Milano

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This is my first project of 2014. I don’t mind admitting that it was an entirely selfish knit, just for me. A few months ago, I noticed that Jean was knitting Carol Sunday’s Milano. Ye gods, what a gorgeous thing it was! Those stripes killed me! I had to copy Jean and knit those stripes! So I treated myself to the kit, with the intention of enjoying it over the holidays. The most relaxing kind of knitting I can think of is striped stockinette, worked in the round. And my all-time favourite garment construction – the shape I can whip up while barely thinking about it – is a seamless yoke. So that’s what I decided to do. (Carol’s original dropped-shoulder design for the kit is completely gorgeous, but because I am short and narrow of shoulder, its a shape that doesn’t really work on me.)

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I really cannot say enough good things about Carol’s yarn, or her wonderful colours. The kit combines three different base yarns, all of which are majority-merino and which all knit to the same gauge. The shades have a delicious muted quality, and have an incredible tonal consonancy: by which I mean that that they all seem to speak to one another, without particular shades becoming overly dominant in the palette. But they are all totally distinct, rather than graded shades – so while they all work together, there’s still lots of contrast between them. The way Carol has put them together in sequence (from cool shades light-dark to warm shades dark-light) is genius, and really made me think about different ways of organising hues. I love the end result.

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I decided to knit my jumper tunic length – and its turned out to be an eminently wearable garment that is very nearly a dress! Because I know some of you will be interested in my design decisions: I knit the body with an inch of positive ease and added gentle waist and bust shaping. The sleeves are knit following exactly the same stripe sequence as the body (6 +2 rounds), but are worked at a slightly tighter gauge, which has reduced the length. These matching stripes allowed me to join the yoke with the correct shade, and the same round, for each of the three pieces, but to account for extra length through the body. After joining the yoke, I went down a needle size so that the fabric was tighter and closer fitting, and then later reduced the depth of the stripes to 5+2, largely because I became obsessed with ending the neck with the lagoon shade, which is probably my favourite in Carol’s lovely palette.

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Honestly, I can think of nothing I’d rather knit than a circular yoke. There’s just something so satisfying about joining in the sleeves, whizzing around, and shaping the top. Ah me. But I know from speaking to my knitting friends that stockinette stripes would emphatically not be their choice for a relaxing, selfish project. These preferences rather interest me: if you were knitting something relaxing just for you what would it be? Socks? A shawl? Would you have to to wear it, or would the making of it be enough?

I have to say that I am particularly happy to be wearing this tunic. I completely loved knitting it, and as I rarely get to wear the things I make these days, this project really has been doubly satisfying. I imagine I’m going to be knocking about in my Milano quite a lot in weeks to come.

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I can heartily recommend Carol’s kit, which, as well as completely being beautiful and delicious, is also amazing value. I have enough yarn remaining to knit another tunic of similar dimensions. And a hat too. I may well make the latter.

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And though I didn’t knit from it, from having a good ol’ read (which I often do with written patterns) I’d also recommend Carol’s design, which, like all her patterns is clear, thorough, and very well-written. In short, I heart Sunday Knits!

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My Milano is ravelled here.

60 responses

  1. Beautiful…..and fun! I couldn’t agree more about Carol Sunday’s yarns and designs. I just finished a sweater in Brigadoon, and I adore it. My new project is one of her cowls in
    Angelic. Lovely lady, lovely yarns. So glad you did a ‘me’ project and are happy with it. I think my selfish knit would be a seamless sweater as well….top down.

  2. I love this jumper! The colours are beautiful and it looks really easy.

    I love stripe work and knitting in the round, so stripy hats are my favourite thing to knit.

  3. That is exactly the sweater pattern I am looking for but I’m not clever enough to work it out. I have some gorgeous Drops superwash merino in lots of colours and have been wanting to emulate your Northmavine Hoody for ages, but I have DK as I may take years to finish anything other than socks fingering! Any chance of a Kate styled pattern for us?! Thank you for more stunning inspiration. Fiona

    • I agree- it’s the design I’ve been looking for to go with the Sunday yarns kit! Please, please do a “Kate styled” pattern?

  4. That looks awesome! My selfish knit for myself – currently on my needles and soon to be off them – is your Shepherd hoody. The first sweater I’ve knitted for myself for about four years. I love those cables and the seamless construction (I got hold of 1kg of West Yorkshire Spinners BFL on a cone so I had no ends to weave in) and the hood made it a must-have. I practically never see patterns I like for me, but that one was an instant-in-love moment.

  5. YES! I got her free download of a similarly striped scarf and this is a wonderful extension of it. You look great in this tunic. I loved and bought her Aberdeen mittens…….thistles, my favourites.

    • Oh, I’m working that scarf right now. The yarn is gorgeous! It is such a dream to knit! As much as I love stripes in the round, my daughter asked me to make the scarf at least 6 feet long (!) and I am starting to get tired… sigh. Good thing that (a) I love my daughter and (b) I love the yarn! :)

  6. Gorgeous!
    But if I love knitting in the round ( I made the owl sweater, it was great fun), I cannot understand how you manage to change colours without creating a small step… Is it what appears like a seam on your right side ?
    Have a nice Sunday

  7. can you post your changes to this tunic pattern for sale or otherwise?
    i bought the yarn but want the tunic style not the loose sweater

    • Kate, I love your tunic so much but am not confident enough to remodel the kit the way you have. Like Violet, I would be happy to purchase your pattern for the tunic as I simply adore the colours in the stripes.

