THE MAE SWEATER BY ANDREA MOWRY

It’s been a while since I finished what I can safely call one of the most successful garments I ever knitted. Obviously, I’m talking about my Mae sweater. That one many of you loved when I posted pictures of it on Instagram. It’s a stunning design by Andrea Mowry (@dreareneeknits) — who has loads more of amazing patterns for sale — with some color-block-and-long-sleeve-adjustments by yours truly. Wanna know how I made it (and how it looks on)? Read on.

Mae Andrea Mowry

IN ALL ITS GLORIOUS GREYNESS

Choosing Mae

I had this large quantity of Drops Alaska in my stash, that I once purchased for a specific project that I can’t remember now, haha. It isn’t the softest, but wasn’t the most expensive either (on the contrary). Therefore, I wanted to find a pattern for it that I wouldn’t mind screwing up. Something that would teach me a lot of new skills, and something that I could play around with as I pleased. As many of you know, I’m always drawn to modern-looking knitwear patterns: simple designs with just a few cool details. Andrea has designed many that tick that box, but considering my yarn weight and quantity, I ended up with Mae, an oversized tunic in broken stockinette stitch.

Andrea Mowry Mae

Mae pattern sample // photo by Andrea Mowry

Obviously, the double v-neck drew my attention. It looks pretty sexy, plus I never knitted a v-neck before, so win-win. I also loved the hemline, which hangs lower at the back and higher at the front — a feature I generally look for when buying clothes. And on top of all that, I never knitted a garment in the round before, let alone with faux- and exposed “seams” and all that good stuff. In short, the pattern didn’t seem too complicated, but still called for many new-to-me techniques.

Mae Andrea Mowry

Yarn and gauge

Especially with such a large project (oh well, actually always), I’d rather be prepared. So I swatched. And that was actually quite difficult, because I wanted to make a flat swatch, while the pattern itself is worked in the round. I must say it took my quite some time to distill from the pattern how to do broken stockinette on a flat piece of knitting, but as these things tend to go, there was this eureka-moment and everything seemed so simple after that.

Even though Drops Alaska is qualified as a worsted / aran weight, it’s quite a lot thicker than the yarn used by Andrea (138m / 100g compared to 201m / 100g). I had to go down a needle size to match the gauge of the pattern. And I actually liked that, because it gave me the dense fabric I love in garments. After that, all I had to do was follow the pattern religiously (I knit the size medium, fyi). Except for the sleeves, that is, because I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make long sleeves. The yarn is just too woolly for a short-sleeved garment, it screamed to be turned into something warm and cozy like a sweater.

Mae Andrea Mowry

Knitting experience

This pattern was a dream to knit up, really. I couldn’t recommend it more for knitters who are looking for something just a little bit more challenging than your regular “square” sweater. To compare it with my Long Island sweater: even though that one has some lovely shaping in the body through increases, I’d still say Mae is a little more advanced and professional-looking. And just a tiny bit more difficult.

All the things that were new to me, the short row shaping, the faux seams and the v-neck, were surprisingly simple and fun to knit. The short rows in particular opened up a whole new world of garment shaping for me and now I wanna add all the short rows to all the projects I’m designing myself. I know it sounds scary to many knitters who never tried short row shaping before, but if that’s you, please DON’T be scared and give it a go, because it’s so satisfying.

Talking about satisfying, I was extremely content with knitting the ribbing of the v-neck. How that works out in the middle, in the “point” of the v, really eased my perfectionist mind, haha.

Mae Andrea Mowry

Adjustments

Because I was afraid of running out of the darker grey, I switched to the lighter grey somewhere in the middle of the shoulder shaping. Looking back, I probably had enough to finish the whole body. And if not, and if I could do it again, I would probably have changed colors before separating for the v-neck. That way, the whole neckline would have been in light grey and the color change would perfectly line up with the sleeves.

The long sleeves were a total success, I wouldn’t change a thing about them. And in case you want to turn the tunic into a sweater as well, here’s how: I picked up 44 stitches around the armholes (the pattern calls for a different number) and made sure I picked one up right in the middle of the shoulder seam and one in the middle of the faux side seam. With the larger needle size, I knitted the sleeve in broken stockinette, just like the body, including the faux seam stitches so that they run continuous with the shoulder and side seam of the body. I didn’t do any decreases, because I like my sleeves to be a bit oversized. Once they reached the desired length, I switched to the smaller needle size and knitted the ribbed cuff the same way as I knitted the hemline of the body.

Mae Andrea Mowry

Finito!

During the day, it’s still 28ºC / 82ºF around here, but the evenings are slowly starting to get cooler and I just can’t wait to get a proper wear out of this sweater. The Drops Alaska is ever so slightly itchy though, so if you’re very sensitive to wool (and you’re gonna wear it without a top underneath), I’d recommend choosing a different yarn. If I’m gonna knit this pattern again (and I think I will some day), I’ll also opt for a more drapy yarn, because Alaska makes the fabric around the hips a little stiff and wide (if I’m making any sense here, haha). On the overall, I think this was a very successful knit and I can only dream to design stuff like this myself some day. <3

If you’re interested in more of my projects, make sure to add me as a friend on Ravelry! I try to regularly update my projects’ page as well as my yarn stash, and I also sell my own designs there (currently just one haha, but more is in the making!).

3 thoughts on “THE MAE SWEATER BY ANDREA MOWRY

  1. You’re like, my knitting crush. Seriously. This sweater is absolutely gorgeous and you did such a beautiful job! I love taking on knitting patterns that challenge me as well. I think it’s an amazing way to learn and I actually love when I make mistakes along the way. When I have the finished product, I love seeing tiny imperfections that remind me that this is a learning process.

    I’m going to add this pattern to my to-do list for sure! I’m inspired to try and make one similar to yours. The challenge of trying to recreate your modifications sounds like a really fun learning process!

    1. Omg, that is just the sweetest message, thank you SO much! I’m just sitting here, doing my thing, and it’s such a weird idea that that apparently inspires others to take their needles and start making. Thanks again for leaving me your feedback, thoughts and experiences. If you ever knit this sweater, let me know, ’cause I’d love to see! Now excuse me while I go check out that gorgeous website of yours! XX Merel

      1. I know the feeling that inspiring other makers can bring – that’s why I blog too! I also know the feeling of having people engage with your posts 🙂 I will definitely let you know if I cast this sweater on. Just need to get through the craziness of the holidays, then I can get back to knitting some personal projects!

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