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Dear Kay,

Really, finishing a merino wool sweater at the height of Nashville’s annual Humidity Festival is the ultimate act of optimism.

Will it ever not be thick as gumbo outside? Will sleeves ever be a thing again?

My brand-new, smokin’ pink Debut Pullover answers: YES. YES THEY WILL.

Things I Noticed

This yarn. I can’t quite get over this yarn. It knits like a dream, smooth and vaguely twinelike, with low-contrast color shifts that are apparent only when you’ve knit a while and hold it up for an examination. This is Neighborhood Fiber Co. Organic Studio DK, available in the MDK Shop.

The color is Charles Village, the saturated magenta that all of a sudden seems like the best idea ever. I haven’t made a lot of vibrant sweaters, but this is a great color, and I feel great wearing it, so maybe that’s the single most important message I have for you: knit something in a color you’ve never used before. So liberating! Look at me, people! I’m having a swell time over here!

Length. My alterations to Karida Collins’s pattern were minimal. Most significant, I made the body about 4 inches shorter than the pattern calls for. In this yarn, which is superwash, the pullover gained about an inch in body length when I soaked and blocked the finished sweater. I based this length on a sweater I like, so I’m happy with how this worked out.

Waist shaping. I omitted the waist shaping, given that I was shortening the body length and wasn’t interested in mathing out how the shaping should land. It’s a modest amount of shaping, so eliminating it didn’t much affect the look of the sweater.

The underarms. I worked the underarms as written in the pattern: three-needle bindoff. But I’d go with a grafted plan if I make another one of these. This would require me to leave 10 live stitches rather than bind them off. I think this would be a bit more streamlined, and also: I LOVE GRAFTING STITCHES. (Here’s Jen Arnall-Culliford’s grafting video tutorial, solid gold.)

The sleeves. The sleeves are long and slim, and I like the look of this. Modern and undowdy. (Dowdiness can creep up on a person; gotta keep vigilant.) They come close to violating my rule of No Knitting Shall Cling Unto My Person, but hey—this merino Organic Studio DK yarn is remarkably soft.

The yoke. I worked the knit-purl swirly yoke as written in the pattern, but I might next time go down a needle size to snug it up a bit. All the back and forth between knits and purls means that the gauge changes slightly, resulting in a subtle ruched effect. I’m happy with the way my smokin’ pink Debut Pullover looks. Just noting that a smaller needle might be worth trying.

Details. Pattern: Debut Pullover from Field Guide No. 18: Beginnings. I worked the third size. I used four skeins plus part of a fifth skein of Neighborhood Fiber Co. Organic Studio DK. I used a size 5 needle. For some unknown and unfortunate reason, I used DPNs for the first sleeve, then lightbulbed the idea of magic loop which made Sleeve 2 way faster and more fun than Sleeve 1. (If you are wondering what the magic loop technique is, Jen Arnall-Culliford’s video tutorial will give you superb instruction.)

Hazards. I got marooned on Sleeve Island. I barely got out of there alive. All I can say is that you need to power up on the sleeves, because it will a) give you a strong sense of accomplishment and b) let you see this yarn in all its glory and therefore inspire you further.

I also think this is a project that benefits from swatching.

And from wearing.

I’m in a catfight with somebody over this thing.



PS The past weekend’s Staycation sale resulted in a scurry of folks climbing on the Organic Studio bandwagon, so if you’re interested in these Neighborhood Fiber Co. yarns (sure you are!), you might want to stake your claim sooner rather than later. Thanks to everybody who jumped on board—you’re going to love this yarn.

Leave a Comment


  • It looks great! Pink is very flattering on you. Who knows? I might actually knit something in pink for myself one day . . . and actually WEAR it!

  • That colour really suits you! be careful though, in my experience cats usually win!

  • It’s lovely Ann, and the color is fab – so cheerful! I’m glad you found the will to push through the sleeves – obviously worth it!

  • It looks stunning on you, Ann! Saturated in pink during my 1950s childhood, when pink was virtually the ONLY color for girls, I have avoided it like the plague.
    Now you and Karida have got me reconsidering…it is a beautiful color, and sweater.

  • Great job, Ann! Fit is perfect and color is you (and me). Congratulations!

    From another Ann with a Charles Village Debut Pullover

  • Cats love wool! I have a number of rectangular felted wool pieces (former placemats), and a bunch of acrylic squares left over from a charity project. My three cats go for the wool mats every time, even though the acrylic is thicker and squishier. Cats are on to something.

    • Do you take PayPal?

  • I too saw that color and dreamed it would be mine.
    It is beautiful and you look smashing in it!

  • Oh my goodness! It was very good of you to make that particularly beautiful colour just for the cutest furry person to lay on and look wonderful.

  • I think all humans look good in some pink or another. There’s a pink out there for everyone! And you have found yours. That sweater is gorgeous!

  • This is a beautiful knit! And, I actually love the slight ruching at the yoke, especially as it moves around arm, giving the sleeve a subtle (and very hip) puff. The pattern version also appears to have this, so maybe intentional? I understand not all of us are into a puff sleeve, but this one seems just a suggestion and very sweet. Or maybe that’s my interpretation! Lovely work, enjoy wearing it. The color is terrific on you. ❤️

  • You look great in pink!

  • I have yet to make it on to sleeve island. I’ve had to frog it a couple times. Mainly because I can’t seem to read the pattern correctly. But now I’m glad I haven’t restarted it yet. Now I have some good tips to use. Happy accidents! PS the Netflix show on Bob Ross is worth watching.

  • That color looks fantastic on you! I think that color needs to join your rotation of sweater yarn colors.

  • I love the No Knitting Shall Cling Unto My Person rule but also the idea about watching for creeping dowdiness. Both together are food for thought in the planning of sweater knitting.

  • Nice job! Btw, no use “fighting” with the kitty on this…they ALWAYS have to join the blocking party.

    • I always lay out my blocking board (just like Ann’s) on my side-by-side washer and dryer and then SHUT THE DOOR of the laundry room, because my cat would definitely do exactly that! (when he wasn’t lying on the newspaper my husband was trying to read…)

  • Great color, great design! Could you advise re: blocking board?

    • Please yes. What is that blocking mat? It looks to be perfect for sweater blocking.

      • The blocking mat is sadly no longer available–it was made by a company that makes pads for dining tables. It really is one of my favorite knitting gizmos.

        • I also vote for a similar blocking mat. Yours appears to fold up – which I think would be great for small spaces and those that don’t yet have a dedicated craft room. Apartment living dictates things that fold up nicely into a smallish object that can be tucked somewhere.

        • Here’s your chance for MDK to sell a similar item.

  • Hello beautiful! GREAT sweater, fabulous colour choice

  • Firing up to start mine soon — thanks for the tips!

  • That is a nice sweater and a pretty color. However it would emphasize a part of my body that I don’t feel needs emphasizing.

    • Ditto. And I’m wise enough not to make one just to see if I’m right.

  • ANN! You look marvelous in you new PINK pullover. What great tips you’ve shared…
    Needles up, Winter is Coming.

  • No Knitting Shall Cling Unto My Person. Hahahaha! Thanks for starting my day off with a good laugh.

  • I did miss seeing Karida’s yarns at VKL/NYC. (And you and Kay) I’m glad others tweak – my arms aren’t age 35 anymore.
    Beautiful sweater in my color … wear it in good health and cooler weather.

  • Love your appraisal of the project after knitting it. I read somewhere that, in sewing, once you get a pattern right you should sew more of it. This would also play into knitting except that it takes so much time to knit the first garment. The sweater is beautiful on you.

    • It’s so true–it’s sort of like child-rearing! You get incredibly good at changing a diaper, then wham, that’s the end of that craft project. I definitely would like to knit in multiples, and do when it’s a small thing. I did knit four Easel Sweaters, come to think of it, so the trick maybe is to go worsted gauge or bigger? ; )

  • I hear you about the optimism shown by someone finishing up that lovely sweater in the midst of horrible sweltering heat. You don’t think you will ever need a warm garment ever again. also think I would graft the underarms – always makes me feel as though I am making a better crafted item. When I make mittens I cast on provisionally more stitches than I need when finishing the gusset decreasing in subsequent rounds. make the mirror image one when going back to do the thumb and then have the pleasure of grafting the two edges together. You end up with a diamond that mimicks the shape of the human hand between thumb and forefinger and a really good fit.

    • That’s such a cool technique!

  • OMG I luuuuv your sweater!! This is super-timely since my squishy mail is on the way to me for my very exciting Debut of my very own! I’m racing through my Swancho — those yoke repeats are so easily “memorizable” and after that it’ll be almost done! Despite August in Dallas! More humid than usual since we’ve had this water falling from the sky, usually unheard of this time of year. My grass is telling me to stop complaining because it’s loving it . . .

    • Nashville is so weirdly GREEN? Where is the dried-up August??? So glad you’re having fun with the Swoncho–I need to get mine started.

    • P.S. I’m team 3-Needle Bind-off, anytime, anywhere possible!

  • Beautiful sweater!

    It also complements Kermits coloring as well!

  • Oh, how awesome! Hi Kermit!

  • It’s gorgeous and fits you beautifully <3

  • Looks Fabulous!! You can NEVER go wrong with PINK!!!

  • Always nice to see photos of Kermit on the job, busy testing yarns for the MDK shop! (The sweater looks great, too.)

  • You sparkle in bright pink!

  • You certainly do shine in this pink sweater!!!! Looks great on you….
    I wanted to let you know that despite my owning 3 different interchangeable needle sets I recently purchased the Tulip set as well…. no of course I did not need them , but I was compelled to make the purchase as I do love knitting with bamboo needles but he kicker was how you take yours wherever you go!!! I must say I am beyond thrilled with my purchase: NO TOOLS ~ brilliant and that they allow for such ease of sliding stitched across the needles is anther plus!!! Thanx for your rave review!!!

  • Sweater looks great on you! The yoke falls perfectly & you look absolutely fetching in that pink. From the comments, I seen I’m not the only one inspired to make a pink sweater.

  • The sweater is beautiful, Ann. I like the shorter look on you, as well as the color. Once the Humidity Festival is over, I think you’re really going to enjoy the wear!

  • So glad to see you out of neutral. This color is wonderful on you. Great choice to Kitchener the underarms. Less bulky, for sure.

  • Love the pink on you!

  • Totally gorgeous color, and one you likely wear even better at this stage of your life. Thanks for the honest review of the plus and minus of the pattern as is, and the photo of your beautiful kitty. Enjoy it!

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