Blank (Orange) Canvas Sweater

When you think blank canvas, you probably don’t picture it being orange, do you?

orange blank canvas sweater

Actually, the colour is Paprika. So it’s not exactly orange! Definitely more vibrant that you might picture a Blank Canvas to be.

The pattern is Blank Canvas, by Ysolda Teague, and it’s exactly that. A great-fitting basic pullover, that you could customize with extra details if you wanted. Or perhaps you just want a plain, solid pullover like I did. (Ravelry notes here.)

In fact I originally wanted to make it into a v-neck. But chickened out when it got time to decide v-neck or not. So I went for the safe option and kept it a round neck according to the pattern. I actually think that was a good decision, not just because it was easier, but because it’s best to make a garment according to the instructions at least once before starting to make modifications.

This sweater is going to be well-loved because it now replaces a previously well-loved cotton purchased sweater!

blank canvas orange

For one, the new one is wool. The old one was cotton and had faded considerably. Also, the colour is way more interesting in the hand-dyed wool version. There are variances within the sweater, even though it looks mostly solid. I love this effect. In some light it’s reddish and warm, you can even see tones of pink in there! Yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label, she’s Canadian and not only does she have beautiful yarn but I feel good buying from another small business in Canada.

tanis fiber arts yellow label - gorgeous colours!

The fit on this is really good. I like how it fits snugly just under the bust, rather than nipping in at the waist. On me my waist is my smallest part, but on many women it’s just under the bust. (I know this from watching What Not To Wear, they say this all the time.)

blank canvas waist shaping

I am wearing my absolute least-padded bra and it still fits well. A padded bra will give way more of an hourglass shape! You can really see the darted shaping and where it hits on the body in the next photo.

darted shaping

I also modelled it like Ysolda did in the pattern photos, over a buttondown shirt.

orange pullover over button front shirt

blank canvas pullover with buttondown shirt

From the back – a little lump due to the layers, but still looks good!
blank canvas pullover

It goes nicely with my leopard-print scarf, too.

blank canvas and leopard print scarf

The thing I learned about knitting this project is that tighter isn’t always better. I don’t know where that thinking comes from, perhaps being a teen in the 90’s with tight cropped tops, or being afraid of looking boxy up top, as that’s my small part. Boxy on top and big hips generally looks big all around.

Anyways, with knitwear, tighter isn’t always better, I’m learning. I made a 34 bust, for about 1-2″ of ease, and it’s still nicely fitted to the body without being tight. Fitted doesn’t have to mean snug. Too tight means that from the back, you might see bra bands and straps and the waistband of your tights.

blank canvas sweater, from the back

In case you’re wondering what I’m wearing on the bottom, here’s the rest of the outfit. I climbed on the mini bookshelf to try to get all of me in the shot.

blank canvas sweater, black skirt, tights and boots

orange sweater, buttondown, black skirt and boots

Cute and cycling-friendly! (On my bike, that is, probably not on a sportier bike!) For a longer ride I’d swap out the high-heeled boots for flat boots, but I have no problem riding in heels to work and back. These have grippy bottoms and I often find it easier to stop and start in heels because my feet reach the ground sooner.

Now that I’ve made one Blank Canvas, I’m ready to take on the challenge of customizing it. Changing it to a V-neck would be something completely new for me, or how about stripes? Have you ever customized or made major modifications to a knitting pattern?

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49 Responses to Blank (Orange) Canvas Sweater

  1. Kelly January 27, 2014 at 6:24 am #

    This is such a great sweater! The fit is superb. You’re so right about clothes, especially knits, not needing to be tight to be flattering. This sweater certainly looks wonderful!

  2. autumn January 27, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    well, snap! here i was, thinking that a basic pull-over like this isn’t too exciting, but i’m sort of coming around after looking at these pictures. it IS a great colorway, and i love me some colour adventures yarn by elena nodel (also canadian, on etsy) – and madelinetosh, of course – but i’ve been wanting to try tanis fiber arts soooo badly! great job, lady!!

    • Tasia January 27, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      It’s not exciting on its own, I think, but it works so well within a wardrobe. I am going to try it with a V-neck next time around, which will make it even more wearable. There are so few knitting patterns with V-necks though so I’m worried it’s because they’re complicated.. or hard to land the ‘V’ in the right place. We’ll see!
      Love TFA yarn. The colours are beautiful and it holds up well. I made my first sweater in the aran weight and it’s holding up very well! (

  3. Jenny January 27, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    As always, too cute!

  4. Jaime January 27, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    I have looked at that pattern too and I really like the bust shaping- looks fantastic on you! Your skirt (?) is so cute! Did you make it?

    • Tasia January 27, 2014 at 10:29 am #

      Nope, did not make it, I had very good intentions of sewing a basic black skirt this winter but it hasn’t happened yet..

  5. Reader January 27, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Looks great. The title made me think the sweater was made from canvas, which was a puzzler.

