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The Easiest Polka Dots You'll Ever Knit -- Mayfair by Martin Storey

I went into this project blind as a spotted bat, uncaring of all the fairisle I would have to do -- it was going to be  worth it to have this sweet polka dot pullover. I even flipped to the pattern to order the yarn... why didn't I notice that the yarn quantities were so low? Keep reading, because you won't believe the calculation I'm about to make!!


This is Mayfair by Martin Storey, from the Rowan book Easy DK Knits. If you look closely, you'll see that the background color on the lower part of the body and sleeves are a lighter gray.

And of course, you'll notice from my version that I didn't listen to that at all. I thought it would be more fun to change the contrast color here and there.

There really was no rhyme or reason to it. I originally wanted to use more colors, but then things were getting too busy with all those polka dots. So, I stuck to one color, did 2 stripes in the front,  1 in the back...

...and some on the sleeves, not aligned on purpose, I swear. A fellow knitter even said, "How did you not match them, you always match everything!" Truer words were never said, but I don't know, why not throw OCD to the wind!

Now it's time for the magical calculation. As I hinted, this is not fair-isle but a simple slip stitch color pattern. This means you never carry more than one yarn at a time. On contrast color rows simply slip 3 stitches of main color from the row before and then knit 1 of contrast color. You do two rows of this to make a little moss stitch X.

WAIT! In case this isn't sinking in... for every 2 rows, YOU ONLY KNIT ONE OUT OF FOUR STITCHES! I decided to figure out how much knitting I was saving for the body alone:

Yes, your overknit shoulders wrists and elbows will thank you.  :)

Advanced math alert: some of you are very clever and realize that slipping stitches provides no actual length and thus forces you to knit more rows. Touché, and for you I've calculated 21,060 sts saved... but let's not scare the others!

Also, the slipped stitches make for a very interesting back. I was almost tempted to wear it inside out, but then I got caught on god-knows-what walking by, and knew better.

I should tell you that all of this slipping does add a lot of width to the fabric. If you don't want to add a good half-inch to your waistline, choose another pattern.

You can see this thickness of fabric best when you look at the cuffs, the pillowy slip stitch poofs over the thinner ribbing.

I did change the pattern a bit. For instance, do you see how the polka dots are offset for each row? Well, for some reason the back and front are written as identical -- but that would mean that the dots from each row would crash into each other at the side seam. (To fix that, just flip which row you start with for the front).

Also, I used much larger needles than called for. That slip stitch will pull your work tight, watch it!

So what smooth and squishy yarn is this, you ask? It's a new three-weight yarn line from Rowan of the most high quality merino then wily sheep can make. It's not Fine, it's not Extra Fine... it's SUUUUUUPER Fine!!!


Yes, Rowan Super Fine Merino is the soft (pushover) cousin of the everyday Zara, Lang, etc. "extra fine" cousins. There is NO itch possible for wool-sensitive skin (barring allergy, of course). I mean, you'd think the stuff was cotton in sheep's clothing! There are three weights, 4-ply/fingering, DK and Aran.

Pretty, hey? I made a secret Santa gift out of that deep purple aran, it's so squishy soft and makes an excellent fabric. (Pattern is the free Candle Flame Cowl by Julia Allen)

All in all this was a great knit in a simple but mega-luxurious yarn, and I recommend it. If anything, knit it to whip out a sweater in 1/2 the number of stitches, what a trip!

See my Mayfair Zing on Ravelry

Go ahead, you know you want to.
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  1. Really beautiful, Dayana. I mostly do slip stitch in...forgive me, brace yourself, DISHCLOTHS. Beautiful sweater and you look great in it. Thanks for pointing out the cowl pattern, also. I hadn't seen that one. Into the queue it went.

    1. Oh man, thanks for the brace yourself warning!! ;) Hey, do the strands get caught when cleaning, though? That cowl is fun, you'll enjoy it.

  2. Great sweater! Love how those rows of purple really stand out as stripes!

    1. Yeah, I really like how those came out, though I wasn't so sure at first!

  3. Love it. I do like slip stitch knitting, but have only used it for cowls. Like how you added the pop of purple. Makes the sweater distinctive. How do you get all this done, and work too?

    1. I'm not sure, especially these days. But stay tuned, I have 1.9 sweaters already done to show soon! That .1 requires some serging and end weaving. ;)

  4. I have used the Super Fine Merino Aran and I found it very splitty. Maybe my technique is of!

    1. No, you make a good point! But it's the case with all of these types of merino yarns in my opinion. They are like, 6 or 8 plies, and you can definitely catch them. It's particularly evident when you cast-on and one strand unwinds very easily.

  5. Love your math ! A slipped stitch sweater is so tempting right me, when I battle with my Aran sweater filled with cables. Tempting yarn too. As said in another comment, I don't know how you manage to knit so many sweaters, you must have supersonic fingers. Anyway the result is great. Bravo!


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