Introducing Blakeslee


Friday afternoon was beautiful day—sunny and crisp, lovely cirrus clouds with just a hint of fall in the air. David and I seized the opportunity to head out to Sauvie Island and take some finished shots of the Blakeslee top, which knit up so fast that I barely had time to snap some in-progress shots of it.


This little top is dead simple, but it hit that sweet spot for me—I managed to come up with exactly the project I wanted to be knitting, and knit the whole thing while I was still in the mood for it. (It helped that the design is plain enough that I could do it even while watching foreign-language films.) I was actually still SO in the mood for this pattern when I finished it that I contemplated casting on for another right away, maybe in the robin's egg/cocoa combination I mentioned in my last Blakeslee post—an impulse I ended up resisting only because the yarn store where I "casually stopped in" didn't carry the robin's egg sock yarn of my dreams.


I was beset by a sudden lust for stripes before I started knitting Blakeslee, and I love the way this stitch pattern, borrowed from Barbara Walker after a simple conversion to working in the round, combines tweediness and stripiness into some kind of ideal mashup of classic designs. It alternates rounds of plain knitting with rounds of slip one, knit one, and the resulting texture and pattern does so much with those very simple moves. I love the way the slipped stitches create a dashed line—it reminds me of a decorative running embroidery stitch, or the center line in that handwriting paper from elementary school.


Other details on Blakeslee: worked from the top down, at a largish gauge for a light fingering-weight yarn, which means it's light and airy, with lots of give. The yoke has raglan increases, and there is a minimal amount of waist shaping. Mostly it relies splitting the difference between negative ease at the hips and positive ease at the waist to create a flattering yet relaxed look. The short sleeves consist of an inch of 2X1 twisted ribbing to match the boat neck and the bottom edge, finished off with a double row of the contrast color.


We'll have to see if the test-knitters can replicate my results here, but I was surprised that one skein of each color in Malabrigo Sock was enough to finish this, with quite a bit of the Natural left over, and just a bit of the Boticelli Red. Hopefully that will make it a fun little project to use up some of those single skeins of light sock yarn we all have lying around.


I hope everyone's having a lovely end-of-summer!


  • Fantastic! Love the stripes and shape.

  • Oh, Emily, I really like this. The narrow line of white yarn at the neck, cuffs and waist is a great touch. Gorgeous!

  • Lovely, looks like a fun and wearable project!

  • Oh this is stunning! I love the stripe pattern and the textural details!

  • Love those textured stripes!! Beautiful sweater.

  • This looks amazing Emily. If you need anyone to test knit a large size, I'm ready willing and able!

  • Ooo, this really turned out great. Looks like a fun knit!

  • This is beautiful! I'm in the mood for a quick project right now myself, I wish I could volunteer to test knit. But I don't think I can make the time commitment (or even know if you're looking for test knitters, of course)

  • NICE. At first glance, it looked crocheted!

  • Oh Emily, I love this! Can't wait to knit it.

  • This is so beautiful! The pattern reminds me of Scandinavian tape ribbons, the slender ones that have simple but effective red-and-white designs. How clever of you to make it from two skeins of sock yarn!

    Great to see Sauvie Island - we used to call it Sauvie's Island for some reason. We went there every summer in the 1970s to pick peaches in the orchards, which my mother then canned and froze. I can still taste them!

  • Thanks so much, everyone!

    Jodi: Stripes are totally key. At least in my mood a month ago. :-)

    Beth: Glad you like it - that little contrast-color CO and BO is another detail I copped from Kim Hargreaves, I'm afraid.

    Natalie: Definitely fun, & I wore this outfit to work the day I put the post up. I think it will be great for early fall.

    Maria: Thanks! The texture was super fun to watch emerging as I went along.

  • Thea: Thanks! Yeah, the texture is a fun little detail.

    Susan: I emailed you & am totally taking you up on that! Thanks, lady.

    Jennifer: Thanks so much! Mindless & fun to watch was just what the doctor ordered. :-)

    Becky: Thanks for the thought; when you get done with your other commitments I'm hoping to have the pattern out in early October.

  • Shannon: Interesting - because of the texture? To me it's interesting how different the pattern looks up-close, at mid-range and at a distance.

    Samantha: Yay! I'm psyched to see different peoples' versions. :-)

    Christine: I often slip up & call it Sauvie's Island as well. I think it's awkward to go from "eee" sound to "eye" sound with no consonant in between. Anyway, PEACHES, yum. When we were there the blackberry bushes were just laden down with fruit - we should have brought containers to take some away, but as it was we just stuffed ourselves. :-)

  • Do you need more test knitters?

  • Angela: I think I've got all the test-knitters I need on this one, but thanks for the interest!

  • 2 skeins of sock yarn?! Yum Yum!!

  • Beautiful, with lots of design interest. Great job.

  • Love it! Casual yet elegant.

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  • Really nice. Casual yet elegant!
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