Lace Raglan Pullover
By Catherine J. Hall
This sweater was made on a fast schedule for dear Illanna's birthday. It is constructed in the round, and the easy Random Lace design is quick to accomplish. Because there is little shaping and the sweater is so stretchy, the pattern has only two sizes. Size A fits up to a 38-inch chest, and Size B easily accommodates a 44-inch chest. If you want to use this design as a cover-up, or if you just want a bigger size, simply add five stitches for every additional inch to the Cast On number. The sleeves are a flattering three-quarter length, which, along with the generous sizing, make this sweater the perfect secret gift - even if you don't have the recipient's exact measurements.
Priscilla is the perfect introduction to lace knitting. With this pattern, you will be able to explore lacemaking one stitch at a time, deciding how and when to add new ones as you learn them. The entire Random Lace* tutorial is included with the pattern purchase, which makes it easy to incorporate lace into your garments without having to rely on a chart or memorize a lace pattern. It is a good way to knit lace while watching a movie or knitting with friends. In addition, if you have never before attempted an all-in-one sweater (no seams!), this will be a treat. Finishing only involves weaving a few ends and underarm stitches. You decide whether you want to block your creation, or wear it right away.
The lacey nature of Priscilla makes it a great showcase for hand-dyed and variegated laceweight yarns. Because the lace pattern is not a rigid repeat, the design is not lost in the changing colors; a sometimes disappointing result of combining these gorgeous yarns with a more traditional lace design. For less yarn than most shawls call for, you can have a lightweight pullover worthy of your own special day.
Size A - Fits up to a 38-inch/96-cm. chest (sweater can be blocked to 22-inches/56-cm. across).
Size B - Fits up to a 44-inch/112-cm. chest (sweater can be blocked to 25-inches/64-cm. across).
For additional sizes, simply add 5 stitches to Cast On edge for every extra inch needed.
Yarn - Any laceweight yarn. Either size sweater can be made with less than 1,000 yards of laceweight yarn. For Size A, I used approximately 600 yards of a hand-dyed merino wool, but your yardage may vary depending on how lacey and open your interpretation of Random Lace is. Soft alpaca, shiny silk, glowing mohair.....the choices are yummy. If you are unsure of the drape and "knit-ability" of a specific yarn, use the Random Lace tutorial to knit a swatch. Then block it to make sure that it is exactly what you like. This, in addition to giving you a great gauge guideline before you block it, will show you how a certain yarn blooms after washing, and you get to see the magic that a little blocking can do to a pile of twisted stitches that are supposed to pass for lace (Note - Do not panic! All lace looks that way at first, not just the Random variety!).
Needles - One 16- to 24-inch/40- to 60-cm. circular needle #3US/3.125mm, or size needed for gauge
For the sleeves, you will need one 8- to 12-inch/22- to 30 cm. circular needle in the same size, or you can use dpn's.
You may also want a 16-inch/40-cm. or smaller circular needle a size or two smaller than your gauge needle to do the last few rows of the collar, but this is optional.
Notions - Small crochet hook (optional)
4 stitch markers (make sure that one is unique; this one will be used to indicate beginning of round)
4 large safety pins or other stitch holders, even short lengths of waste yarn are useful to hold stitches
20 stitches equal 4 inches/10 cm. in stockinette stitch, unstretched.
Please make a gauge swatch. As the sweater is knit in the round, you may want to make your swatch in the round, but as there is really no stockinette stitch used in this garment, it isn't imperative. Also, because of the loose fit and stretchy nature of the sweater, you may want to do a lace swatch. The important thing is to use a needle that gives you a nice, loose drape with the yarn that you have chosen. The stitches should be very open, as achieved at 20 sts per 4 inches/10cm. in stockinette stitch with laceweight yarn. You may need a needle much larger than the #3US that is called for; if so, do not be alarmed. Most lace is knit with needles that seem too large for the given yarn to those who are new to the process.
Another way to test gauge for this pattern is to do a swatch of the rib pattern. Cast On 40 stitches. *Knit one stitch through the back loop, Purl one stitch* repeat across 40 stitches. Knit approximately 5 inches/12.5 cm, then Bind Off loosely. With this swatch, you should achieve a gauge of 26 stitches to 4 inches/10 cm, unstretched.
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*If you would like to practice my Random Lace technique, or just want to learn more about it, check out our free tutorial HERE.