Over the past eighteen months or so I have become obsessed with knitting Top-Down Jumpers!
If you have never knitted a Top-Down Jumper before, the clue is in the title…you begin at the top and work down.
Having cast on stitches for the neckline and joining in the round, you continue working down through the yoke. When this section is completed, divide your work for the sleeves and continue working down through the body. When the body is finished, return to the sleeves, by picking up the stitches and knitting in the round to desired length. Finally, block and darn in any loose ends and you are ready to wear.
The joy of this technique is that you are able to try on the jumper as you go, therefore enabling you to adjust the final fit. Another added bonus, there are no individual pieces needing to be sewn together at the end!
For teaching as an online project last year, I chose a design from the inspirational knitting & crochet emporium in New York Purl Soho.
If you have never knitted a Top-Down Jumper before, this is a perfect 1st project for you to try.
There are so many wonderful designers and beautiful patterns to choose from!
Having enjoyed teaching online, the step by step techniques of how the top-down jumper is made, I have been exploring different patterns and especially those using colour-work yokes, involving 2 or more colours.
My particular favourites have been Blythe’s Spirit by Kim Firth, a beautiful pattern, with a stunning yoke design.
For this I chose hand-dyed 4 ply yarn by Skein Queen called Crush in Inkpen and Lady Philomere.
Another is Yanis by the Dutch designer Isabell Kraemer
I have knitted Yanis twice, both short-sleeves and long sleeves.
Again, a beautiful colour-work yoke knitted using Cascade 220 fantastic colour range of yarns.
As well as adding colour, you can also use stitch combinations for adding detail and interest.
Pearl, a pattern I knitted last summer by the New Zealand designer Libby Jonson uses a lovely lace panel in her design.
A favourite summer knit, perfect for layering- Anker’s Summer shirt by Petiteknit knitted in Sirdar Baby Bamboo. The clever yoke pattern in this design is worked in sections of rib with increases in the round.
The Top-down technique can also be used for knitting cardigans, such as Felix Cardigan by Amy Christoffers using a simple eyelet detail on the raglan shoulders increases.
For this I chose Air (wool & Alpaca) in Clay, a lovely soft, squishy yarn by Drops
Work in Progress…
I am now planning a new KAL Top Down Jumper course for the Autumn using another beautiful pattern called Cardoon by Isabell Kraemer , teaching step by step all the different techniques needed for knitting with this method.
Cardoon again features a stunning colour-work yoke.
In the design, I love the way Isabell Kraemer has added the sweet additional band of colour-work detail on the lower body and cuffs…
For this jumper, I chose Rowan Felted Tweed Dk, a soft wool & alpaca yarn which comes in a range of beautiful tweedy shades.