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Muscardin

It seems the whole world has gone colorwork crazy. Iceland has reported both a massive surge in wool exports and a downright wool shortage caused by the current lopapeysa knitting boom. Even circular needles have been in short supply in the last couple of months. COVID-related production issues are the probable cause but I like to think knitters are at least partially responsible.



And I must admit, I've been bitten by the colorwork bug, too! My latest sweater pattern is Muscardin, a top-down colorwork sweater... albeit not in Icelandic wool nor in the Icelandic style.


Muscardin is a circular-yoke sweater with a colorwork motif of stylized vine leaves. The design is named after a rare grape variety from the south of France, and the vine theme carries in other details of the sweater, too.



The colorwork motif also includes small bobbles that resemble bunches of juicy grapes. The way the bobbles are worked is a little different — and pretty inventive, if I do say so myself. The way you'd normally make bobbles is to increase from one to five stitches, turn the work and purl back, turn the work and knit those same five stitches again, repeating this back and forth a few times.



These bobbles, however, are worked like a mini i-cord over three stitches. This has a few benefits over the conventional bobble, as I wrote earlier on Instagram. First, the bobbles are smaller, more compact, and use less yarn than regular bobbles. Second, because you're working the bobbles like an i-cord, sliding the same stitches back to the holding needle, there's no need to turn your work and purl! Third, these bobbles don't tend to pop to the wrong side of the work.



Leafy colorwork details on the cuffs complement the larger design on the round yoke. One of the test knitters commented that the sleeve accents look like jewelry. There's a few bobbles on the sleeve details, too, although they're really easy to leave out if you're not keen on bobbles. I must say, though, many of my test knitters became bobble converts and said the bobbles were the best thing in the design!



Enough with the bobbles, though. Muscardin features twisted ribbing on the hem, cuffs, and neckband. As you can see here, the ribbing is irregular on the hem and neck; the one on the cuffs is just regular 1x1 twisted rib.



Muscardin also uses a couple of shaping techniques to give you a great-fitting sweater. Short rows and raglan shaping are done simultaneously after the colorwork portion is done. The short raglan increase section gives an improved fit at the underarms whereas short rows used to lengthen the back yoke tackle that neckline issue that plagues many a round yoke sweater. There's also subtle waist shaping in the body so that it doesn't sag and bag on you. You could also add back shaping if you have a sway back like I do.



Muscardin is knit in two colors of DK-weight yarn. I used an unnamed, unbranded farm yarn, 100% Kainuu gray for the neutral main color and a Finnsheep-and-nylon blend for the dark maroon accent. In addition to DK, you could also use a (light) worsted-weight yarn that gives you the gauge of 18 sts × 28 rnds over 10 cm (or 4") in stockinette and stranded stockinette. To knit the sweater you need approx. 750–1550 m (or 800–1650 yd) for the main colors and 140–240 m (or 150–260 yd) for the contrasting color. Size-by-size yardage requirements are available on the pattern page.


The pattern is size inclusive: it comes in 9 sizes from XS to 5X, to fit a bust of 75–155 cm (or 30–62") with approx. 2.5–7.5 cm (or 1–3") of positive ease. In my photos I'm wearing a size S with about 5 cm (2") of ease. The yoke chart is offered in three different lengths.


The pattern for Muscardin is now available on Ravelry (seizure warning!), Payhip, and LoveCrafts. I'd love to see your version! Share your makes on Instagram with the hashtags #muscardinpullover and #talviknits.



P.S. Muscardin is not the only colorwork sweater I've been working on. Sneak a peek of the next one on Instagram with the hashtag #terhosweater.

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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