The only way to go – Retro

In November of last year (gosh – I can’t believe I can say that already!) I was commissioned to make a sweater for a lady who has a hard time keeping warm. She found a pattern at a garage sale that she fell in love with and had only one problem – she couldn’t knit.

She had told me about her problem in September or August of last year and I mentioned to her that she could bring me the pattern and I could knit it up for her if it wasn’t too complicated. She could even pick out the yarn herself; Patons Shetland Chunky at Ben Franklin,and it would only be a nominal fee from me to put it together for her. She was so happy to hear that someone could help her. I had almost forgot about her request until she came to me and showed me the pattern. This was right about the time I was knee deep in the Santa Cuff commission so I started to get a little panicked. I wanted to be able to get it to her before the end of winter – if possible.

Taking a deep breath and grabbing my size #17 knitting needles I got to work right away. A swatch was absolutely necessary. This pattern by Susan Bates was originally written in 1986 for Patons  Diana chunky yarn. A sweater using chunky yarn goes very fast and this pattern even had the body knit in the round which made it very fast.



I was abe to get the body done in one weekend. The arms took about another week and the collar only two days. That meant I only had to attach the sleeves which should have only taken me a day. Well, I avoided the seeming as long as possible only because I wasn’t very confident in my seeming capabilities. So, I ended up purchasing a seeming class on Craftsy that helped immensely and gave me tons of confidence.

Before I gave it to my customer my daughter happened to see it and fell in love. Me, personally, I cringed every moment of knitting this sweater. I even had issues with the yarn because every skein had a knot in it half way through each one. I have found that I do not prefer variegated yarn coloring either. But, again, my daughter loved it. So, I had her try it on so I could tell if the size would work. I did, but fit her differently than the lady in the pattern picture. She wanted it to be a bit more cropped so that was an easy alteration to do and she picked Cascade Bigwheel in Portland for her sweater color – which took 5 total skeins. (More than the recommended yardage the pattern called for)


After finishing the first sweater I tweaked some of the pattern to work better and look more professional.

  1. Used a size #8 for small size needle instead of the recommended #7.
  2. On sleeve increases I did them only on rows 4 & 8 and only increased after the 2nd stitch at the beginning of the round.
  3. I was going to do a knitted bind off for the shoulders but forgot – I highly recommend this since the weight of the sweater can be so heavy.
  4. Used the stretchy rib k1p1 bind off for the collar. It makes a very clean, finished look.

I’ve looked every where to see if the pattern was actually for sale still and haven’t found it at all. So, I’m putting it here for free and also on Revelry so others can enjoy the retro craze. My daughter is in love with it and it cracks me up each time I think about it. A pattern I really didn’t like and colors I would have never chosen. But, she is a cutie pie indeed!

Click on the link for the free PDF pattern : softly-cabled



2 thoughts on “The only way to go – Retro

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