I was really pleased to find the pattern for this versatile top for my mom in the Holiday 2014 Vogue Knitting. It’s pattern #20, the Cable and Chevron Top. It’s probably an intermediate level pattern, with some cable work, plenty of increases and decreases to create the chevron stripes, and a slightly different way than usual to shape the neck (but no more difficult).
The yarn I used was Ella Rae Classic Wool, which is not machine washable. (That brand also has a machine washable yarn in the same weight, but I believe the color choices are different and possibly more limited.) I found it easy to work with. It doesn’t split, for example, and is fairly smooth. Maybe a teensy rough, but it is wool, after all. It’s not scratchy to wear, and insulates but is lightweight. Unlike so many hand-knit sweaters, this one could easily be worn inside, even if long sleeves were added.
I used a size eight needle, although the recommended size is a size seven, but the gauge was accurate. I tried a sample with a size seven needle and I was off by one stitch over a 4″ piece, which as you know can add up over the entire width of the sweater.
Now I don’t claim I always knit to the suggested gauge with the suggested needle size, but unless it’s mohair, more often than not I do. Sometimes there are ridiculous suggestions, like a size 3 needle for 6 stitches to an inch, and then no, I don’t knit to what’s on the label.
This top is meant to be oversized, so if you decide to make it, be careful you choose the correct size.
The finished result is really cute and I believe something my mom will get a lot of use out of!
Update: I delivered the sweater to my mom for Valentine’s Day. It fits perfectly and she loves it! She’s found it works with pants and plans to make a skirt to go with it too. This sweater is a style I believe will work for all ages. I looked on Ravelry and saw it modeled on several women, young and old(er), and it looked age-appropriate on all of them.