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The Simplest Strange Brew

January 28, 2021
a back view of a colourwork yoke sweater

Creating a custom sweater doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, I just finished a VERY simple one using the Strange Brew colourwork yoke recipe. Yes, I said ‘recipe’. That’s because Strange Brew isn’t a pattern – it’s a formula for designing your very own yoke sweater!

hand knit sweaters laid flat
The teal-on-teal palette of this Strange Brew yoke fits right in with my soft pink Love Note sweater and my vivid, sparkly green handspun Flax sweater!

I cast on this sweater when I was looking for a little simple satisfaction. (I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling that desire lately, right?!) To keep it easy peasy, I chose a high-contrast colour pair: an icy, pale blue with a deep, moody teal. These exquisite colourways are Rainbow Heirloom Sock in Auld Lang Syne (main colour) and Snow Melt (contrast colour).

This is the first colourwork yoke that I’ve knit for myself in a merino sock yarn. I tend to work my yokes, like this vintage green cropped number and this navy blue geometric study, in woollier yarns. But the next-to-skin softness and gentle drape of this new sweater is super comfortable and easy to wear.

a woman in a colourwork yoke sweater

Project details and chart

If you’d like to knit a similar simple yoke, here are all the details.

I used the Strange Brew colourwork yoke recipe, following the instructions for a woman’s size M (37.5″) in sock weight yarn, knit from the top-down. Strange Brew is VERY versatile. The recipe includes 25 sizes, three gauge options, and instructions for working the sweater top-down or bottom-up. It allows you to make a sweater to fit almost any body, working with yarn you love.

I selected a few small-repeat patterns from the library of stitch patterns included with Strange Brew, and I worked them in the order shown here. Following the pattern, I worked the setup increase and increase 1 before beginning the chart. Increase rounds 2 and 3 were worked on rounds 14 and 30 (as noted in the chart), and increase round 4 was worked after the chart was complete. Learn more about charts in our tutorial How To Read A Knitting Chart.

a back view of a colourwork yoke sweater

As much as I like to make things complicated and use about a hundred colours, this sweater gets a lot of use. It may be a bit mundane, but it’s infinitely wearable and comfy.

Keep it simple…or not?

Anthology Hat Pattern

Alexa and I are big fans of monochrome palettes, like this black and white version of the Anthology hat. To begin your colourwork journey with a small project, check out this free pattern, which includes instructions for a hat, cowl, and tubular cowl – in 3 gauges! As a bonus, Anthology is the perfect pattern to swatch for your Strange Brew yoke.

Anthology hat pattern
We wrote an entire in-depth series that covers five different colour ‘strategies’ to help you come up with a colourwork combination you love.
detail of colourwork knitting pattern
Some like it…a bit more complicated!

Perhaps a simple monochrome isn’t your jam, and you prefer your knitting spicy! If so, you may find our tips for applying colour to stranded knitting motifs useful when you want to use ALL the colours for maximum excitement!

Cast on now!

Get your copy of the Strange Brew yoke recipe and get started today! By keeping the colour palette simple and the repeats small, designing a custom yoke sweater can be accessible, joyful, and a great pleasure for any knitter.

Seeking more inspiration? Check out our gallery of Strange Brew yoke sweater knits, with links to each of the pattern details.

~ Em

hand knit sweaters laid flat

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue Smith permalink
    March 18, 2021 7:42 am

    I love you Golden Glow sweater!!!! My 8 yr old granddaughter also loves that book. Where can I purchase this beautiful pattern??

  2. February 9, 2021 11:16 am

    Such pretty pieces!!! Completely in awe! :D

  3. Olivia permalink
    February 1, 2021 5:01 am

    Baby in the red jacket steals the show! So adorable

  4. January 29, 2021 5:29 pm

    LOVE the variegated blue yarn coupled with the white for the colorwork. Thanks for sharing. I can see doing something similar after seeing your sweater.

  5. January 29, 2021 9:57 am

    Beautiful sweater 🥰 I watt to try to make this, a Lively, nice blogg you havet, thanks a lot for these pattern you give 💝

  6. GeniaKnitz permalink
    January 28, 2021 9:16 am

    Pretty sweater, but oh that yarn! Do you know if they have the same colorway in a yarn without alpaca (to which I am allergic)?

  7. Louise DROSDZOL permalink
    January 28, 2021 9:04 am

    Hey Emily. I use Strange Brew for all of my own patterns – I even use it for plain sweaters. Even this cardi that I made without pattern except for my strange brew recipe

  8. Arlene Shipper permalink
    January 28, 2021 8:30 am

    Found it! I gather you don’t sell the yarn.

    Sent from my iPhone


    • January 28, 2021 6:59 pm

      Hi Arlene – Glad you found it! Nope, we don’t sell yarn, just patterns. Happy knitting!

  9. Arlene Shipper permalink
    January 28, 2021 8:12 am

    I just saw your gorgeous grump grandpa cardigan – and lost it! Would you please resend it to me? I posted a comment on your web too! You have it in all sizes but it featured a baby boy.

    I’ll keep looking too!

    Sent from my iPhone


  10. Sidney permalink
    January 28, 2021 7:51 am

    What great inspiration to try my own nascent designing skills. Thank you!

  11. January 28, 2021 7:16 am

    Was the pink sweater with the lace yoke knit using the strange brew recipe? If yes, any special considerations needed to accommodate the decreases? Thanks.

    Sent from my iPhone, probably with strange words and typos from autocomplete.

  12. January 28, 2021 6:29 am

    Always a wealth of information and inspiration!

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