Thursday, October 17, 2019

Pattern Release: Public Works Pullover

One of the designer groups on Ravelry that I'm involved in is the Budding Designers group, and every year for the past several years we've had a thread in which we post our design goals for the year and then periodically check in. For 2019, I had two goals: Release 13 new patterns (which would get my portfolio to the magic number of 100 designs) and, as part of those 13, release a yoked colorwork sweater pattern. While I'm not quite at 100 designs for the year just yet, I am super excited about the new pattern I have to share with you today.

As you probably already know, I do a lot of walking. Partially it's because I hate to drive, but where we live it's actually easier and cheaper to walk many places than it is to drive and try to park. Because I walk many of the same places every day, the walk can get a bit boring, so I'm always on the lookout for interesting things, and some months ago I noticed that there are some manhole covers along my route to work that are really beautiful. They say that inspiration can strike at any time, and I suppose there are stranger things to inspire a sweater than manhole covers!

I've been working on this pattern for several months now and am completely delighted with how it turned out. I've abstracted the metalwork that first inspired me into repeating geometric motifs that appear in the yoke, at the bottom of the body, and at the wrists. My goal was to create a sweater that was comfy, like an well-worn sweatshirt, and I think I've achieved that. The body is straight (though you can add waist shaping if you like), and the sleeves are fitted but not tight. I can comfortably wear a layer under this sweater and still feel like I have room to move.

The yarn I used for the sample is pretty special. This is naturally colored Shetland from the Ross Farm -- the lighter color is from a sheep named Marigold and the darker from a sheep named Lindy. These farmers (who I'm also happy to call friends) specialize in rare and heritage breeds, and all their yarns are undyed, minimally processed, and breed specific -- and my favorite thing is that each skein of yarn comes with a photo on the sheep who grew the fleece on the label! Their Shetland yarn is one of my absolutely favorites to knit with. It's the softest Shetland I've ever felt, for one thing, but because it's minimally processed, it also still has a little bit of lanolin in it and smells delightfully sheepy. The three-ply Shetland yarn used to be labeled sport weight, but I noticed when I was adding the pattern to Ravelry that it's now listed as a DK, and it certainly knits up well at a DK gauge, so I've recommended a DK or at least a heavy sport in the pattern.

I've tried to make the sizing on this sweater as inclusive as possible, so the 11 finished sizes range from 30.5 in./76.5 cm up to 59 in./147.5 cm, with 2-4 in./5-10 cm recommended ease. (For reference, I'm wearing a size 37 in./92.5 cm finished size with roughly 2 in./5 cm ease.) There are optional short rows to raise the back of the sweater, and certainly there's a lot of flexibility in the body to add shaping or add or subtract length.

This sweater will be making its debut in the Ross Farm booth at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck) this weekend in Building 22-U. Provided the weather cooperates, I'll be wearing it, and there will be plenty of Shetland yarn if you want to make one of your own in the same yarn! If you can't make it to Rhinebeck this year, you can still get the pattern on Ravelry, and this weekend only, it's available for 25% off with the coupon code RHINEBECK. Hop on over to get it now!


  1. Your sweater is gorgeous, and I love reading about your design inspiration, Marigold, and Lindy! I hope you have sweater weather this weekend so you can show off this masterpiece. Thanks for the coupon and introducing me to the Ross Farm and their sheep!

  2. I love the name! And, that this sweater is Pittsburgh Inspired! (and local yarn is also a bonus!)

  3. Congratulations, Sarah - it's a great design! I love the story behind the colorwork motifs and the details you worked into the pattern (short rows to raise the back neck, the fit! and the gauge) are sure to make this a favorite. It looks like a sweater I'd enjoy knitting ... and wearing for many years!