The color play of our Kaleidoscope Sweater may seem random, but it is actually created by the well-considered choices of human whimsy. It’s your own intention makes this super quick, super feel-good knit, also, super special.

Kaleidoscope Sweater | Purl Soho

To create this kaleidoscopic swirl of color, you cut lengths of Pocket Posy (shown here in Azalea Glow) and knit them in with Super Soft Merino and Posy (here, in Black Cherry) held together. The result is streaks of color, like a hand-painted yarn that you get to design!

Kaleidoscope Sweater | Purl Soho

Construction is just as smart and simple. You knit in the round from the bottom up, divide at the underarms, and work the front and back separately with a drop shoulder construction. Join the shoulders, then pick up and work the collar.

Kaleidoscope Sweater | Purl Soho

Finally, pick up each sleeve and work in the round from the top down. Little reverse stockinette rolled edges lend a chunky banded flourish, like chic bracelets and a necklace knit right in. This is a really fun, creative project, with a free pattern… and every opportunity to make happy accidents happen!

Kaleidoscope Sweater | Purl Soho

Designed for Purl Soho by Adam Aronowitz.

MATERIALS

  • Yarn A: 7 (8, 9, 10, 11, 12) skeins of Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino, 100% merino wool. Each skein is approximately 87 yards/100 grams; approximately 605 (665, 760, 830, 930, 1005) yards required.
  • Yarn B: 2 (3, 3, 3, 3, 4) skeins of Purl Soho’s Posy, 75% superwash merino, 15% cashmere, and 10% nylon. Each skein is approximately 318 yards/100 grams; approximately 605 (665, 760, 830, 930, 1005) yards required.
  • Yarn C: 2 skeins of Purl Soho’s Pocket Posy, 75% superwash merino, 15% cashmere, and 10% nylon. Each skein is approximately 79 yards/25 grams; approximately 85 (95, 110, 120, 130, 140) yards required.

For our sweaters, we used the colors…

  • Yarn A: Heirloom White; Yarn B: Black Cherry ; Yarn C: Azalea Glow
  • Yarn A: Honey Pink; Yarn B: Pink Nectar; Yarn C: Sour Gooseberry

You will also need…

GAUGE

10 stitches and 14 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch, holding one strand each of Yarns A and B together

SIZES

40 (44, 48, 52, 56, 60)

To fit actual chest circumference of 28–32 (32–36, 36–40, 40–44, 44–48, 48–52) inches, with approximately 8–12 inches of ease

  • Finished Chest Circumference: 40 (44, 48, 52, 56, 60) inches
  • Finished Length From Center Back: 24 (24½, 26, 26½, 28, 28½) inches
  • Finished Sleeve Length From Underarm: 15 (15, 15½, 15½, 16, 16) inches

SAMPLE: The sweaters pictured here are size 44, worn with 12 inches of ease.

Kaleidoscope Sweater | Purl Soho

NOTES

CONSTRUCTION

You will knit this sweater in the round from the bottom up, divide at the Underarms, and work the Front and Back separately with a drop shoulder construction. You will join the Shoulders, then pick up and work the Collar. Finally, you will pick up each Sleeve and work it in the round from top down.

When working in the round, note that you will knit the Body with the wrong side facing you and the Collar and Sleeves with the right side facing you. Throughout the pattern “right side” refers to the “knit” side of the fabric, and  “wrong side” refers to the “purl” side. All references to left and right refer to the sweater as constructed (whether knit side out or purl side out), as usual with knitting patterns.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

SHORT ROWS: Wrp-t (WRAP AND TURN)

  • On the right side: Keeping yarn in back, slip next stitch purlwise from left needle to right needle. Bring yarn to front. Return slipped stitch to left needle. Bring yarn to back. Turn work so wrong side is facing you.
  • On the wrong side: Keeping yarn in front, slip next stitch purlwise from left needle to right needle. Bring yarn to back. Return slipped stitch to left needle. Bring yarn to front. Turn work so right side is facing you.

For more information about this technique, please visit our Short Rows Tutorial.

Ssp (SLIP SLIP PURL)

Slip 2 stitches knitwise one at a time, return them to left needle in new orientation, purl them together through back loops. [1 stitch decreased]

For help with this decrease, visit our Slip Slip Purl Tutorial.

YARNS A, B + C

As you work this garment, you will always hold a strand of Yarn A and Yarn B together. In addition, as instructed, you will add a 15-inch strand of Yarn C. Be sure to vary where in the round or row you begin the Yarn C strand. Try to be as random as possible for an all-over pattern. To eliminate weaving in too many ends, add in the Yarn C strands as follows…

On the knit side…

On the purl side…

Whether the knit or purl side is facing you, add Yarn C by draping the tail toward the knit side, leaving an approximately 2-inch tail (above, left). Work Yarns A, B and C together until a 2-inch tail remains of Yarn C. Leave the Yarn C tail on the knit side of the work and continue the rest of the round/ row with just Yarns A and B (above, right). You can just leave these tails dangling on what will be the wrong side of the garment… Don’t worry, they’ll stay put!

