Grace Notes Pullover: Getting Started
Joji Locatelli’s Grace Notes Pullover for Field Guide No. 22: Grace is a wonderfully wearable sweater—casual enough for everyday, and made special with those delicious cables.
Grace Notes features drop-shoulder construction and a boxy body with unshaped armholes—the join where the sleeve meets the body is straight, not curved or raglan. This elegantly simple construction is designed to be worn loose, comfy, and casual. Kay shared her sizing tips here.
It’s worked top down and seamlessly, meaning you can make the sleeves and the body as long as you want, and you don’t need to worry about running out of yarn. But it’s not your usual top-down, so we thought it might be helpful to explain how it works.
Begin at the Back
Top-down sweaters are usually worked in the round right from the neck, but this one starts differently.
The first piece worked is the upper portion of the back: You cast on for the full shoulder width as indicated by the orange line below.
the white arrow shows knitting direction.
The design uses short rows to create sloped shoulder lines. Though you cast on for the entire back at once, the body isn’t straight across at the shoulder.
Once the short rows are done, work back and forth in rows until you hit the depth of the armhole, marked by the blue line above. Place the back stitches on a holder and return to the cast-on edge.
Hold the back piece with RS facing and the cast-on edge at the top. For the right front, start at the right edge. Pick up and knit along the shoulder line, between the right side and the marker (that was placed while casting on) to indicate the start of the neck.
Knit down the right front, first working short rows to shape the shoulder slope, then increasing stitches along the inner edge (the end of the RS rows) for the neckline. Once the piece is the same length as the back—the depth of the armhole—place the stitches on a holder.
Next comes the left front. Again, hold the piece with RS facing and cast-on edge up. Start from the marker (that was placed while casting on) to indicate the neck opening, and pick up and knit stitches working towards the armhole edge.
The shaping is the reverse of the right front, and the neckline shaping takes place near the start of the RS rows.
Once the back, right front, and left front are the same length, follow instructions for joining each front to the back and working further neckline shaping before joining to work in the round.
It’s fun and easy from here, no increases or short rows. Just work the cable patterns as set to your preferred length (keeping in mind the 2.5″ or about 6.5 cm for the hem). If you’ve worked a top-down sweater before, you’ll know how great this is—you can even try it on as you go.
Starting at the underarm, pick up stitches all along the armhole and work in the round.
It can be a challenge to get those picked-up stitches evenly distributed. Top tip: use removable stitch markers to divide the armhole into four equal sections, one at the center of the underarm, one at the shoulder join and one each halfway down the sides. Those markers will help you distribute the picked-up stitches evenly; aim for a quarter in each section. And if you can’t quite get exactly the right stitch count, if you have a couple more or less than you need, just work increases or decreases as required on the first round!
As with the body, you can try the sleeve on as you go, to make sure it’s the length you want. Sleeve length adjustment tips are right here if you need them.
Here’s the best part: When you’ve bound off the second sleeve you’re just a good blocking and bit-of-ends-weaving away from a fabulous new addition to your wardrobe!