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Archive for January 20th, 2010

A Sweater Dream

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Some of you may remember I got more than half of a turquoise mohair sweater finished, which I started around Thanksgiving. I still adore the fabric I made, but it was thick enough that the size I had chosen looked enormous.


I do wear huge sweaters all the time. It’s perhaps a “boyfriend sweater” look, though most of my sweaters are not manly colors. I do sometimes buy men’s sweaters, or ladies’ sweaters in the X sizes, so that I can get a roomy and tunic-length body.

Sometimes that means rolling up sleeves to an extreme degree. Sometimes I even take off the bottom of the sleeve (well, once or twice) and reknitting it to a reasonable length.

The mohair sweater ended up thick enough fabric that it did not drape as the sweater I am trying to match, did. Therefore it needs smaller shoulders.


I need to rip it out and figure out what to do next. That takes figuring time I don’t feel I have right now. I’ll finish it sometime… the truth is that the only long-sleeved sweater I’ve handknit and completed, took me a year. I have not lost faith.

But the understanding that I’m in the middle of a long-sleeved sweater, a project I rarely undertake… did not stop me from a somewhat ridiculous decision. I am going to attempt another sweater. During the Olympics. We will see how I do.

Rae’s shop had a big inventory sale last weekend. She clearanced out her Nashua Creative Focus Worsted (alpaca/wool singles). A nice pile of the bright magenta (fuschia) was available at something like $6.50 per 100gm/200yd ball. I had a $25 credit at her store. The sweater I thought it would work well in, required 5 balls for a generous size. I got the pattern, the yarn, and an extra ball of yarn just in case (I do want to make the sweater a little longer). It cost me less than $20 after tax. You can see why I caved in.

boyfriendsweaterswatch2 I picked a pattern which seems ideal for the “boyfriend sweater” look. It is sized from 3Xsmall, to 6Xlarge. Amazing. One pattern.

I like the stitch pattern. It is called something like seed rib but it’s really one column of garter stitch, then four columns of stockinette. For someone who does NOT like working dozens of purl stitches in a row, this is great.


After I bought the yarn and pattern, I found myself surfing Ravelry and looking at a number of Kristin Nicholas’ sweater designs. I saw a man wearing a colorwork sweater with a sort of diamond pattern at a low level on the sweater. And it clicked!

I have long wanted a “Charlie Brown” sweater. You know that I adore zigzag patterns of all sorts. It is no surprise I would like our hero’s t-shirt with a zig at the bottom. His colors are not mine, but the idea struck me fully, years before I was knitting anything beyond scarves.

I had already knit one swatch. I decided to use duplicate stitch on the swatch and see if I could come up with a zig I liked. In the photo above, you can see that the left zig is too “flat” but the one at right is more my style.

boyfriendsweaterswatch3Once I determined the rate of ascent, I added several rows of color. I found that embroidering on the garter column was very hard to do accurately. So I made up a little chart for myself, to knit on the few rows on which I will be doing the embroidery.

I am using a contrasting yarn which is not the same brand or texture. I like that the pink is fuzzy and the embroidery is a bit shiny. I think the texture contrast enhances the look.

I will knit this during the Olympic games. We will see if I can finish during that stretch of time. It will depend on a lot of things. But here is my project, ready to go: