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Dear Kay,

It’s the best fun, the wide-open horizon of a new knitting project.

A new sweater, in particular, sets me scheming and dreaming like no other.

So many issues to consider, so many things to do.

Jen Geigley’s new Cider Mill pullover has been waving at me for weeks now, and the time has come.

image by Figment Art Photo

The Picking of the Colors

A colorwork sweater is the most delectable opportunity to stare at yarn for a really long time.

I really like Jen’s original colorway.

Atlas in Cork, Shale, Cedar, Pebble, Truffle. Contrast is a good thing to consider when figuring out a colorwork project. Here’s how they look in black and white, a helpful trick when thinking about the contrast level among the colors.

Light, mediums, and darkish. Got it.

My picks (after a lost afternoon!): Seaglass, Shale, Truffle, Cork, Natural.

The body will be Seaglass. Coastal Grandma? I am Landlocked Just Ma, but I love this color anyway.

It’s not quite the same mix of lights and darks as Jen’s version, but I think this’ll do.

The Choosing of a Size

This top-down sweater is not unlike some others I’ve made, so I have a feel for how much ease I want. I dug out another sweater I like, measured it, and that gave me an easy answer to what can be a tricky question.

The Marking of the Pattern

I mess up my pattern—crossing out irrelevant sizes and measurements, with the aim of giving myself all the clues I need to do this thing properly.

I also flagged the tricky bits. Short rows? Noted. Increase rows? Check! Watch out for those. Color changes? Got ’em.

The Knitting of the Swatch

I had an Atlas swatch on hand that gave me the 20 stitches/4″ (10cm) with a size 7 (4.5mm) needle. Reminder: keep yer swatches; you never know when they’ll come in handy.

The Starting of the Knitting

The short row shaping on the back of the neck comes fast on Cider Mill, and it’s only a few rows. I stop everything when it comes to short rows.

These went perfectly the first time, with my favorite trick of German short rows making the result so clean and smooth. See the curving dark gray band? That’s going to make this pullover sit nicely across my shoulders.

I’m a goner now. Doing colorwork, after taking a break from colorwork, is really, really great. Thanks, Jen, for your Cider Mill pattern—it celebrates Rhinebeck in such a subtle, funny way, with coffee cups, pan flutes, apple cider donuts, and positivity in every stitch.



PS See more Cider Mill pics and color in your custom Atlas palette with Jen’s downloadable illustration here.


  • Beautiful !

  • Absolutely love your colors!

  • I AM a Coastal Grandma, and now I may just have to copy your colors shamelessly. This is gorgeous

  • Sea Glass adds just the right amount of pop you need and I adore that color! I mark up my pattern too. I use circles, boxes and underlining to accentuate pertinent data. I very often use a combo of Knit Companion and paper and pencil.

  • Wow. That seaglass looks amazing. And your colorwork! What fun. It’s going to be gorgeous

  • Oh this is so great, Ann. Love your colors. Love how great those German short rows turned out. Love the idea of thoroughly marking up your pattern. I tend to think of that first copy out of the printer as “virgin” and don’t want to mark it up, waiting until I need a second copy (because I misplaced the first one) to go to town with notations, etc. thus missing out on that crucial opportunity to get started right the first time. Now – maybe – I will make two copies in the first place! And if I do knit the Cider Mill the doughnuts cannot be brown. Can’t have my husband jonesing for a Krispy Kreme every time he looks in my direction:).

  • Your color palette is beautiful!

  • Absolutely stunning!
    I once took a class to make the Uniform Sweater. Renee, an expert teacher, started out by giving everyone a little notebook. We set everything up in that notebook. It forced you to read the pattern ahead, something I would have never done. It eliminated any surprises. I use this method all the time now.

    • Please tell me more! I love the idea of little notebooks just in principle, but one that would eliminate pattern surprises is just what I need!

  • Love your colors so much. It will be beautiful.

  • Ann, the pattern is great and the colors will be interesting to see when all knitted up. What I really appreciated in this piece was seeing how you mark your pattern! I always mark up mine with a highlighter, etc, but I would love to see an article on how others do theirs, eg “How to Mark Up a Pattern” or something like that.

