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« Molly's Sketchbook: Summertime Wallet | Main | Molly's Sketchbook: Broken Dishes Baby Quilt »

Laura's Loop: Cap Sleeve Lattice Top

I can remember lying for hours under the pergola in my grandmother's yard. In the fall I'd watch the grid-like shadows shift across the grass as the sun moved across the sky. And in the spring I'd stare up, tracking the path of the vines weaving in and out of the lattice work structure. Empty or abundant, I loved the woven wood overhead.
My fondness towards this geometric patterning does not stop at the garden wall. It carries over to painted kitchen floors, pie crusts and, as you see here, knits! The lattice stitch I used is an organic interpretation of the woven grids and crisscrossing ridges that I find so fascinating and beautiful!
I made this Cap Sleeve Lattice Top with one of our newest (and most favorite!) yarns, Madeline Tosh's Sport. It's a superwash merino wool, machine spun but hand dyed, with gorgeous depths of color (even in the neutrals). The pattern, like the sweater, is easy breezy, knit up the back over the shoulders and down the front, two seams and you're done! 
Watching the sparce grid of the pergola become overrun with wisteria and roses was a sure sign of the hot summer days to come. This sweater is a delightfully quick project to welcome spring and to wear right through summer. I think if I found myself sitting under that pergola right now, I'd be sporting this top, cool beverage in hand, gazing up at the greenery! -Laura

The Materials

  • For the main color: 2 (2, 3) skeins of Madeline Tosh's Sport, 100% superwash merino wool. I used the color Silver Fox. (Another great yarn option is Anzula's Cricket in the color Seaside!)
  • For the contrast color: 1 (1, 2) skeins of Madeline Tosh's Sport, 100% superwash merino wool. I used the color Antler. (Another great yarn option is Anzula's Cricket in the color Au Natural!)
  • US #5 circular needle, any length between 16 and 24 inches
  • US #6 circular needle, any length between 16 and 24 inches

The Pattern


6 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch on larger needles


Small (Medium, Large)

Finished Dimensions

Bust Circumference: 34 (36, 38) inches
Length from Underarm to Cast On Edge: 12 (13, 14) inches
Length from Shoulder to Cast On Edge: 18 1/2 (20 1/2, 22 1/2) inches
To alter the size be sure to cast on an odd number that is a multiple of 3 plus 1

Back Ribbing

Using the smaller needles, cast on 103 (109, 115) stitches, leaving a 24 inch tail.
Row 1 (Wrong Side): P1, *k1, p2, repeat from * to end.
Row 2 (Right Side): *K2, p1, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 1 3/4 inches from cast on edge, ending with a WS row.
Change to larger needles.
Eyelet Row (RS): K2, *yo, k2tog, k1, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, yo, k2tog.

Back Body

Next Row (WS): Purl.
Next Row (RS): Knit.
Continue in stockinette stitch until piece measures 12 (13, 14) inches from cast on edge, ending with a RS row.
Cut yarn leaving a 24 inch tail. 

Back Lattice 

Change to contrast color.
Lattice Row 1 (WS): K1, *yo, k2tog, repeat from * to end.
Lattice Row 2 (RS): Knit.
Lattice Row 3 (WS): K2, *yo, k2tog, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.
Lattice Row 4 (RS): Knit.
Repeat Lattice Rows 1-4 until you have 6 1/2 (7 1/2, 8 1/2) inches, ending with Lattice Row 4.

Back Neck

Next Row (WS): K1, (yo, k2tog) 11 (12, 13) times, bind off in knit following 57 (59, 61) stitches, *yo, k2tog, repeat from * to end. (46, 50, 54 stitches)

Front Neck 

Next Row (RS): K23 (25, 27) cable cast on 57 (59, 61) stitches, knit to end. (103, 109, 115 stitches)

Front Lattice 

Starting with Lattice Row 3, work the four Lattice Rows until piece measures 6 1/2 (7 1/2, 8 1/2) inches from cable cast on, ending with Lattice Row 4.

Front Body

Change to main color.
Next Row (WS): Purl.
Next Row (RS): Knit.
Continue in stockinette stitch until piece measures 10 1/4 (11 1/4, 12 1/4) inches from end of lattice stitch, ending with a WS row.
Eyelet Row (RS): K1, *yo, k2tog, k1, repeat from * to end.

