have a question, because by my count (which could be the problem in itself) I reach 216 stitches on the RS (I'm making the medium).

Is my count just off, or do I knit 216 and then purl the same amount to finish the "Begin" section?

Thanks! This is my first sweater and I am enjoying it so far!
November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKirsten
Hi Kristen. I am so happy you are enjoying the sweater. For the 2nd to last row under Begin, your RS row should be to knit 212, pick up wrap and knit it, knit 1, W&T. Then on the WS purl 214... that 216 number was a typo. Thank you so much for writing in! --Laura
November 18, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I am so excited about this pattern and yet have been so disappointed with the errors and the explanation. My daughter in France sent me the link in UK and yet the division for the armholes does not work mathematically. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your instructions. I really need clearer details of the initial RS number of stitches in stockinette and then the correct number of stitches to be purled on the WS with the wrapped stitch. I have knitted this 3 times and always when I get to the armhole division, the Front is not in the centre.
Are you able to help me with this please??
November 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJill
Hello Jill. I am so sorry for any frustration. As for Separating for Armholes...

At the end of the first row under Separating, a Right Side row, the goal is to have 99 (105, 111, 117) stitches for Left Back, 6 stitches for Armhole, 96 (102, 108, 114) stitches for Front , 6 stitches for second Armhole and 99 (105, 111, 117) stitches for Right Back. This count includes all of the stitches on the needles, not just the stitches you have recently worked. If you add these stitches up they equal 306 (324, 342, 360), the number you originally casted on.

I do hope this is helpful Jill. Thank you for commenting. --Laura
November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPurl Bee
Hi Laura,
I'd love to make this for a size 32 bust. I assume I'd cast on 288 stitches, and do the math for this size in most of the steps. But after the first set of rib stitches, it looks like you have a set number to wrap and turn. Should I assume I should follow as is (p36, k36, etc.)? Thanks so much!
December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIla
Hey Ila, You are exactly right, after the ribbed edge, every size starts their W&Ts the same way, working 36 stitching. Enjoy. -Laura
December 5, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi! I've got the right needles and the right kind of yarn (swatchy swatchy! Third time's the charm!) and now I really want to cast on, but I'm debating whether to do a tubular cast on or just a regular long-tail one. I would really appreciate your advice... I do so look forward to making this! It's so lovely and I want to wear it to Christmas parties!
December 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlauren
Hi Lauren,
I used a long tail cast on! Hope you enjoy the pattern. --Laura
December 9, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
hi laura! so glad to be able to come back and read the thread of posts... i too have run into a bump upon coming to the last row of the 'Beginning' before the armholes. my count in the Right Back and Left Back is not correct. and now, reading your response to Kristin (11/18) about the '216' typo may help me to get back on track... need to 'tink' a couple of rows and am going to keep my fingers crossed that the 'count' gets back on track!

just wanted to check in case there are any other corrections in the pattern? love this little sweater... hoping to finish it to wear for Christmas next week! Thanks, Laura!!
December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarb
Barb... if you are making the XSmall or the Medium the pattern is a-ok! Sizes Small and Large need to be re-worked. I am going to try and get it all fixed up over the holidays.

Deepest apologies for all the confusion. I adore this sweater and I do hope it is working out for a few of you. I am sure I have caused several of you to want to pull your hair out, or maybe mine. Again, I am so so sorry. --Laura
December 17, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Are there any updates to this pattern? I've been trying to knit a Small, and I keep coming up with either 194 or 198 to purl on the WS at the end of Begin. Is it me or the pattern?
January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRenée
Renee, I will try and get them posted by the end of the week. Thanks for checking in. --Laura
January 10, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi - I am confused about pattern instructions. I have just completed this step in the Begin section:
"WS: P42, purl the wrapped stitch together with the picked up wrap, P1, wrap and turn." Then, the pattern reads, "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."

How do I know how long to "continue in this pattern?"

I must be missing something because no one else in the comments thread has brought this up.

Thank you for your help,
Genevieve
January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGenevieve
Any updates on the pattern for size small?
January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
Renee- I have restructured the pattern a bit. The original Small and Large patterns were developed after the prototype was first knit. Unfortunately, mathematically, these sizes did not work out the same way as the XS and Medium. I have edited the pattern to only include the working sizes. In other words... it's not you, it's the pattern. Several people have made the Small and Large sizes and just improvised as they went. If you have any questions please feel free to email. Apologies for any confusion or delays. Best - Laura
January 17, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Laura,
I love your sweater! I just started to make the medium, but the number of stitches to cast on is 342 and this is a multiple of 2 instead of 4 like the others, so the 2x2 rib at the beginning isn't working out. What am I doing wrong? Thanks, Victoria
January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria
Victoria, You aren't doing anything wrong. You found an error. Goodness. Thank you for writing in. You could either do a 1 x 1 rib or you could start with a k1, then (p2, k2) til their is 1, k1. Hope that helps. Thanks again for writing in. -Laura
January 23, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
hi Laura!

sorry be to be another person asking a question, but as far as i can find there are only two sizes of this pattern xs/s and m/l. am i confused? i really want to make the xs (if it exists) since that's the closest to 32" and ravelry and comments above here make it sound like there are definitely four distinct pattern sizes. where are they? i feel like a crazy person right now.

thanks,
Laura

we have the best name btw :)
February 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlaura
Laura, never apologize for writing in! Where would we be without you readers!! The sweater originally had 4 sizes. The original Small and Large sizes were eliminated due to some irreversible mathematical problems. The original XS is now the XS/S. 34 inch circumference was as small as the pattern came/comes. Hope this is helpful and thank you for reminding me to change the notes on Ravelry! Let me know if you have any other questions. --Laura
February 14, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello- Such a cute sweater! I see that you have the gauge as 6 stitches to an inch.. I was wondering how many rows to an inch? (I've noticed on ravelry that a lot of people's projects are quite a bit shorter than yours.) Thanks!
February 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralice
Dear Purs-Soho, here is yet another Russian translation of the pattern - http://irishagold.blogspot.com/2012/02/lauras-loop-short-row-sweater.html
Thank you so much!
February 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIryna B
Hi Alice. When I was stitching this sweater the row gauge was approximately 7 to 7 1/4 rows = 1 inch. The sweater is now on display at the shop in SoHo so I asked the girls there to double check for me. They came back with 7 1/2 rows = 1 inch. Alpaca is beautiful and heavy fiber. The sweater will bloom and stretch a bit lengthwise over time. You will notice right after a gentle blocking even. Hope this helps. Thanks for writing in. -Laura
February 21, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Laura! I love this sweater, but because I have sensitive skin and trouble wearing alpaca or wool, I was thinking about making this in Cascade's Ultra Pima cotton, which is the same weight and gauge. Do you think that would work fine? If not, do you have any other suggestions? I can also wear blended fibers fine, like Blue Sky's Alpaca Silk, and some superwash wools. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you!
-Jessica
Ps, the pattern is beautiful.
March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
Jessica, thank you for the kind words. I am so glad you like it! I think the Pima would be just lovely! It drapes unlike any other cotton I have seen. I was recently thinking of trying it in a linen, but I think maybe you have the right idea with the Blue Sky! -Laura
March 5, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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