    With a pattern that I know I will knit again, I usually type it up with only my size instructions.

    • Knit Companion software! Game changer.

      • It really is incredibly useful, for the most simple, repeating pattern to a complex chart. I use it all the time, mark it up, the highlighter bar keeps me on track, notes on the bottom. And if a WIP is in time-out, the note at the bottom will explain why when I go back!

  • Love the color palette. Inspiring thoughts of an Atlas Sea Glass throw.

    Also, congratulations on the exciting review of Atlas, the yarn and the Field Guide, in the Fall 2022 Vogue Knitting.

    • Oh! I’ve not seen this. Can it be reprinted here?

      • “MDK Field Guide No. 20 Atlas…

        For the launch of their first yarn, Atlas, an American-born, climate-beneficial multitasker ready to hoist countless diverse knits onto its shoulders, the women of Modern Daily Knitting pulled out all the stops–securing another giant, designer Erika Knight, to build the yarn’s first collection–to headline their 20th Field Guide. Since publishing their inaugural field guide, Stripes, in 2016, the Modern Daily Knitting enterprise has pumped out mini collections multiple times a year exploring themes such as Ease, Transparency, Marls, Joy and Lopi, attracting both rising and lionized designers–here’s looking at Kaffe Fassett– to this series. With Editor and Creative Director Melanie Falick helming these bon bons, well, the goods are also good looking.

        And No. 20 doesn’t disappoint. Using eight of Atlas’ 22 colors, Knight has hewed to an idiosyncratic palette of bold colors lashed together with black and natural that’s surprising and fresh–as are the patterns: a voluminous cable-and-drop-stitch scarf that resolves into asymmetric ribbing and fringe; a generous split-hem turtleneck pullover you’ll reach for forever; a Gawain-meets-dicky balaclava that doubles as a cowl; a mod, made-from-leftovers bag; and the MDK-requisite blanket, smashing in entrelac and more dropped stitches. They love a good blanket over there. And when they love something, their enthusiasm spills onto us. Why? Because they know knitting can be expressive, comforting, gorgeous, community-building, kitschy, helpful and most of all, fun. So why not knit your own lovey? Back to the Field Guides. Come for the fun. Stay for great design and authenticity. (Vogue Knitting, Fall 2022, page 12)

        • Thanks for posting this—I had the fall Vogue in my hand yesterday and passed on it. Happy to see them review MDK!

  • Love these colors!

  • Those colors are going to be beautiful on you!

  • Picking colors is my weak spot, but I’m excellent at copying what others have done. You nailed it with these Ann.

  • From now on, not only will I do more marking-up of my working copy, I believe I’ll make a copy of my marked-up copy!

  • Love this sweater. Thought about using Knit Companion to tidy up your pattern? I love it!

    • I’m an analog gal when it comes to patterns! : ) Staring at screens 10 hours a day over here is all I can manage …

  • Your new Cider Mill sweater is already beautiful, I love your colourway picks. Now I’m *seriously* thinking of knitting myself a colourwork sweater. This one looks like something I could handle. I always mark up my patterns, how else would I be able to keep track of all the little details? Your notations make sense, even to me. <3

  • Ann, I really like the colors that you chose for your Cider Mill. I especially like the Seaglass, which is as lovely as its name. It contrasts beautifully with each of the other colors, and really brings them out.

  • Hi, Ann. I recently made the Erika Knight Scrap Tote (love it), and I’m wondering if I could use my leftovers as the accent colors for a Cider Mill Pullover. I suspect the four accent colors don’t require a full skein, but I wonder whether you have a clearer sense of how much is required of each? If it makes a difference, I’d be knitting a size small. Thank you for any insight you can share!

  • REALLY loving this yarn – it’s my first time using it and it’s in my future for sure. I’m using the original colorway for my first one, but I love the Seaglass version as well. I’ve bookmarked this post so I can come back to it for future sweaters.

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