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Stormy Open Back Sweater Knitting Pattern

This digital download also includes a low vision format with 24 point sans-serif black text and fully written instructions. 

Spring is a time of transition, most notably in the weather. Where I live, in Canada, we emerge cautiously from hibernation as the first signs of spring start to appear. This time is full of nourishing rain showers, drops glistening on the earliest fronds of green. The lace pattern worked down each sleeve of this sweater reminds me of one of the first blooms we see in this region, lily-of-the-valley, with its rows of delicate, drooping blossoms. A light, breathable cotton sweater is just what I reach for during this time of unpredictable weather. The lace motif, combined with an unusual open-back construction puts an interesting twist on this otherwise mellow project. This pattern is designed for ladies bust sizes 32” to 48”, with enough positive ease to make this your new go to for both warmer days and layering.

Construction: This open-back sweater uses raglan construction and is worked in one piece, flat on a circular needle. It is designed to have positive ease for a comfortable fit that showcases the drape of the cotton yarn. After the initial increases are worked, the stitches for the sleeves are separated onto stitch holders. The body is continued flat on a circular needle. Next, each sleeve is worked by transferring held stitches from stitch holder onto DPNs (or preferred needle for small circumference circular knitting) and worked in the round. The overlapping back sections have a buttonhole at the collar on the back of either shoulder. Each side gradually tapers toward the waist resulting in an open lower back.

Note on lace pattern: The lace pattern continues from the yoke onto the sleeves - pay careful attention to what round you start on for each size so that it lines up seamlessly.

Note on fit: Not only is this a great seasonal transition piece, but I also want to point out that the open back and inherent ease make for an easy and flattering fit for many body types. Although it is not designed to be a maternity sweater, I wore it through my entire pregnancy and am still enjoying it postpartum.

Techniques Used:

Knit & purl, bind off, lace increases and decreases

Working in the round on circular needles

Working in the round on double pointed needles

Working from charts

Image descriptions: 1. A composite photo of Nicky, facing away, standing in a garden holding a clear umbrella over her head, wearing a grey Pima cotton sweater that opens diagonally across the back and fastens with a button at each shoulder; Nicky, facing the camera, standing in a garden with a clear umbrella, wearing a grey Pima cotton sweater with boat neck, stockinette body, and long sleeves, and image #2. 
2. Nicky, in profile with a pregnant belly, modelling a grey Pima cotton boat neck sweater, with lace detail down the sleeves. 
3. Close up of the shoulder of the sweater. The leaf and eyelet lace travelling down the sleeves is reminiscent of lily-of-the-valley. 
4. Nicky, facing away, modelling the sweater. The back of the sweater overlaps the full width at the shoulders and fastens with a button at the back of each shoulder. The two sides of the back taper diagonally, crossing just above the waist, laying open several inches to the sides at the hips. 
Special thanks to my tech editor Frauke Urban and my wonderful test knitters for making this pattern the best it can be

You will get the following files:

  • PDF (2MB)
  • PDF (88KB)

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