Monday, 17 June 2013

Classic 60s polo neck sweater

Steve Winwood in the original sweater
As usual I've been too busy knitting to write up my patterns - I really must make more effort! This sweater was made for a friend who's very much into the 60s Mod look, even though he's about 25 years too young to remember it! He'd asked me if I could make him a sweater like one he'd seen Steve Winwood wearing in a photo taken in about 1965, when Steve was with the Spencer Davis Group. (Who else remembers them? Come on, own up!). 
I've made a couple of minor changes - it looks as though the original was in Aran/worsted weight, which was a little heavy for Paul if he wanted to wear it on stage (he's the guitarist in a 60s tribute band, The Beat Rooms), so I used Jarol Heritage DK, which has a high wool content and is therefore more authentic than synthetic fibres. I also changed the shoulder line slightly as the dropped shoulder of the original would be uncomfortable under a jacket. Here's the pattern - it's very simple, with a cable repeat every 14 rows on both front and back.

Please note error in sleeve pattern now corrected 6 March 2014

Classic 1960s polo neck sweater

My version of Steve's sweater


700g Jarol Heritage DK – I used shade 100 Cream.

Pair size UK 10/3.25 mm needles

Pair size UK 8/4 mm needles

Set of size UK 9/3.75 mm double point needles for polo collar

Cable needle

2 stitch holders or spare needles


To fit chest 40” to 42” (actual measurement 44”)

Length 28”

Sleeve seam 19” plus turnback cuff

Back width across shoulders (between sleeve set-in seams) 16”


22 sts and 30 rows to 4” measured over stocking stitch on 4 mm needles.


Inc 1 st by knitting into back and front of same st

st st
stocking stitch
rem remaining
patt pattern RS right side
tog together WS wrong side
st(s) stitch(es) C8F slip next 4 sts onto cable needle, place at front of work, K next 4 sts, then K 4 sts from cable needle
inc increase
dec decrease
alt alternate


Using 3.25 mm needles, cast on 119 sts and work 3” (22 rows) rib as follows:

1st rib row: (K1, P1) to last st, K1.

2nd rib row: K1, (K1, P1) to last 2 sts, K2.

Inc row: Rib 4, (K2in, rib 11) 9 times. K2in, rib 6 (129 sts).

Change to 4 mm needles and work 14 row cable pattern as follows:

Marker added on cable row
1st, 3rd and 5th (RS) rows: (K35, P2, K8, P2) twice, K35

2nd and alt (WS) rows: (P35, K2, P8, P2) twice, P35

7th row: (K35, P2, C8F, P2) twice, K35 – place a marker on this row (a length of contrasting yarn will be fine).

9th, 11th and 13th rows – as 1st.

Repeat these 14 rows until work measures 18” or desired length to start of armhole decreasing. Move the marker to each new cable patt row as you work it.
Armhole shaping: Keeping continuity of cable pattern, cast off 4 sts at start of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st at each end of next 7 rows, then each alt 6 (RS) rows (95 sts rem).

Work straight until work measures 9½” from start of armhole decreasing, i.e. 27½” in total.

Shoulder shaping: Cast off 9 sts at start of next 4 rows, then 10 at start of nest 2 rows. Place rem 39 sts on stitch holder for neck.


Work as for back to end of armhole shaping. Work straight until work is 18 rows shorter than the back to start of shoulder shaping, thus ending with a WS row.

Divide for neck: Work 35 sts, turn, P2 tog and work to end. Working on these 34 sts only, dec 1 st at neck edge on next 3 rows, then on next 3 alt (RS) rows (28 sts).

Work 7 rows straight. With RS facing, cast off 9 sts at start of next and foll alt rows. Work 1 row. Cast off rem 10 sts.

Place centre 25 sts on stitch holder. Rejoin yarn to rem sts and complete other side of neck to match.

Sleeves (make 2 alike):

Using 3.25 mm needles, cast on 59 sts and work 5” (40 rows) rib as for back. If you prefer to omit the turnback, work 3” (22 rows).

Inc row: Rib 5, (K2 in, rib 7) 6 times, K2 in, rib 5 (66 sts).

Change to 4 mm needles and. working in st st throughout, inc 1 st (K2 in) at each end of 7th row and each following 8th row until there are 92 sts.

Work straight until work measures 21” (or 19” if you are omitting the turnback).

Shape top: cast off 4 sts at start of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st at each end of next and foll alt (RS) rows until there are 40 sts left. Dec each end of every row until 28 sts are left.

Cast off 3 sts at start of next 2 rows. Cast off rem 22 sts.
Back of sweater also has cable pattern

Polo collar:

Join shoulder seams.

Using 3.75 mm dpns or circular needle, and starting at left shoulder seam, pick up and knit 22 sts down left front neck, K across 25 sts from centre front, pick up and K 22 sts up right front neck, and finally K across 39 sts from back neck (108 sts). Work 6½” K1, P1 rib. Cast off loosely – use a needle 1 or 2 sizes larger.


Press pieces according to ball band instrucions. Set in sleeves, then join side and sleeve seams. Don't forget to stitch the lower 3” of the sleeve ribbing from the other side, as the cuffs will be turned back in wear. Press seams.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I believe there is an error on the instructions of the sleeves. When you have 59 sts and you go to do the increase row, the stitches don't add up to 88 sts at the end of the row. Can you please clarify your pattern so I can continue on finishing.

    Inc row: Rib 5, (K2 in, rib 7) 6 times, K2 in, rib 5 (88 sts).

    I understand it as: Rib 5 sts, (K2in, rib7 = 9 x 6=54), K2inc, Rib 5 = 61 sts. Where are the other 27 stitches?

    Please email me back a reply to: thank you.

  3. As usual I've been too busy knitting to write up my patterns - I really must make more effort! This sweater was made for a friend who's very much ...