PATTERN

Cut about a dozen 15-inch strands of Yarn C, ready to be worked in (see Special Instructions). Cut more as necessary.

BODY

With one strand each of Yarn A and B held together, cast 50 (55, 60, 65, 70, 75) stitches onto 36- or 40-inch circular needles, place marker (pm) for Right Side, cast on 50 (55, 60, 65, 70, 75) more stitches, pm for end of round. [100 (110, 120, 130, 140, 150) stitches total: 50 (55, 60, 65, 70, 75) stitches each for Front and Back]

Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Rounds 1-3: Purl to end of round, randomly adding in one strand of Yarn C every round (see Special Instructions).

Round 4: Knit to end of round, adding in one strand of Yarn C randomly.

Repeat Round 4 until Body measures 15 (15, 16, 16, 17, 17) inches from rolled edge (do not unroll).

DIVIDE FRONT + BACK

Division Round: K2 (2, 3, 3, 4, 4), place previous 4 (4, 6, 6, 8, 8) stitches (including marker) onto  stitch holder or scrap yarn; knit to 2 (2, 3, 3, 4, 4) stitches before next marker, place 46 (51, 54, 59, 62, 67) stitches just worked onto stitch holder or scrap yarn for Front; k4 (4, 6, 6, 8, 8), place these stitches (including marker) onto stitch holder or scrap yarn; knit to end of round. [46 (51, 54, 59, 62, 67) stitches remain for Back]

BACK

WORK ARMHOLES

NOTE: In this section, you will work back and forth on Back stitches only. Add in a strand of Yarn C randomly every other row throughout this section.

Row 1 (wrong side): Purl to end of row.

Row 2 (right side): Knit to end of row.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until Armholes measure 5½ (6, 6½, 7, 7½, 8) inches, ending with a wrong-side row.

SHAPE BACK SHOULDERS

NOTE: For this portion of the pattern, you will be working back and forth in short rows, turning the work partway through each row rather than continuing to the end of the row. For extra help, see both the Special Instructions section and our Short Rows Tutorial. Continue to add in one strand of Yarn C randomly every other row throughout this section.

Short Row 1 (right side): Knit to last 2 (3, 3, 2, 2, 3) stitches, wrp-t (see Special Instructions).

Short Row 2 (wrong side): Purl to last 2 (3, 3, 2, 2, 3) stitches, wrp-t.

Short Row 3: Knit to 2 (3, 3, 2, 2, 3) stitches before previous wrap, wrp-t.

Short Row 4: Purl to 2 (3, 3, 2, 2, 3) stitches before previous wrap, wrp-t.

Short Row 5: Knit to 2 (2, 2, 3, 3, 3) stitches before previous wrap, wrp-t.

Short Row 6: Purl to 2 (2, 2, 3, 3, 3) stitches before previous wrap, wrp-t.

Repeat Short Row 5 and 6 four more times.

Partial Row (right side): Knit to end of row, knitting wrapped stitches with their wraps as you come to them (see Short Rows Tutorial).

Next Row (wrong side): Purl to end of row, purling wrapped stitches with their wraps as you come to them.

Cut yarn, leaving a 50-inch tail.

Place 46 (51, 54, 59, 62, 67) Back stitches onto stitch holder or scrap yarn.

FRONT

WORK ARMHOLES

NOTE: In this section, you will work back and forth on the Front stitches only. Add in a strand of Yarn C randomly every other row throughout this section.

Next Row (wrong side): With wrong side facing you, rejoin Yarns A and B and purl to end of row.

Row 1 (right side): Knit to end of row.

Row 2: Purl to end of row.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until Armholes measure 4½ (5, 5½, 5½, 6, 6½) inches, ending with a wrong-side row.

NECKLINE

NOTE: In this section, you will divide the Front into Right and Left Necklines, working each side separately. Add in one strand of Yarn C randomly every 4th row throughout Right and Left Necklines.

Division Row (right side): K19 (21, 22, 24, 25, 27), place these stitches onto stitch holder or scrap yarn for Left Neckline; k8 (9, 10, 11, 12, 13) then place these stitches onto separate stitch holder or scrap yarn for Center Front Neck; knit to end of row. [19 (21, 22, 24, 25, 27) stitches remain for Right Neckline]

SHAPE RIGHT NECKLINE

Next Row (wrong side): Purl to end of row.

