Sunday, January 21, 2024

Smocked Knits

Tis the season for hand knits.

I have been spending a fair amount of time in the evenings sitting on the couch with Mr. Valentino, who seems to be most comfortable in that particular spot.  In the past, he would bolt from my lap as soon as the yarn touched him; these days, he refuses to be rousted for almost anything - which means that I have had plenty of time for knitting.

But I wanted something that would not require a massive amount of attention.  I found this Smock Top Sweater pattern on Ravelry.  I can't recall exactly what my search terms were, but I have been very into turtlenecks as of late, so I suspect that was what led me to this pattern.

I was also intrigued by the smocked pattern and how that might be accomplished.  But since the majority of the sweater was a simple 2X2 rib pattern, I figured I could space out and relax with an easy knitting project.

The only real change that I made was to keep that smocked detail going all the way to the shoulder.  As the pattern reads, that detail stops at the neck decreases, but I thought that the design would look better to continue the detail all the way through the top of the sweater front.

Because this sweater is made of a ribbed knit, the pieces were looking rather narrow as they were completed.  I made a gauge swatch before casting on, but to check how stretchy this yarn/ribbing combination actually was, I pinned it to my dress form.

Which made it look more appropriately sized.

The pattern calls for a gentle blocking prior to stitching all of the pieces together, but that seemed like way too much trouble to me!

I waited until everything was seamed together before giving the sweater a gentle soak in soapy water.

And the simple process of being dunked in water stretched the ribbing slightly.

The smocked bit, however, wanted to pull inward, so I placed a couple of pins to keep that part stretched to the width of my shoulders.

That worked great.  The shoulders now sit wide enough on my body and don't pull inward.

This was a fun project.  I know some people dread more than a few inches of ribbing at the hem and cuff, but I find it rather relaxing.  I wouldn't be against making another one of these in a different color if the right yard came along.  Honestly, the most annoying part of the process was waiting for the wool to dry on the blocking board.

And I do believe that this sweater will make an excellent addition to my collection of hand knits!


  1. This is so impressive. It is lovely.

  2. This is beautiful! What type of yarn did you use?

    1. It's Gloss Fingering from KnitPicks; I can't speak to how well it will wear, but it was very nice to work with.