Shoowa Retro Sweater : Knit Kit

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Thirty plus years ago I was invited to Brussels to give a lecture and exhibition of my work to a group who published an inspirational magazine called “Initiations”. It was quite an adventure travelling from my home on the Isle of Skye to Belgium, with a super large suitcase full of my knitting and apprehension about giving my first lecture! The experience was amazing and on the opening night I met a wonderful man Fritz who commissioned a sweater. Inspired by an exhibition of Shoowa Cloths he took me to, I set about designing the piece in a totally new way. I worked using meditation and allowing the design to be created in the meditative state, asking a question of each stitch where it would like to go and each colour where it should be. I used a simple base with a regular formula and then let it go. The Front, Back and sleeves were all different! It took a year and when I put it all together all the lines joined up as if by magic. I returned to Brussels for a 2nd exhibition with the finished piece which Fritz adored. The process changed the whole way I work. I found out later the special maths I uncovered in exploring these magical cloths has now been revealed as a form of plane maths, totally unique and incredible which applies to many special textile forms. I hope you will follow me in my journey when you make this design which is very close to my heart!

I have recreated the Shoowa in the following colourway using the main colours in Aran with one contrast in a Lalland DK with 2 strands knitted together. There are other options of course, using our beautiful Storm, a great melange of greys as a base or indeed the fabulous Swift!


DiGilpin Lalland DK - 100% Lambswool Spun in Scotland - 50gr/ball
DiGilpin Lalland Aran - 100% Lambswool Spun in Scotland - 100gr/ball

 Lalland Aran and DK
Size 1 2 3 4
Main Colour Crowdie Aran 5 5 5 6
Main Contrast A Firebird Aran 2 2 2 2
Contrast B Gloaming DK 2 2 2 2
Contrast C Swift Aran 1 1 1 1


 You will need: Needles (Not included in the Kit)

1 pair 4.00 mm (US 6) needles
1 pair 4.50 mm (US 7) needles
1 set 3.75mm (US 5) short dpns or circular needle short 3.75mmUS 5)
1 pair of 3.75mm needles (US 5)

Finished Measurements 

 Size 1 (CM/IN) (CM/IN) (CM/IN) (CM/IN)
Width 54/21 59/23 65/25.5 70/29.5
Length 60/23.5 60/23.5 65/25.5 65/25.5
Armhole Depth 23/9 23/9 27/11 27/11
Welt Depth 7/4.5 7/4.5 7/4.5 7/4.5


Included in the kit:

Yarn : 8 (9) 100g Balls of Lalland Aran : 100% Lambswool Spun in Scotland
Yarn : 2 (2) 50g Balls of Lalland DK: 100% Lambswool Spun in Scotland
Pattern (PDF Download)
Di Gilpin Project Bag

Skills: This pattern is for experienced knitters. It requires following charts and uses Fair Isle and Intarsia techniques.