Front Ribbing

Change to smaller needles.
Next Row (WS): *P2, k1, repeat from * to last stitch, p1.
Next Row (RS): K1, *p1, k2 repeat from * to end.
Repeat previous 2 rows for 1 3/4 inches.
Bind off in pattern on WS, cut yarn leaving a 24 inch tail.

Seam the Sides

Take your knit piece and fold it in half so that the bottom hems align. Using the mattress stitch and the tails of yarn you left, seam the rib and stockinette sides of the sweater together at the main color.
Block your new top if you want and wear it all spring!

Reader Comments (185)

Hello Purl Bee!
I've been eyeing this top for a while now and I really want to start working on it... But the yarn that I want to use is worsted weight! I was wondering how I'd go about this? I tried starting some rudimentary calculations (as I've never had any experience modifying patterns this way) and figured that if this was done with 6st/in gauge = 103 sts then 4st/in gauge = about 69 sts? Does that sound about right?

Any advice would do :)

Thank you!
December 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheila
Hello Sheila,
As for the general dimensions, yes, that calculation you did is perfect.
Let us know how it goes or if you have any other questions.
December 23, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love the sweater plus the design too but I would like to see how to knit this almost step by step because it looks really complicated to knit.
Thanks I would really appreciate it.
January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
Hi Emily-

Is there one part in particular you're having trouble with? This is a fairly straightforward pattern so you might just want to jump right in. Sometimes things seem more complicated as you read them than when you're actually doing them.

Thanks for getting in touch!

January 6, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I've had a great time negotiating this sweater. I am now on the home stretch - the front ribbing. I have ripped it out twice because it didn't look like the lovely one I did on the back. Now looking at the photos here I see I was doing it correctly, but that I got creative on the back ribbing. It looks like I have done a moss stitch type rib. Using your expertise would you be able to tell me what I might have done wrong to get a moss stitch rib and how I can repeat this so that it stays consistent?
I am also wondering why the front rib and the back rib have different instructions. I can't wrap my head around it.
Many thanks in advance!
January 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersarah
Hi Sarah,
Without seeing the garment, it is hard to know what you did. You may have forgotten that "p1" at the start of the wrong side row, just doing (k2, p2). This would have created a sort of moss like or seed stitch like ribbing.
The ribbing has different instructions to create an even join after seaming the sides, appearing as thought the ribbing has not been interrupted.
Hope this helps.
February 3, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This is so beautiful! How big around is the bust 34? I'd like to do this in a bust 32, instead of 34, possibly. Approximately how many stitches would that be? I can't wait to knit this! I'm planning on it as a little wishful-thinking-winter-knitting project.
February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCGW
Thanks for writing in.
The measurements given above are the finished dimensions of the garment. So this means that the 34-inch measurement given above is in reference to the actual circumference of the finished sweater. If you have a 32-inch bust, the 34-inch size will fit nicely, giving 2 inches of ease (or space) so the garment isn't tight.

For a finished dimension of 32 inches around the bust of the sweater... you can cast on 97 stitches.
So glad you like the piece.
February 17, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi! Back again...I am loving this sweater so much! I sit and knit and think dreamy thoughts about spring weather. I got my measurements worked out and it's going to fit fine. My one question is, how do the sleeves work? I've never done a sweater pattern that has no shaping! When I sew this up, do I just stop once I get to the lattice part? Again, great work! This is a great pattern!
February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCGW
Welcome back! Regarding the sleeves... yes, it is as simple as sewing the sides together, starting from the bottom and going up to where the lattice begins. The opening that remains will be your armhole. Due to the lack of shaping and the gauge of the lattice stitch, that top lattice portion of the sweater will come slightly over your shoulders. I'm not sure it's substantial enough to be called a "sleeve" but it does cover the shoulders.
Thank you for writing in AND for the compliments. I do hope you enjoy working this pattern. Let me know if you have any questions!
February 27, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi, thanks so much for this pattern, I found it on ravelry and completed it today. I used a variegated colour for the body and a plain linen yarn for the lace. Followed many of the hints and tips in the comments here, so I knitted the body in the round then the lace flat. Three firsts achieved - my first cable cast on (thx for your instructions very clear!) and my first grafting to join the lace back to the body and my first attempt at some simple shaping, from hip to waist to bust!!! Thank you again. Nicola
March 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commenternicolajl
Hi, I love this pattern and I am keen to knit it for my 18yo daughter.
However she has a large bust 38in and a narrow 31in waist. I don't want to knit the large size as I feel it will be too baggy, but I need a wider bust!
What to do?
I think I need to cast on extra stiches for the top third of the body.. then cast off for lattice section. Would you agree?
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Many thanks Jane
March 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJane
Hi Jane,
I think the largest size would fit her perfectly.