  8. So happy for you that you’ve got your own new sweater, after having given so many of us so much pleasure! I also love your phrase ‘tonal consonance’, something to mull over when thinking about how and why colours work together. My relaxing piece would be a two colour piece of stranded knitting – so no constant breaking of yarn – just the addictive lure of seeing the pattern forming, diverge and converge. An argyle pattern for choice – the end of each repeat is the beginning of another. Mesmerising.

  9. You know, one of the great reasons for following your blog Kate, is the fab links you provide to designers, yarn manufacturers etc. I may never have found about anywhere else. Carol’s kits are new to me and now objects of desire, for sure. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry to want yet another project I could never possibly afford to buy! Oh well – in my dreams maybe ;)

  10. Lovely project! I’ve experimented with several jog-less stripe techniques but none completely satisfy me. What method do you favor? Thanks!

  11. Selfish knit depends. If it’s something to concentrate on, lace. Or cables. If it’s to keep me sane during difficult times, lots of single-colour garter stitch is great. I find wrangling more than one ball of yarn attached to the project at any one time really annoying.

  12. I have admired Carol Sundays stuff ever since her “Acorn” appeared in the same photoshoot as my “Sandridge” (Fall 2010 Twist Collective). I find her designs quite breathtaking. They leave me feeling wholly inadequate. As for what I knit for relaxation? That would be a re-knit of one of my own designs with my own handspun. I’m a newcomer to spinning, but find working with my own yarn to be the best thing of all, and with a pattern that’s had all the kinks worked out I can knit on auto-pilot and listen to a audiobook–the most relaxing kind of day. Finally, I must say that I decide what to design based entirely on what I want to wear. (OK, sometimes I knit for a family member.) For me, the ultimate test of a design is in the wearing, and I wear something of my own making every single day.
    P.S. You look stunning in the tunic-length stripes. Wish I had your lovely figure.

  13. I couldn’t imagine how your modifications left you with enough yarn for another sweater until I went to the website and saw that the original sweater was very generously shaped. Love your modifications. I’m not one for very fitted sweaters, but then I don’t like them so baggy either. Like you I never met a pattern I haven’t changed in some way.

  14. I’ve been admiring this sweater for awhile, but I must admit I much prefer your fit to the one on the website. The large neck opening, and rather sloppy fit didn’t excite me and I was hesitant to buy it. But after seeing how spectacular it looks after you modified it for you, I think I will. Bravo, another hit!

  15. Oh it’s gorgeous, I have to get me some stripes. What amazing colours! And stocking stitch in the round, with just a change in colour to stop me relaxing into unconsciousness? My favourite kind of downtime knitting.

  16. Absolutely lovely, and the fitted version suits you so well! My selfish knitting for myself … well, I’m very choosy these days. I have lots of yarn stashed, but it is difficult to find a pattern. Maybe a second Owls sweater, I love the darts in the back. Or Milano … in your version of course!

  17. I loved it so much I ordered a kit for myself. Your idea of completely revising the pattern is great. I’ll do a top down version.

  18. The Milano is a triumph, and the palette is beautiful. It looks so good on you!

    When I want a relaxing knit that is just for me, I like to bust out a hat. Headigan was my absolute favourite go-to pattern for a long time for this purpose; loved the colourwork hat craze, too, and got a real kick out of knitting Caller Herrin’ and Tantallon when you released them.

    There’s a pattern called “Felicity” (haha!) which is a wondrously mindless knit… must admit, though; I had a great time finishing off Mark’s mansweater this Christmas Holiday, too. A single-colour, fat-yarn, 100% WOOL robust seamless hybrid sweater… I love just going around and around with my needles, and preferably no counting to do on the way.

  19. This is a beautiful knit and I have to agree with you on those coloured stripes they are just fabulous! Nothing wrong with treating yourself to selfish knitting once and a while we all should! xx

  20. My favourite sort of no-thinking knitting for myself is top down, flap and gusset heel, wedge toe socks, as I have knitted them for myself so many times that I no longer needs a pattern. They are a quick win in terms of sense of achievement!

    But I also like to challenge myself…this year I am planning to make my first top down garment…a laceweight dress.

    I love your version of Milano- your description of the yarn make me want to buy some to squish and admire the colours… What a pity I am trying to knit through my stash this year!

  21. I was just in one of my LYS today and the proprietor was wearing a lovely Sunday cardigan. She said she’s coming here soon for a trunk show —patterns, yarns and kits!! How exciting–I’ll be there.
    Your sweater is beautiful and is lovely on you.

