July 7th, 2017

Valley Yarns Style Guide: 3 Ways To Style the Harkin Pullover

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Do you ever see something that you really want to knit, but aren’t sure how you would fit that style into your current wardrobe?

Me too. All the time.

We all want to get as much use out of our handknits as possible. Making your own clothing is time consuming and can get very expensive.

When I’m looking at a potential new project, I ask myself these four questions:

1. What fiber will I knit this in and realistically wear?

This is really a two-part question. What is the original garment made out of? Was it designed for a cotton and silk blend, so it will have lots of drape and movement? If so, would  I be willing to invest the time and money into that particular yarn or something similar? Will it look as good in a superwash Merino? Will I have to take special care when laundering the garment? If you’re looking to make an aran sweater with a turtleneck, choosing a cotton is probably not the best idea – even if it has the same stitch gauge. The same goes for a summery linen top. The fabric won’t act the same if knit in a bouncy superwash Merino as it would in a linen fiber.

2. What color do I want to knit it in vs. what color will actually work with what I have?

This can be a really tough one, especially if you’re like me, and tend to be interested in knitting only with a few different shades. So, if the sample garment is knit in a bright yellow, can I envision it in a different color? Would the stitch pattern disappear if I used my favorite hue? Would I wear that trendy neon green speckled color next season? How many tops do I have that will go under that sweater and will I have to buy more to coordinate? Sometimes you just can’t tell until you’ve actually knit it. My advice would be to buy a skein of that color and swatch it. Hold it up against your skin in natural and unnatural light. Drape it over clothes you already own. If you can still envision yourself wearing that color, then by all means, use it!

3. I like the shape of this garment – but will I like it on me? 

Another tough question. If you’re petite, maybe you’re not comfortable wearing something long and oversized without  changing the length a bit (or quite a bit). If you’re busty with wide shoulders, you may need to choose a pattern that can accommodate your frame. A taller body may need to edit where the waist shaping is on a sweater as well as the length. The list goes on and on. All of our bodies are sized differently and a lot of patterns are only written for a handful of sizes (although most designers are getting much better about expanding their sizing options). For me, if I have to change more than three things about a pattern to feel comfortable in it, I’m out. Pull out some of your favorites and decide what you think looks best on you, and try choosing a pattern that has similar qualities.

4. How many outfits can I make out of things I already own? Will I have to buy something to go with this?  

If your wardrobe is more jeans-and-a-tee, maybe you won’t get as much wear out of that gorgeous cable-knit skirt as you would a top-down raglan. If you live in Hawaii, you might not have the same need for a closet full of Lopi sweaters as someone in Alaska might.

Ok, so maybe that was more than four questions, but I think you get the gist of it. Of course, we support making what you want, when you want, but we also want you to get as much wear as you can out of your handknits, and to make something you’ll cherish!

Today, we’re taking the Harkin Pullover, by Kirsten Hipsky, knit in Valley Yarns Hatfield, and styling it three different ways. Harkin is an oversized pullover, knit in a lace weight alpaca on size 8 needles. It’s roomy and comes in several sizes. It’s very lightweight, but adds a touch of warmth to almost any outfit, which is perfect for all seasons, and definitely easy to mix and match with what you probably already own!

For our Valley Yarns 2017 catalog, we styled the Harkin Pullover with medium-wash skinny jeans, brown riding boots, and a chunky necklace. It’s a simple outfit that definitely has an autumnal feel. Since we’re still a couple of months away from Fall here in the Pioneer Valley, I styled Harkin three ways that could work in the summer, using items pulled from my own wardrobe.

valley yarns knit sweater harkin 1

The first outfit is a summery recreation of the original look. When late summer mornings start to get cool, I often throw a lightweight sweater over a tank. I used medium-wash jeggings with a black cami to pair underneath. Instead of tall boots, I chose these colorful, faux-leather flat sandals that were a steal at Target. To top it off, I grabbed a small cross-body bag.

valley yarns knit sweater harkin 2Do you wear your knits to work? We do at WEBS!

For a casual office, the unstructured and oversized Harkin Pullover would look great over the same black camisole, and with a flouncy patterned skirt. Cute, shiny, and comfy, these flat sandals add texture and shine.

valley yarns knit sweater harkin 3

For the final outfit, I wanted to dress Harkin up a bit. I chose an ultra-short, strappy sundress, with chunky wedge platforms. The colors of the floral print compliment the sweater’s deep red color, and because the knitted fabric is sheer, a bit of that print will peek through! It’s the perfect cover-up for a summer date night!

valley yarns knit sweater harkin 4


How do you style your handknits? We want you to show us! Tag us @websyarn on Instagram, or share them in our Ravelry group!



Marykate has worked at WEBS since April of 2016, first in the retail store, and then as the Marketing Coordinator. She is mainly a knitter, which she's been doing since childhood, but dabbles in spinning, crochet, and weaving. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her three cats and enormous stash of Valley Yarns.

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