If you are really worried about the waist, you could work the ribbing at the bottom for 3 or 4 inches rather than 1 3/4 as it instructs in the pattern. This will pull in the bottom farther up closer to the waist.

If you are worried about the bust being too snug at 38 inches (the same measurement as your bust) and you just want a bit more space then you could use a yarn/needle that gets gauge and is 6 inches to the stitch before blocking, but relaxes to approx. 5.8 stitches to the inch (or 23.2 to 4 inches) after blocking... putting you at a finished circumference of 39 inches.

Or of course you could make a larger size and be sure to have 121 stitches around the bust giving you a finished circumference of 40 inches.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
March 23, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello and thank you for a wonderful pattern!
I am just starting on the lattice portion of the shirt while knitting in the round.
I have followed the instructions where it says: Lattice Row 1 (WS): K1, *yo, k2tog, repeat from * to end. I have done this on the wrong side of the garment but it has come out as purl stitches on the back. Is this supposed to happen or have I done something wrong? I am new to the lace stitches with yarnovers so I could be doing it all wrong.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachael
Hello Rachael.
You are quite welcome for the pattern. I am thrilled you like it.
The Lattice portion of the piece should be worked flat. I imagine you worked the body in the round, but are now working back and forth in rows? I just want to be sure I fully understand where you are in the project.

This lattice is a garter stitch lattice. By that I mean that you knit on both the right and the wrong sides. It give the lattice a bit more texture and dimensionality.

It sounds as though you're doing everything correctly. The lattice pattern will take shape after a few rows and the intended texture will become more clear.
Please let us know if you have any questions though!
April 1, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi, I just started knitting this in the round, and it's going smoothly so far. I think I understand the lattice part, but I just want to make sure. It sounds like I knit until the piece measures 12 (13, or 14) inches, and then do I just put the front sts on a holder, and continue following all the lattice instructions with just the back sts, and then graft the lattice back onto those front sts?

April 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Hi Laura,
Yes, you are correct... once you've worked from the bottom edge to the underarm, you put the front stitches on hold and continue the lattice instructions on the back stitches, up and over the shoulders, down the front and then graft the lattice to the front body stitches.
April 21, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Purl Bee,
I love your pattern. It is exactly what I was looking for. After a long period without time for knitting I've decided to start again with something smart but not to complicated. Now I'm looking forward to a favorite summer garment.
Thanks for the trouble you took to write down the pattern and for offering it for free.
Yours, Reky
April 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterReky
I'm slightly confused, why is the front stockinette part shorter than the back?
May 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
Approx yardage used for MC & CC? For a small, were 2 full skeins of Tosh sport (270 yd) too much? just enough? I'm thinking of trying a knitpicks cotton sport, but not sure how many skeins I"ll need.
May 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie
Hi Elizabeth.
The stockinette portions are equal lengths on the FRONT and BACK. I think I may know where the confusion lays though.

First you work the BACK. You rib for 1 3/4 inches and then work in stockinette stitch until the piece measures piece measures 12 (13, 14) from the cast on edge. This includes the ribbing.

Then when working the FRONT the pattern instructs you to continue in stockinette stitch until piece measures 10 1/4 (11 1/4, 12 1/4) from the lattice stitch. At this point you will begin ribbing adding on 1 3/4 inches giving you the same total length in the FRONT and BACK.

