10. An Ode to Eirys: Customising Your Raglan!
If you follow the patterns within Ready Set Raglan to the letter, you’ll be able to replicate the samples shown within the book’s pages. But our raglan pullover collection also contains customisation options! For example, if you really love the colour blocked version of Elowen (pictured above) but you want to omit the split hem and add a high neck as seen in the lilac version, Ready Set Raglan tells you exactly how to do that! But maybe you’re feeling super confident, and want to try a customisation not detailed in the book. If so, great! We support your every stitch!
This is exactly what Alice Sleight did! You might remember Alice from her interview earlier in the ‘12 Weeks of Raglan’ series! She wrote the patterns for Ready Set Raglan and she’s back to tell you about the three pullovers she has made from the book, and how she tweaked them to suit her preferences! Now, over to Alice!
The patterns within Ready Set Raglan are great templates for creating something entirely new! With some small adjustments you can customise these patterns and knit your dream pullover! So far, I’ve made three raglans using the very first pattern in the book, Eirys, which really lends itself to customisation.
The easiest way to play with a pattern is to experiment with yarn choice. Although all of the patterns are written for a worsted-weight gauge, in Ready Set Raglan we have created samples using a variety of different yarn weights and combinations. These include using a DK-weight yarn at a slightly looser gauge (the pink version of Cyren), holding a 4-ply yarn and a lace-weight mohair together (the version of Lobelia with the short neckband), and even holding two 4-ply yarns together (the purple marled version of Eirys). Although you’ll need to make sure that you match the gauge using your selected yarns, this is a really fun way to play with a pattern!
Eirys with ½ Twisted Rib!
My first raglan was one of the samples shown in the book. I made the 4ply and mohair marled version of Eirys using West Wool's Bicycle and Glowhair in the shades Roswitha and Aubergine.
In order to make this sweater better suited to me and my knitting style, I used half-twisted ribbing for the cuffs, neck and hem as I find this much neater than my 1x1 ribbing as it tightens up my stitches. Half twisted ribbing is worked by knitting the knit stitches through the back loop on the right side only, and purling the purl stitches as normal. Although most of the patterns within Ready Set Raglan are worked from the right side only, I should still mention that, when working half twisted tib on the wrong side, the purl stitches are purled through the back loop and the knit stitches are knit as normal. This results in the right side of the rib being twisted, so gives the effect of twisted rib but with only half the work - woohoo!
Eirys with the Textured Stripes!
For my second raglan pullover, I also used Eirys as a base. This sweater has horizontal stripes of stockinette and reverse stockinette. I created these by working 4 rows in stocking stitch between each of the 2-st raglan faux-seams, and then switching to purling the next 4 rows between the faux-seams. These faux-seams are worked in stockinette throughout, and the increases on either side are worked as M1R/M1L or M1RP or M1LP depending on whether you are knitting or purling between the faux-seams.
For this I used Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter. I prefer the fabric when knitted at a slightly smaller gauge, so used slightly smaller needles and knitted one size up to allow for this, and to create a roomier sweater.
Eirys Inside Out!
When making my third sweater, I really wanted to experiment with using a variegated, colourful mohair! For this I opted for Qing Fibre’s Mohair in the shade Fawkes, and Drops' Flora in Shade 3 was a perfect backdrop to this bright mohair! Again, I used the Eirys pattern as a base - its simplicity makes it so perfect for customisation!
For this sweater, I worked it mostly as specified in the pattern, but instead of knitting the stitch either side of each marker, I purled these stitches instead. Then once finished, I turned the sweater inside out so that it became a reverse stocking stitch sweater with stocking stitch raglan faux-seams! I found that I preferred the way that the variegated mohair looked on the reverse side, so wanted to show this off but without the wrist-ache which would come with purling an entire sweater!
The only tricky bit came when I picked up the underarm stitches as I began my sleeves, as I didn’t want this to be visible from the right side when I turned the sweater inside out. The good news is that the Lobelia pattern is worked in the same way, so I used the instructions for picking up these underarm stitches from the Lobelia pattern and then continued as normal.
Other ways that you could customise your raglan could be to create a cardigan version! I’m contemplating doing this either by moving the BOR (beginning of round) or, if you’re brave, by steeking once you’ve finished the body.
I’m also thinking about using Eirys as a base for some colourwork! My favourite colourwork reference book is Selbuvotter by Anne Bårdsgård which traces the history of traditional Selbu mittens and their place within Norwegian culture. It’s also packed full of stitch patterns and patterns for mittens with a brief history of the family that designed each mitten! You’d need to be aware of stitch counts if you were planning a colourwork raglan, but my plan is to chart the whole yoke for my size on squared paper, and then colour it in with each pattern first to make sure that they work. I find that planning a project can be half the fun!
Thank you for your insights, Alice! There are so many ways to play with these patterns and we hope that Alice's ideas have given you some inspiration!