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Guilty Pleasure

Although it may not look that complex, this pattern has actually been three years in the making. Here's Guilty Pleasure, a casual raglan sweater with bold color blocking and lots of shaping options to customize the fit.

Guilty Pleasure :: raglan sweater knitting pattern

The story of this sweater pattern begins back in Fall 2021 when I was knitting a simple raglan tunic. I named my Ravelry project "Guilty Pleasure" because, despite the myriad of designs I was supposed to be working on, the combination of big yarn, big needles, and color blocking was so addictive I just couldn't put it down. Back then I never intended to turn it into a pattern — it was a simple top-down raglan after all — but the thought lingered on…

Four skeins of Garnstudio DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk in the colorway #24 light beige.
A rummage through my stash started it all.

Fast forward to last fall when I was perusing my stash and ran into four skeins of DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk I'd purchased years ago. It was in a color I never wear (beige) and in that odd in-between amount that wasn't enough for a garment but too much for an accessory. I was puzzled: why had I bought this in the first place? And what to do with it now that I'd rediscovered it? The answer: pair it with something else and turn it into a color-blocked sweater. Guilty Pleasure was reborn.

Guilty Pleasure :: raglan sweater knitting pattern

At its core, Guilty Pleasure is a raglan-sleeved pullover worked seamlessly from the top down. The sweater is knit in stockinette, alternating two colors in wide color blocks throughout the body and sleeves. But there's more than meets the eye! Look beyond the surface and you'll find complexity beneath the simplicity.

A simple stockinette base gives the perfect canvas to start exploring with customization and shaping options. Guilty Pleasure has four shaping elements that lift it above the ordinary raglan: 1) short-row shaping for the round neckline, 2) compound-raglan shaping for a shoulder structure that better follows the human anatomy, 3) vertical bust darts (optional), and 4) waist shaping (also optional). Let's start from the top.

Guilty Pleasure is worked seamlessly in one piece from the top down, starting with a ribbed neckband. As you might recall, the neckline of an unmodified top-down raglan comes up too high in too straight a line on the front neck, giving that uncomfortable feeling as if you've put the sweater on backwards. To alleviate this, short-row shaping is used to create a front-neck drop.

The upper part of the yoke is worked back and forth, shaping the scoop neck at the front while simultaneously increasing for the raglan sleeves. Sizes XS–2X are done as a compound raglan: first increasing on every other, then on every fourth, and again on every other round. Faster increases at the very top of the shoulder and towards the underarm paired with a more gradual increase rate in the middle more closely follow the contours of the human body. Alternating every-other-round and every-fourth-round increases creates an S-curve shape from the neck to the underarm, similar to the contiguous sleeve method.

Sizes 3X–6X are knit as a conventional raglan with the usual every-other-round increases. In these sizes there isn't enough vertical room to do every-fourth-round increases — otherwise the yoke would droop well below the natural underarm. To get every-other-round increases the pattern uses the same technique as with circular yokes: increasing a bunch of stitches right after the neckband before even starting the raglan shaping.

Bust shaping on Guilty Pleasure is done as vertical bust darts, placing increases and decreases at the sides of the front between the bust apex and underarm. Lately, short rows have become the go-to solution to any fit issue regardless of whether they're the right tool for the job or not. As Amy Herzog explains it, busts are primarily a width issue: you need extra stitches on the front of the sweater (that is, bust darts) instead of more length (which is what short rows are for).

Guilty Pleasure is is graded for a 5 cm or 2-inch difference between upper and full bust circumferences — a garment B cup. For a smaller-busted person further bust shaping may not be needed but if you cup size is larger than a B, bust darts could give you a better fit. The pattern comes with pre-calculated instructions for D-cup bust darts in sizes L–4X and an F cup in sizes 5X–6X, following the bust measurements in Kim McBrien Evans' representative size chart. If your cup size differs from this, a separate worksheet walks you through calculating custom bust shaping based on your upper and full bust measurements.

Guilty Pleasure :: raglan sweater knitting pattern

Waist shaping in the pattern is done with decreases and increases placed at the sides of the sweater. This gives the garment a subtle hourglass silhouette. Depending on your body shape and bust size, you may need to work bust and waist shaping simultaneously. The body of the sweater can also be knit straight, omitting all shaping. Bust and waist shaping are both optional and independent of each other: you can choose to do one or the other, both, or neither. The schematic of finished measurements depicts all versions.

Garnstudio DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk in the colorway #24 rust.
Garnstudio DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk in the colorway #24 rust.

My sample sweater was knit in two colors of Garnstudio DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk: rust (colorway 24) and light beige (colorway 4). A fluffy yarn (140 m/25 g or 153 yd/0.88 oz) creates a sweater that's extremely lightweight despite being warm: my sample weighs just a hair over 120 grams! This makes Guilty Pleasure a wonderfully versatile garment you'll reach for year round.

But yarn substitutions are a bit troublesome because the weight of this yarn is very difficult to classify. Whereas Garnstudio place Brushed Alpaca Silk in their yarn group C (roughly worsted or aran), the editing wars on Ravelry frequently categorize it as lace weight. In either case, go for a yarn that gives you the gauge of 18 stitches × 30 rounds per 10 cm or 4". Similar yarns to Brushed Alpaca Silk include, for example, Lang Yarns Suri Alpaca, Lana Grossa Setasuri Big, or Rico Design Skinny Alpaca Aran. You might also get the same combination of fluffiness and lightness with blown yarns that are so popular at the moment.

Guilty Pleasure :: raglan sweater knitting pattern

Guilty Pleasure comes in 10 sizes from XS to 6X. To knit the sweater you'll need two colors of the fluff stuff: approx. 360–850 m or 390–930 yd of one and a bit less, approx. 340–820 m or 380–890 yd of the other. If you'd rather forgo the color blocking, the pattern also includes yardages for a single-color version: approx. 700–1670 m or 770–1820 yd. Size-by-size yardages are listed on the pattern page.

The pattern is now available in my pattern shops on Payhip, LoveCrafts, and Ravelry (seizure warning). If you're on my mailing list, check your email for a little coupon code. Share photos of your project on Instagram with the hashtags #guiltypleasuresweater and #talviknits on Instagram — I'd love to see your color choices!

Guilty Pleasure is so addicting I'm already making another one... As RuPaul would say: I want one in every color!


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1 comentario

I got this pattern after you released it and was so excited to find it. I have been searching for 3 months for a compound raglan pattern to no avail. And any that were close didn’t have any full bust adjustment. Yours is the BEST! I’m working it now - though not color blocking - and I love it. I’m not far from separating for the body and sleeves, but won’t get it done super quick on account of 2 other projects working at the same time. But I wanted to comment here and tell you a huge thank you because I’m so happy to have something that will hopefully fit properly when it’s done.

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