  22. Your Milano is stunning! Thank you for sharing! I’ve loved the colors, too. (I can recognize ‘good’ color combinations, but alas, don’t have the experience to create them myself. So hooray for others that do it for me!)
    As an added bonus, it made me go to Carol Sunday’s site and watch her really *great* video on wrapless short-rows. (She’s obviously a good teacher: showing things slowly and clearly, start to finish. And a good job with the narration and video.) http://www.sundayknits.com/techniques.html

    Selfish knitting? Oh, it’s all “selfish” by some definition. I have learned that my time and energy is too precious to waste on knitting/making anything that doesn’t make me happy in some way. (Which is not to say that I won’t slog through something.) Just learning a new technique or process or idea is wonderful for me. (When asked “What do you sew” I used to reply “samples” because it seemed to make up a lot of what I did — experimenting and learning and making samples.)
    Things that make me laugh are my most ‘self focused’ knitting: Your Sheep-Carousel tea cozy, for example. (I made it last year for the start of Downton Abbey.) Or working with a yarn that is just wonderful (colors are usually invovled). Or making something so funny, I laugh the whole time (A pink satin, gold-trimmed ‘bra’ for the belly-dancer Halloween costume for my 110 lb Newfy! Tell Bruce to be thankful he doesn’t live at my house! All Dogs Must Dress Up for Halloween is the rule here. Aforementioned Newfy also had a yellow-gingham ‘square dancing’ dress.)
    Knitting and other ‘making’ is my antidote to the stressful things in life, so I try to make it as non-stressful as possible. Is that “selfish”? I dunno. I express my generosity toward others in other ways, so I don’t have any problem keeping this part for me. (Interestingly, a letter-writer to the New York Times paper this very week says “While society rebukes girls for selfishness, it excuses or even rewards boys’ selfish acts.” which I think is true. Just pondering how the word “selfish” is used.)
    If you’re a talented knitter and designer and you knit yourself a sweater, is that “selfish”? I don’t think many would view it that way. I think it’s wonderful.

  23. What an absolutely stunning Milano! You look so happy and comfortable in it :) I’ve been keen try Carol’s yarns for ages- such beautiful textures and colours.

    I’ve been knitting for other people for the last couple of months and have been feeling a bit under-enthusiastic as a result (isn’t that terrible!) so I joined Ysolda’s mystery shawl KAL- It feels very odd to knit something that I can’t see beforehand but it feels like a complete indulgence… And I need a bit of that to get me inspired again.

    Enjoy your lovely new tunic!

  24. Love it! I am less adventurous with stripes: stockinette sweaters from the top-down are among my favorite “me” projects. Currently I have an Ease (Alicia Plummer) on the needles, and I can’t wait to wear it!

  25. Spectacular! I can see why it would have been such a pleasure to knit. It seems jogless. Which method did you use?

  26. Love your version of the sweater! I would love to purchase a pattern from you should it become available as I am too novice a knitter to figure it out for myself.

  27. Luv the mods! Wish I was talented enough to make mods to patterns. Just having fun learning to knit and luv the new yarns available.

    Whew, weren’t there a lot of ends to weave in??

    How did you make the jogless stripes in the round?

    What is the name of the pattern for your headband/cap?

    Mahalo.

  28. Carol really has a way with arranging colors. I’m always impressed with how harmoniously she can make colors interact.

    As for me, my current relaxing knit is a stockinette sock using self-striping yarn. There is a bit of instant gratification every time the color changes and no extra ends to weave in at the end.

  29. Gorgeous! I may have to get a kit…those colours are so wonderful. Love the mod to the shape too. I would usually choose striped stockinette as my relaxing knit too (or corrugated rib), although possibly something less involved than a top – a hat, gloves, maybe socks. One because they are easy mindless knitting, two because of the ease of playing with colour and finally because I wear a lot of stripes and it is important to me to knit things I will use :D

  30. Fascinating, and the sweater looks good on you, but honestly, I would hate it on me. Both the stripes and the yoke neck would, in my opinion, emphasize all my bad points and look bad. So my favorite default sweater is either a top-down raglan or a set-in sleeve sweater. The top-down raglan is especially easy, since it doesn’t really require sewing together pieces. I’m about to do my first top-down version of a set-in sleeve, so I’m interested in seeing how “easy” it is and how much it cuts down on that sewing part.

    But for truly autopilot knitting, a basic sock, top-down or toe-up, double rib cuff, star toe, is my default. I almost always have one going, and have enough of a collection that most of the socks I wear are my own hand-knitted ones.

  31. Ah, that is so beautiful and the way that you write about it is too. I’ve been a bit off the knitting scene of late but, I’m going to enjoy looking over Sunday Knits’ site.
    My favourite kind of relaxing knitting is stocking stitch stripes but, because I think it must just be the act of knitting that relaxes me, I just like knitting squares. Needless to say, I’m making a blanket out of my squares. I really like starting with a selection of colours and then just adding them in as and when the mood takes me but I also love bold cream/red or cream/blue type stripes. I hardly ever do a uniform striping pattern though.
    Thanks
    Susie

  32. how absolutely stunning you are in your gorgeous sweater. you must be utterly delighted to have it!
    you must make a hat too! i’m making a circular yoke dress right now that is really relaxing, comfortable knit (no thinking, just round and round, everysooften a bit of gentle shaping). i do hope to wear it too.

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