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by Kristi Schuler

originally posted on Kristi's blog, Fiberfool.

My goal for Sundog was to make a fun-to-knit but relatively quick project that would work well for both boys and girls. Everyone I know who has had children in the last 5 years has had boys. We all know there are tons of fun girl patterns out there, but it can be more difficult to find a fun boy pattern.


I felt a splash of handpainted yarn would spice things up a bit without the result being overly flashy or needing to worry about breaking up any pooling or flashing. I also wanted a design that could grow with the child(ren) and get more than one season’s worth of wear out of it. This inspired the fold-back cuffs on the sweater. Many children grow taller, getting longer arms and torsos without gaining much in circumference. Since the sweater has no shaping, I suggest knitting the sleeves and torso to the perfect length right now, then add the extra border.


The cuff border is knit with the wrong side out so when folded back it matches the yoke and bottom body, but the wrong side of the stitch pattern is pretty as well so the following year the cuffs can be worn without folding back. Of course it is knit from the top down so you could also rip back and add more length to either portion as well! The really adventurous could even add more circumference to the sweater by steeking it at the sides and adding in gusset panels!


In my original proposal swatch I chose a yarn with short lengths of many colors for the handpainted yarn and a coordinating solid that appeared in the multi-color yarn. This created a softer look to the striping - almost a watercolor look. For the look in the magazine, coordinating — but not matching — colors were chosen. That is the look I would recommend for yarn with longer lengths of a given color (generally commercial handpaints with 4 or fewer distinct hues).

In general the yoke pattern will pop more if the solid is a complimentary color of one of the predominant hues in the handpaint yarn like the sample in the magazine (red and green are complimentary colors and pink is a tint of red). If you are not confident in choosing a non-matching handpaint to go with a solid or you want a little more subtle look to the yoke and borders you may wish to choose an analogous solid color of similar value to the handpaint.


The magazine sample is of course in girl colors, but the sweater works equally well in unisex or boy colors.  Here are some possible combos. Originally I had ordered the solid from the first picture with the multi-color in the second photo. Upon seeing them in person I realized they were a near perfect match in color, and that color was probably a good 1/3 of the skein. That was going to be much too matchy and it would obscure the work that goes into the stitch pattern in the yoke. Any of the above combos would work. It just comes down to personal preference.

Of course you are not locked into using only Lorna’s Laces, the yarn called for in the magazine. There are a wide variety of yarns being used for the sweater. You just need the pretty standard worsted weight gauge of 5 sts and 7 rnds per inch. Lorna’s Laces is a great choice as it very soft, is superwash (a requirement of mine for kid knitting) and they dye both semi-solids and coordinating multi-colors. Many of the great indie dyers would also have working color combos in the proper gauge.