Panglossian Sweater - how to choose colors, change gauge & knit up the perfect sweater for you!
I've just finished knitting up the Panglossian Sweater by Morthunder and let me tell you, it's glorious! The fit of this top is lovely - it shows off my curves, but is comfortable and the perfect amount of casual.
This blog post is a compilation of a sweater mini-series I posted on Instagram and my goal is to help you make a gorgeous, hand-knit top, the perfect weight for hot summer weather that fits you wonderfully!
When working up stranded colorwork, it's extremely important to choose the right colors so the stitches show up as they were designed. With a rainbow of colors to choose from, this can be overwhelming for new colorwork knitters.
1. Go monochromatic to simplify choosing colors.
Set yourself up for easy success by simplifying the colors. I love a monochromatic color scheme, like my blue palette here. Keeping the colors confined to blue (ok, a blue-green snuck in there, too...) helps you focus on the most important part of selecting colors: saturation levels.
I used one 50 gram skein of Cinderella fingering for each of my accent colors:
If blue isn't your favorite color, you could choose all green or all purple. The main goal is not to stray around the colorwheel and stick to the same hue.
2. Color saturation is the key to colorwork success.
Color saturation is the relative strength or lightness of the color. My background color is a blue so pale that it's almost white - it's very lightly saturated. I also included a navy, which is so darkly saturated, it's nearly black.
When pairing up colors, make sure that you don't have a light color next to another light color or your beautiful colorwork stitches won't show up.
You want contrast in your saturation levels to make those stitches pop!
Placing a lightly saturated color next to a darkly saturated color creates the most contrast, but you can also pair up a light + medium, a medium + dark.
My best tip for determining the saturation level of your colors, is to snap a quick photo of the colors on your phone, and use the editor to apply a black and white filter. This makes it really easy to see which of your colors fall into the light, medium, and dark categories.
If you are having a hard time telling the difference between two colors in your black and white photo, do NOT place these colors next to each other in your colorwork. The stitches will only blend between the colors.
For my Panglossian, my main color (background) color is very light & has great contrast with all my accent colors. For my bands of colorwork, I paired a medium + dark color. You can follow this same blueprint.
The original Panglossian sweater follows the same saturation blue print: light background, with dark + medium accent colors.
Gauge is so important to the fit of your garment! Since knitting is geometry: how many stitches you work up into one inch, versus what the pattern lists as stitches per inch must match if you want you garment to come out the right size.
Here in the Midwest summers regularly hit the triple digits with really high humidity. There is no way I will wear a Dk weight wool top anytime June – August. Since my goal was to make a casual, easy wearing summer top, I needed to switch to fingering weight.
Gauge can be tricky, so I recommend swatching pretty extensively and washing your swatch so you know how the fabric will behave once it gets a bath. (Spoiler alert: some yarns grow or shrink like crazy when you get them wet.)
That being said, sometimes there are easy ways to switch yarn weights without throwing your work off the listed pattern gauge. For me, switching from a DK weight yarn to fingering – especially in a colorwork pattern – is an extremely easy swap. I can literally swap these weights out by adjusting my needle size.
Here’s how to switch yarn weights successfully:
- Keep the fiber content & yarn style (plies, construction) as similar as possible.
- Swatch and wash your swatch once you’ve gotten gauge to ensure a good match.
- Decide if the new, matching gauge produces a fabric you'll like in your garment.
Modifying the Pattern (if necessary)
In this sample, the Panglossian sweater has positive ease – meaning it’s bigger than my actual measurments, which gives me a little bit of wiggle room if my gauge is a teensy bit off.
My swatch told me that I could achieve the written gauge with a fingering weight yarn, so I made no modifications to the pattern.
If your swatch shows you a fraction of a stitch off the pattern gauge, do a little math. Sometimes, it’s possible to choose a size one larger or smaller and you can follow the pattern as written.
If your swatch shows that you’re way off, you can either re-write all the pattern instructions for your correct math, or try another substitute yarn which matches the listed gauge better.
Panglossian Pattern Review
I gotta be honest with you my yarnie friends – I have a hard figure to fit. I’m short + busty and to make matters worse, I have hulk shoulders & biceps. Buying clothes is always a challenge because my bust, waist and hips generally all reside in their own, separate size range. Making your own clothes is also challenging when you’re trying to make that all work together.
Yes, this is a boxy top, with no waist shaping and a yoke neckline. This style works pretty well for my body & the way I prefer to wear my knits.
Pros for me:
- The positive ease means my bust fits and the waist/hips aren’t too tight either.
- It’s really easy to pop this on over a pair of mid-rise shorts, and not have to worry about the hemline hiking up every time I move.
- With the flow of a round yoke top, my shoulders can be just as hulky as they want without being constricted.
Slight cons for me:
- Round yoke tops by their nature mean the hemline lifts a lot when you raise your arms.
- The arms are a touch snug around my biceps. This could be fixed if I had cast on more stitches at the arm separation – and is likely due to my larger biceps.
Morgan does a lovely job designing sweaters – I love her styling, her fit choices, and she grades an inclusive range of sizes. The instructions are easy to follow and turn out well. This is my second Morthunder sweater and it won’t be my last. Definitely worth a knit!
Free Panglossian Pattern Version