Kirigami Jumper

PatternKirigami by Gudrun Johnston
Dates25th October – 31st December 2020
MaterialsIt’s a Stitch Up Dynamite DK
Colonel Mustard – 465g

3.00mm needles
Size3 (body); 1/2 (sleeves)
RatingPattern: 4/5
Finished item: 5/5

This is a pattern that’s been in my queue along with the yarn for a good while. I saw this knit up as a sample in this exact yarn on It’s a Stitch Up’s Yarnporium stand and immediately fell in love. In hindsight I’m glad that it took a while to get round to knitting it, because that meant I understood a lot more about gauge and fit and had more confidence in the adjustments I would need to make to get the fit I wanted.

The pattern was designed for Brooklyn Tweed Arbor, 145yds per 50g, and suggested 3.75mm needles for a gauge of 23sts x 34 rows per 4″ square. Dynamite DK is 123yds per 50g so quite a different DK yarn, and I got closest to the stitch gauge with 3.00mm needles (22 rather than 23 stitches). Row gauge was miles off, but it always is for me so I just measure as I go for length.

Preparation for this project involved listing out all the size chart and measurements from the pattern in Excel, listing my body measurements, and after swatching, calculating the actual finished garment measurements I would get for each size. Calculations done, I highlighted the size chart (based on what I would get for my gauge) for each measurement with the one closest to what I wanted, taking account of my measurements and desired ease. That came out with size 1 for sleeve cuff and neckband; size 2 for bicep, and between size 3 and 4 for bust, waist and hip.

I decided to knit size 3 body, because previously when I’ve erred on the larger size this has ended up feeling too big, plus Dynamite DK is a superwash so I knew it would have the tendency to grow and be easily stretched. For the sleeves, I cast on the number of stitches for size 1, but then followed the increases for size 2. At the point of rejoining sleeves and body to start the yoke, I had to check that the number of stitches I now had (size 3 body + size 2 sleeves) would work with the pattern repeat – i.e., that it would repeat evenly into that number. As it turned out, the easiest way to solve this turned out to be to only do one of the two yoke decrease rounds that happen before the pattern starts.

Initially I had been a bit daunted by the fact that the pattern is only charted – maybe this is one of the reasons it sat awaiting needles for so long – but really I didn’t find this a challenge at this stage. It’s a very memorable repeat, and I probably wouldn’t have referred so closely to the chart in the end if it hadn’t been for the fact I was alternating skeins of yarn using helical knitting in order to blend the variability of this hand dyed colour. That means that you actually have two rounds of the pattern “live” at any given time, so the chart was useful to remind me where in the pattern I had dropped one yarn and picked up the next, for when I came back around to resume it.

After the chart, the pattern only calls for one further decrease round and then the neckband. You can see from the pattern photos and the measurements that it’s designed as a wide, almost boat-neck. From my preparation work, I knew that having knit a hybrid size 3/2 yoke, the neckband needed to get down to something near size 1 to work on my narrow shouldered frame. I put the stitches onto waste yarn so I could try it on after I finished the chart, and sure enough it was just clinging to my shoulder points. I knew that if I finished the pattern as written, it would almost surely end up falling off my shoulders and not become the comfortable enjoyable wear I wanted. I just had enough stitches left in the round to be able to fit in one more six-round repeat of the pattern, and then proceeded with the final decrease round and a slightly deeper neckband.

I’m really pleased with the finished garment, and it was well worth the time investment upfront in swatching and recalculating the size chart. The sleeves are a little bit long, but that’s better than being too short, and the fit overall is exactly what I wanted. It’s not quite so relaxed as the design photos, but it’s the balance of comfortable and fitted that I wanted. The length is perfect, and the more crew-neck yoke fit is the best of any jumper I’ve made so far. I’ve concluded that this is an area I really need to pay attention to in future knits. So often the focus is on bust fit, but for me I think yoke is actually the problem area – or at least, the coming together of my torso/bust size and arms. If I just knit sleeves and body to the size I need to fit my bust, that tends to mean excess fabric around the upper arm and shoulders and too wide a neckline. This strategy of melding two different sizes is definitely one I will use again!

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