We all have that precious skein or two of handspun fingering-weight yarn that's just crying out to become something special. Why not turn it into the yoke of a lightweight cardigan, perfect for transitioning from Summer to Fall. Add in a few skeins of a complementary commercial yarn (or more handspun, if you have it), and you're all set!
The body and sleeves of this sweater are worked from the bottom up with integrated garter stitch button bands, and the yoke is constructed sideways, nipping off a stitch of the body for every garter ridge worked. Short rows shape things into a traditional round yoke turned on its side.
From Anne/Wooly Wonka
When Kathleen first showed me the prototype for her Bloc Party cardigan, I immediately thought "Wow! That'd be great done up in handspun." After some back and forth, we came up with a plan, and I set her up with a matched set of enough handspun to knit the yoke and a commercially spun yarn I'd hand-dyed to work the body of the sweater. She needed a fingering-weight yarn, and wanted something with both body and drape, so I suggested a BFL (blue-faced Leicester wool) and silk blend, since I had that both in roving form and yarn form. After looking through some colorway options, Kathleen picked one of my personal favorites, "Lupines", for the roving, and left it to me to dye something that would pair well with it for the commercial yarn. (I created a dark blurple, "Blackberries" for that colorway.)
To spin up the dyed roving, I split the 4-oz braid into four equal sections (about 1 oz each). I then pulled narrow strips off the roving lengthwise as I spun, and worked on keeping the singles smooth as I spun them, as I wanted a smooth, shiny yarn with a worsted-type character. I had taken a spare yard of the commercial yarn and kept that as a reference guide next to my wheel, so I could pull out a yard of singles from the bobbin, let them twist back on themselves and check to see that I was keeping a fairly close match to the commercial yarn. I spun all the singles onto two bobbins, then plied the singles together into a 2-ply yarn.
I wound the yarn off, gave it a little bath with wool wash, spun the water out and gave it a few snaps to set the twist. I let it air dry, and then packed it and the commercial yarn up to head out to Kathleen for knitting tasks.
This version of Bloc Party turned out even better than I could have imagined. This version is all gleaming-silk refinement. The drape of the body yarn is elegant, and the silk in the handspun elevates the garter stitch yoke. It doesn't hurt that I found the perfect sparkly buttons at M&J Trimming. Dress it up for a special occasion, dress it down for every day, but no matter what, you're ready to party!
21 sts x 32 rows = 4" in MC in Stockinette stitch on larger needle
20 sts x 40 rows = 4" in CC in Garter stitch on smaller needle
PATTERN NOTES [Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]
Slip all sts purlwise.
You don't need to wrap stitches when working short rows in garter stitch; simply work the specified stitches, turn your work and go back.
When working buttonholes as you go, I like to work them on both sides, then I know exactly where to sew my buttons when the time comes -- right over the holes to close them up and match the buttonholes!
When working the yoke in CC, be sure to slip the first st of every row purl-wise with yarn in back for a neat edge at the neck and a neat join with the body at the base of the yoke.
SLEEVES (Make 2)
With larger needle and MC, CO 40[44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64] sts. Work 10 rows in Garter St, then work 5 rows of St st.
Inc Row [RS]: K1, M1L, k to last st, M1R, k1. 2 sts inc'd
Work 5 rows even.
Rep the last 6 rows 9[10, 11, 13, 15, 15, 16] more times. 58[64, 70, 78, 86, 90, 96] sts.
Work even until sleeve measures 13.5[14, 14, 15, 15, 15.5, 15.5] inches, or desired length to underarm.
Place first and last 7[8, 9, 10, 11, 11, 12] sts of last row on waste yarn for underarms.
Set aside. 44[48, 52, 58, 62, 68, 72] held for yoke; 14[16, 18, 20, 22, 22, 24] sts on waste yarn for underarm.
With larger needle and MC, CO 168[189, 210, 231, 252, 273, 294] sts.