Shape and Texture


For several years now, one of my Holy Grail clothing items has been a chunky wool cable knit sweater that actually has some feminine shape to it, and does not cost thousands of dollars. Now, at any given point in time, I have a list of Holy Grail items, and this one was somewhere outside of the top 5 on the list, UNTIL…

You may know Renee of Miss Celie’s Pants. She is a lovely, warm, and gracious person who is one of my favorite people to converse with. A while back, she got into her head that I should get a knitting machine. Whenever she brought it up, my response was always the same. “I don’t need another hobby.”h Then she would send me another Craigslist link with a promising knitting machine.

A month or so ago (or more or less — experience tells me that my concept of time bears no relation to its actual passage), she messaged me that she was looking to sell one of her knitting machines that she no longer uses, and would I want to buy it? It so happens that I was planning on being in her neck of the woods shortly, so I said, sure, why not?

I went to her house to pick it up, and she gave me an amazingly informative demo of its workings. I came home, set it up, and my 10-year-old commandeered it for the first week or 2. She took all of the spare yarn cluttering up the house and knit a multicolored blanket with it. Then I kicked her off the machine, ordered some wool from the clearance section at Made in America Yarns, watched many videos, and made the sweater of my dreams! It’s wool! It’s cable knit! and it’s curvy rather than boxy! I can’t wait to make another one. Or maybe a whole dress!

It came out really well. I did not use a pattern. I based the size and shape of the pattern pieces on my measurements. The only problem is that it’s a little too tight at the bicep, but I can definitely live with that.

back view

back view

Neckline.  I even managed to hook up the ribber!

Neckline. I even managed to hook up the ribber!

bust shaping

bust shaping



back shaping

back shaping



  1. Posted August 3, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wowser- and no pattern? Beyond my limited abilities! It’s lovely

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! Actually, most of the reason that I did not use a pattern is that I don’t know how to read a knitting pattern, and don’t really have a desire to learn. If I concentrate until my brain starts to hurt, I can arrive at an understanding of a chart, but most patterns are written out, which is hard for me.

  2. jeanniecrockett
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is so great, Claudine. Do you mind if I share the link to your blog on a Facebook group? Or would you be interested in joining our group? Miss Celie (Renee) belongs to the FB group, too.


    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! Yes, by all means, share it everywhere!

      • jeanniecrockett
        Posted August 3, 2016 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for allowing me to share. I agree with you about knitting patterns—charts are OK, but written instructions don’t compute with my brain!

  3. Hanna
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gorgeous! That color is to die for, and it really looks like the most perfect fall sweater to just live in. How long did it take to kick out the pieces?

    • Posted August 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! I love the color too. Just orange enough to feel like fall. Hmmm, hard to say. 2 weeks, maybe? But it would have been faster if I were more familiar with the process.

  4. Elizabeth
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    You must be a savant! Gorgeous!

  5. fabricfan
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wow, incredible, I think you may just found a new hobby. It looks lovely.

  6. Posted August 3, 2016 at 8:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a gorgeous sweater! And I LOVE the shaping. It gives it a feminine touch.

  7. Carolyn
    Posted August 3, 2016 at 11:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is gorgeous and I can just imagine how wonderful your dress will be!

  8. Posted August 3, 2016 at 11:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    OMG THIS IS AMAZING!! (At first cap lock was accidentally on but then I realized this sweater deserves all caps).

  9. Posted August 4, 2016 at 3:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    That is absolutely awesome. I’m definitely not the shape to wear something like this but as a vintage lover I can imagine what 1940s inspired gems you could produce! And with no pattern! I am so impressed. Never used a knitting machine, but it can’t have been easy to work out all that shaping and pattern at the same time. Brilliant.

  10. Posted August 4, 2016 at 3:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    Totally amazing as a first machine made garment. I always agreed with you about not needing another hobby. However…..

  11. Posted August 4, 2016 at 6:01 am | Permalink | Reply

    Fabulous! Fellow machine knitter who didn’t need another hobby here too. Well done you. Also there’s lots of hand knit patterns now that are charted – in fact most new ones on Ravelry are now. With schematics, if you’re interested. Mostly knitted in the round tho.