    • Tasia January 27, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      That would be stiff and uncomfortable! No wonder you were puzzled. :)

  6. Dana January 27, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    This sweater is so cute! You make an interesting point about the shape. My narrowest point is also at my true waist (not under the bust) and I also noticed that they talked about it all the time on WNTW. This shape sure is flattering on you! I love it with the button-up shirt underneath.

    • Tasia January 27, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      I know right? I think that on many women, that is true. Especially on a less hourglass-shaped figure, or less pear-shaped. Someone that’s more straight up and down would likely benefit from this type of shaping, I’d imagine! Although it’s still pretty comfortable and flattering on me even though my waist is smaller than the bra-band area.
      I love it with the button-up too! Totally copied Ysolda’s sweater photos. :)

      • elle January 28, 2014 at 2:02 am #

        As someone who feels very straight-up-and-down, and has been pretty nervous about the fit of sweater patterns for that reason, this is a super-useful tip to know. Thanks!

        • Tasia January 28, 2014 at 9:27 am #

          I’m so glad this discussion was useful! Good to know that the off-topic discussions in the comments end up being useful after all :)

  7. maddie January 27, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    Great basic with a fun twist in the color. I agree that too tight is not flattering at all. In fact, it has the opposite effect. Even though I’m petite, I steer clear of tight clothes because they’ll make me look bigger than I am.

    • Tasia January 27, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      I agree, I’ve noticed it a lot with sweaters, there’s a balance between oversized and clinging tightly, I’m starting to prefer garments that follow the lines of the body, without being too snug.

  8. colleen January 27, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    Man, Tasia, you really look great in orange! That color orange is luscious! I especially like it with the blue shirt sleeves.


  9. Beckie January 27, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    I always need to pull out some knitting every time you post a completed project! You do great work.

  10. Peggy January 27, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Very adorable! Perfect fit sweater on you. Craftsy dot com has an amazing class titled Knit to Flatter that is filled with info on making a perfect fitting sweatear.

  11. Andrea January 27, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    With all the knitwear you have been making I am inspired. I love that they are shaped. Oversized and boxy does not suit my hourglass/pear shape. Given it is summer here in NZ, I have time before the sun disappears.

  12. Katherine January 27, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Tasia that such a pretty sweater!! Is that a crescent skirt?

    • Tasia January 27, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      No, I didn’t make it! I bought it instead. You could get a similar look with the Crescent skirt, the shorter version!

  13. Dyann January 27, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    LOVE your new sweater! The fit is perfect, not too tight and not too lose :) Great job!!! Did you also make the scarf in the first picture? I am a beginner at knitting and hope to some day be able to knit a sweater but for now I am working on making a scarf….

    • Tasia January 27, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Nope, that scarf is quite thin, way too thin to be hand-knit! Or for my knitting skill level, anyways. It’s woven with a brocade-style design.

  14. Lynn January 27, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Super tight clothes always have pull lines that make the observer notice how the clothes do not fit. It gives the impression that you have gained weight and have to s-q-u-e-e-z-e into your outfits. Unflattering. Clothes that fit properly, like your beautiful sweater, are much more body flattering. You look great!

  15. CosIadoru January 27, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    It looks wonderful on you, I love its color!!!:)

  16. Jill January 27, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    Wow Tasia, that looks gorgeous! Love the vibrant colour. I think classic sweaters work so well in a wardrobe. I really love the patterns you choose too – you inspired the Ladies Classic Raglan pullover I’m wearing as we speak :-) Can’t wait to see what you knit next!

  17. Virginia January 27, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    It looks pretty simple. Do you think it would be good for a first make?

    • Tasia January 27, 2014 at 11:07 am #

      First sweater you mean? Or first knitting project ever?

      I think it’s a really great first sweater pattern. Ysolda’s patterns are very well-written and she has an active forum group on Ravelry so there are lots of people that might be able help you, if you get stuck. Or the question you might have might have already been answered. The only thing is that it is bottom-up, so you don’t get to try it on as you go, but if you measure yourself right it doesn’t matter. Hope this helps!

  18. Miss Crayola Creepy January 27, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    I love this! I actually just saw this pattern on your Ravelry page and wanted to make it too! :)

  19. Jo January 27, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Very pretty! I’m sure you’ll get so much wear out of this. I personally am addicted to modding my knitting projects. I always have to change something. I’m about to post my knit for victory project, my most complicated yet! It might be nice to go back to something basic like this for a change. You look lovely, and I especially love it with the shirt! :)

    • Tasia January 27, 2014 at 11:37 am #

      Thanks! I know, I wish I could knit faster so I could try out all of my modification ideas sooner. (I got told knitting isn’t a race the last time I said that, but I don’t know, I still wish I could!) I’ll have to check for your Knit for Victory project! (PS. love the matching tops for you and your mom! great photos!)