Decrease Row (right side): K4, slip slip knit (ssk), knit to end of row. [1 stitch decreased]

Repeat last 2 rows 2 more times. [16 (18, 19, 21, 22, 24) stitches remain]

Work even until Right Armhole measures 8½ (9, 9½, 10, 10½, 11) inches from Underarm, ending with a wrong-side row.

Cut yarns, leaving 6-inch tails. Place remaining stitches onto stitch holder or scrap yarn.

SHAPE LEFT NECKLINE

NOTE: Return 19 (21, 22, 24, 25, 27) on-hold Left Neckline stitches to circular needles.

Next Row (wrong side): With wrong side facing you, join Yarns A and B and purl to end of row.

Decrease Row (right side): Knit to last 6 stitches, knit 2 together (k2tog), k4. [1 stitch decreased]

Repeat last 2 rows 2 more times. [16 (18, 19, 21, 22, 24) stitches remain]

Work even until Left Armhole measures 8½ (9, 9½, 10, 10½, 11) inches from Underarm, ending with a wrong-side row.

Do not cut yarns.

JOIN SHOULDERS

Place first and last 16 (18, 19, 21, 22, 24) stitches of Back Neckline onto separate double pointed needles for Shoulders, leaving 14 (15, 16, 17, 18, 19) remaining stitches on holder for Back Neck. Also place Right and Left Front Neckline stitches onto separate double pointed needles. With knit side of garment facing you, hold Back Shoulder and corresponding Front Shoulder stitches parallel, purl sides together. Using working yarn (or 50-inch tail) and a spare double pointed needle, work a 3-Needle Bind Off to join the Shoulders together.

For help with this technique, visit our 3-Needle Bind Off Tutorial.

Repeat for other Shoulder.

COLLAR

NOTE: In this section, you will work the Collar in the round with wrong side (purl side) facing you. Add in one strand of Yarn C every other round throughout the Collar.

Turn garment wrong-side-out, so purl side is facing you.

Pick-Up Round: Starting at Left Shoulder and using 16-inch circular needles, rejoin Yarns A and B and pick up and knit 8 (8, 8, 9, 9, 9) stitches along Left Front Neckline; place 8 (9, 10, 11, 12, 13) on-hold Front Neck stitches onto a double pointed needle and purl across these stitches; pick up and knit 8 (8, 8, 9, 9, 9) stitches along Right Front Neckline; place 14 (15, 16, 17, 18, 19) on-hold Back Neck stitches onto a double pointed needle and purl across these stitches; pm and join for working in the round. [38 (40, 42, 46, 48, 50) stitches total]

Round 1: Purl to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 until Collar measures 2½ inches from Pick-Up Round.

Next Round: Knit to end of round.

Repeat last round 2 more times.

Bind off loosely with Yarns A and B only.

SLEEVES

NOTE: You will work each Sleeve in the round from the top down. The marker for each Underarm will now act as end-of-round marker. Add in one strand of Yarn C every other round throughout entire Sleeve.

Pick-Up Round: With wrong side (purl side) facing, place on-hold Underarm stitches and marker onto a double pointed needle. Using double pointed needles or 16-inch circular needles, rejoin Yarns A and B and pick up and knit 28 (30, 32, 35, 36, 38) stitches evenly around entire Armhole, purl to end-of-round marker. [32 (34, 38, 41, 44, 46) stitches total]

Next Round: Purl to end of round.

Repeat last round until Sleeve measures 1 inch from Underarm.

Decrease Round: P2, purl 2 together (p2tog), purl to last 4 stitches, ssp (see Special Instructions), p2. [2 stitches decreased]

Repeat Decrease Round every 2½ (2, 1¾, 1½, 1½, 1¼) inches 4 (5, 6, 7, 8, 9) more times, changing to double pointed needles if necessary. [22 (22, 24, 25, 26, 26) stitches remain]

Work even until Sleeve measures 14 (14, 14½, 14½, 15, 15) inches from Underarm.

Next Round: Knit to end of round.

Repeat last round 2 more times.

Bind off loosely with Yarns A and B only.

Make one more identical Sleeve.

FINISHING

WEAVE IN ENDS + BLOCK

Turn garment knit side out and use a crochet hook to weave in all ends of Yarn C that are 2 inches away from openings, like the Neckline, Sleeve openings, bottom edge and cuffs. You can leave all other Yarn C tails loose. They are unlikely to pop through to the purl side, but if they do, just use a crochet hook to pull them back through to the knit side.

Using a tapestry needle, weave in all ends of Yarns A and B and close up holes at Shoulders, Neckline and Underarms if necessary.

Block as desired. If working with Super Soft Merino, we suggest lightly steam blocking.

Kaleidoscope Sweater | Purl Soho