With knitting, as with fashion, everything old is new again. And as fall sweater season rolls in on a wave of apple cider and crunching leaves, we're seeing a classic style take center stage: the yoke sweater. This cozy icon traces its roots to Swedish, Icelandic and Shetland knitting traditions, with each culture offering its own unique version.
What exactly qualifies as a yoke sweater? The main idea is a circular yoke: Imagine knitting a circle with a neckline in the middle. Slip that circle over your head, and it drapes over your chest and shoulders, creating a uninterrupted canvas, perfect for colorwork designs. From there, the body and sleeves are all knit as tubes. Depending on your pattern, you can start at the collar and knit down, or work from the hemline and knit the sweater up toward the collar.
Yoke sweater crushes
Designers and knitters alike can't get enough of these sweaters, which means there are plenty of gorgeous options out there to keep you warm this fall. Every single one of these is in my queue. Time to get started!
The Throwback by Andrea Mowry
This cozy cardigan was inspired by childhood memories of weekends spent in the sand dunes of northern Michigan. We're feeling the retro vibe of the zigzag colorwork yoke. Totally Rhinebeck- worthy.
Mountain Hum by Diana Wallin
Sleek, modern, slim, and fitted, this yoke sweater screams Scandinavian cool, with a definite nod to mid-century design. Check out that subtle ombre fade in the yoke!
Vintersol by Jenn Steinglass
Knit in tried-and-true Icelandic Lopi, this sweater borrows from the traditional lopapeysa sweater of Iceland, while pulling updated motifs straight from nature. The bits of motif along the hem and cuffs are just icing on the cake.
Zweig by Caitlin Hunter
Not all yokes feature colorwork. Case in point: Caitlin Hunter's Zweig sweater. Sure, there's a bit of colorwork happening, but lace is definitely the star of the show. Fingering-weight wool keeps the lace airy, but still super warm.
Throughstone by Bristol Ivy
If you don't like knitting colorwork flat, this is the cardigan for you! It's actually knit in the round and then (gasp!) cut up middle. Don't worry, you can practice cutting your pockets before you jump all in and start hacking up your sweater. It's actually not as scary as it sounds, but if you're feeling nervous, the designer herself will walk you through it in the Throughstone Sweater Knit-Along.