Please let me know if you have any questions at all!
Thanks for writing in.
May 13, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Leslie.
For the Knitpicks, I would go with 5 skeins of the MC and you may be able to do the CC in 2, but 3 skeins would certainly se safer.
Hope this helps.
May 14, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello Laura,
thank you for posting this lovely pattern. I can't wait to wear it. But I have one question on the instructions: I just finished with the front ribbing and changed to the main color again. In the instructions it says that you finish the front lattice with a lattice row 4 (knit). Then follows the first round wiht the main color which makes to rounds in knit (or, of course, purl). But the back lattice starts in row 1 right away with a y/o and k2tog, so the passage from main color to lattice of front and back looks slightly different. Should'nt I also stop with a lattice row 3 at the front lattice and then directly change to main color to avoid this difference?
I hope you understand what I mean. I would be glad if you could help. Thanks in advance. Greetings from Germany
May 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
Hi Anna,
Great question. Thanks for asking.

You are correct, transitioning from stockinette to lattice on the BACK you go from a MC row of knit and then a CC row K1, *yo, k2tog, repeat from * to end. And then, transitioning on the FRONT you work a CC row of knit before beginning stockinette in the MC.

I did this on purpose. Because you are working the lattice bottom up on the BACK and top down on the FRONT, I found that having CC row of knit before MC of stockinette actually looks more similar to the transition in the BACK, than if I have stopped with Row 3 of the lattice before working stockinette.

I encourage you to please play around with it and switch colors as you desire. This is just how I chose to work the pattern. Thanks again for writing in.
May 19, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I am making this top for my daughter who has a 32" I bust. I thought by making the small it would work if it measured 34" as 2 " of ease would be ok. I am also extending the length by quite a bit since she is very long in the torso. My problem is that I believe that the top is going to be too large since it is measuring about 18" across. I see that you said to change sizes the stitches need to be divided by 3 plus 1. What stitch count do you suggest for a 32" bust (size x-small)?
May 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSandy
Hi Sandy.

If you are working the Small pattern and have cast on 103 stitches, but are getting an 18-inch wide fabric, then your gauge is 103 stitches / 18 inches = approximately 5 3/4 stitches to the inch.

If you would like a finished dimension of 34 inches in circumference then... (1/2 of 34 inches) x 5 3/4 = 97 stitches. You need to cast on a multiple of 3 + 1 stitches. And 97 stitches is perfect.
Hope this helps.
May 28, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
first of all I'd like to thank you for this amazing pattern! as a teenage knitter, its hard to find patterns that I'd actually want to wear, and for free! this might be my very first big project. thanks again!
June 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermaggie
Purl Bee
I am beginning the front body and was wondering why it is 1 1/2 inches shorter on this side?
June 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlexis
Hi Alexis,
The front is the same length as the back.
1 3/4 inches of ribbing, then stockinette until the entire piece measures 12 (13, 14) inches, then 6 1/2 (7 1/2, 8 1/2) inches of lattice... totaling approx.18 1/2 (20 1/2, 22 1/2) inches from bottom edge to the shoulder

6 1/2 (7 1/2, 8 1/2) inches of lattice, then 10 1/4 (11 1/4, 12 1/4) inches of stockinette, then 1 3/4 inches of ribbing... totaling approx.18 1/2 (20 1/2, 22 1/2) inches from shoulder to bottom edge

I hope this helps clear things up. Please let me know if you have any questions! Thanks for writing in!
June 28, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi guys!

You may have already answered this - I'm knitting this in the round but I'm a little confused about how to get lattice part going. When its knit flat, you knit over the shoulder. How do I do the top part easily in the round? Any help?

July 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKeeley
Hi Keeley,
I haven't tried working this in the round, but I can take a guess at how people have tried to do it...
- work in the round up to the underarms
- divide for front and back, place front stitches on hold
- continue working up back in lattice stitch as pattern is written above, work up and over the shoulders and down the front
- graft the front lattice stitches to the front stockinette stitches
I hope this helps.
Let me know if you have any questions!
July 17, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I'm thinking of putting beads on the front lattice work...where would I put them..on which stitch? Thank you!
July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette
Hi Annette,
Wow. That sure would fancy this garment up! I have to admit I have never done any bead work before and am utterly useless when it comes to your question. Perhaps some of our other readers would have some ideas!
Sorry to not be of more help.
Thanks for writing in.
July 24, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

I know you put the work on a dress form but it still doesn’t show how it would really look like on a real person. These pictures would reallllllllly help me. Hope you can help
July 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargarete
Hi Margarete-

We can help! Here is an image search I did on Flickr that has several people wearing their finished tops!

Hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any more questions

July 25, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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