  20. Hashi January 27, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Cute jumper, Tasia! I have a question about your office. How large is it? I am designing a sewing room/studio and I’m impressed with your use of space. Thanks in advance :-)

    • Tasia January 27, 2014 at 11:33 am #

      It’s small, I think 16 feet long by 8 feet wide? Ah, I did a floor plan a while back, let me check!
      Ok, it’s 90 inches by 187 inches. Which works out to 7.5 ft wide, and 15.5 ft long. Hope this helps! You can see more photos here

      • Hashi January 29, 2014 at 11:11 am #

        Thanks so much Tasia. I’m looking at getting a space 10 x 12, which would be about the same ft2 as you have.

  21. Amy January 27, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    Wow! I love that sweater! The fit is perfect and I love the colour! I am actually starting to think about knitting now!!!

  22. Emily January 28, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Lovely colour yarn there, and I really like the sleeve length – I always tend to turn sleeves back if they’re close to my hands unless I’m wanting to feel particularly cosy, resulting in baggy cuffs if I unturn them, so 3/4 length would be perfect for me :) Looks good with the shirt underneath too.

  23. Tina January 28, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    Love the sweater, you always do such a nice job! You continue to inspire me to try new things….like you inspired me to learn to knit, although I am very slow. Do you knit Continental or American style? I ask because I am trying to learn both methods to see which method I would be faster doing. I am presently knitting a scarf using a knit, pearl pattern. Have you ever considered making a video of you while knitting as a video seems to help many learn a new technique. And, I would love to see you in action knitting!!!!

    • Tasia January 28, 2014 at 9:25 am #

      I knit English style – guessing that is what you mean by American style? Also known as ‘throwing’ where continental is ‘picking.’ I’ve heard that Continental is faster overall, but I’ve never tried knitting that way. (I think if you get used to one method, the new method is bound to be slower!)
      I’m no knitting expert, certainly not at the level where I should be giving video instruction! There are tons of knitting videos from people who really know what they’re doing that will likely be way more helpful. :)

  24. Shell @ Sew n Sow January 28, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    Love that sweater & from reading the comments I think it may suit my shape well too – might get me back to knitting for me, I’ve been on a run of cardigans for my daughters for too long!!!

  25. Janele January 28, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    Wow, I can’t knit but I LOVE the sweater. Great job.

  26. Amanda January 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    Aha! I KNEW i had good taste! LOL – I’ve had this pattern in my favourites on Ravelry, and I recognized it even in your gorgeous Paprika colour. I LOVE good, well designed basics, and you totally nailed the fit and the styling on yours. I’m really envious of that yarn… totally adding that to my wish list as well!! ^__^

  27. Elisabeth January 30, 2014 at 1:23 am #

    What a lovely sweater!
    Might have to be added to my list of things to make, like many of the other things you create.

  28. Clio January 31, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    I love the color and fit! Orange actually is my very favorite color and I use/wear it so much another sewist recently commented that it’s my neutral. So, I just love how you’ve made this a basic!

  29. June January 31, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    Love the color! Beautiful shaping, too. I’ve been reading Amy Herzog’s work (her Craftsy class is better than her book, imo), lots of great info about fitting knits using underbust shaping and back shaping.

  30. Harriet Whittle February 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    I don’t really knit but I just LOVE your skirt. I decided that was going to be my next project but can I find a pattern? No. So there’s another pattern suggestion for you Tasia, a flippy skirt. I love yours flaring out from just below the hip, very flattering but flaring just above the knee would be a great variation. Here’s hoping! and looking forward to your february pattern also!

  31. Susan February 5, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Your orange/paprika Blank Canvas is beautiful. BC is the only sweater pattern I have seen that has the raglan/saddle shoulder “raddle” design- similar to a RTW workhorse pullover I have and that is showing its age. After seeing yours I think I need to move to the top of my my Rav queue.

  32. Delia February 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    Hi Tasia: I follow with interest your posts so full of fresh ideas and good advice. I love the way this sweater looks with the skirt made with the all color fabric. I would like to know where I can get a pattern for a sweater just like this one, with vertical darts in the bust. Any comment will be appreciated. Thank you.

  33. Bron February 7, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    Hi Tasia, I am planning to take up knitting and was thinking of starting with the pattern you used for your ‘cake’ sweater (raglan sweater). Do you think this one would make a good first project instead? I love the shaping, but wonder if that is a bit tricky for a beginner? It looks fabulous, the colour you have chosen is brilliant.

    • Tasia February 10, 2014 at 8:31 am #

      I think it would be a good first sweater! The shaping isn’t any more tricky than if it were at the side, all of the calculations are done for you. Of the two sweaters, the raglan and this one, I wear this one so much more, and I really like the fit of it. It could also be that I like the colour better as well though! Both would be a good starting point. One is top down, so you start with the neck, and can try it on as you go (the cake one.) This one is bottom-up so it’s not possible to try on until it’s nearly done. Of course if you have the right gauge and check it as you go, you should be OK with bottom-up. Good luck!

  34. Cyndi February 26, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    Lovely sweater! It has been in queue for quite a while but you’ve made me take another look and I might plan to do it sooner! What a great, flattering classic knit.

    I am just getting into sewing (made my first skirt woohoo!) and was wondering if there was anything like Ravelry for the sewing world? How do people mainly get their patterns and share project photos etc?