    • Posted August 4, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! I want to look into knitting in the round. I can do it with the ribber.

  12. Posted August 4, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m totally gobsmacked. Holy cow Claudine. I’m so glad you like / ‘get’ machine knitting!! I’m like you though. I’ve tried to read HK patterns and my eyes just glaze over. I’m much better with charts and diagrams. But, not like this. I KNEW you would take to this! You have the brain of an engineer and like to figure out puzzles. That’s totally what machine knitting is. And, with your machine and built in Intarsia, I think you’ll have multicolored unicorns on sweaters for your sweet girl in no time. I think the Singer Guide to Knitting Garments might be a good book for you if you’re going with the drafting route. It shows ways to knit different kinds of collars, details, etc.

    Did you use short rows for shaping? It’s so nice and smooth! And, that’s a hung hem, yes?

    Ok, I need to go and look at my machine in an accusatory manner.

    • Posted August 4, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! You were so right about this hobby being a good fit for me. I totally need to look into the Intarsia.

      I used short rows on the sleeves, to get some elbow shaping. I think that’s the only place.

  13. Shams
    Posted August 4, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink | Reply

    Claudine, this is GORGEOUS! I watched it evolve on Instagram and was still amazed by the beautiful, professional result!

  14. Nancy K
    Posted August 4, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    this is amazing Claudine. I can’t believe that this is your first sweater! I am so tempted, but I keep saying I don’t need another hobby. But I am tempted! I have a friend who has two knitting machines she hasn’t used in years. Maybe I’ll ask her how much she wants for one of them.

    • Posted August 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Nancy! Technically, this is not my first sweater. I hand knit one a couple of years ago that I wear quite often. Then I started hand knitting another sweater, but never finished it.

  15. Posted August 4, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    You’ve inspired me! I’ve had my knitting machines far too long and have only made hats. But I want a sweater! So I’d better get to it! Lovely!

    • Posted August 4, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, get to it! Even if you mess it up, you will learn so much that your next project will be perfect.

  16. KathieB
    Posted August 4, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wow! Thatnisnone heck of a first project. I am blown away. It is fabulous

  17. KathieB
    Posted August 4, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wow! That is one heck of a first project. Fabulous!

  18. jeanniecrockett
    Posted August 4, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Claudine, I shared your link with photo on two different groups. You’ve gotten 120 Likes and Loves with 17 comments on one group, and 42 Likes and Loves with 12 comments on the other smaller group. If you’d like to see the comments, I’ll copy and paste them into an email. Are you going to the Silk City sale this weekend? I haven’t seen a flyer on it yet.

    • Posted August 5, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink | Reply

      I emailed silk city a while back about their sales, and they told me that their next one is August 13. Unfortunately, I can’t make that date, but I plan on going to the September sale.

  19. Posted August 5, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    I saw this on FB. It’s an awesome first effort that would defeat many more experienced knitters. I’m looking forward to more knitterly exploits from you!

    On the subject of knitting patterns, I wrote a blog post about my process to convert them into graphs that you can use at the machine. I started with a pattern that had a schematic drawing but you could also start with an existing sweater you like the shape of.

  20. ellecsews
    Posted August 7, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    I am most seriously annoyed with you. My muse has been trying to get me to buy a knitting machine and I have managed to ignore her. This post may have pushed me over the edge. Now I am off to troll the internet classifieds. Bad bad Claudine.

    PS-your sweater is beyond beautiful.

  21. Posted August 16, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    Really lovely! Congratulations! And good for you not using a pattern. I always tell people that a machine knitting sweater pattern isn’t worth the effort. I never used them either. How do people ever get gauge? You’ve inspired me to do some fully fashioned sweaters again! So beautiful!

  22. Heide LaTondrese
    Posted November 9, 2016 at 11:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gorgeous. I am sooooo sorry that there is no pattern, because I was ready to buy it. But how wonderful that you figured one out to fit yourself. Congrats! Really nice work.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: