The temperature is rising. Summer is getting nearer. And while you all may be preoccupied with your lacy cotton knits, this weekend I dove right into a big woolen sweater. I can’t help it. I’m a sweater knitter. No matter the time of year, I can always knit a sweater. There’s something so incredibly satisfying about it. Whenever I’m in the process of knitting one, I almost feel like I’m materializing an old friend. As if this article of clothing has always existed and has always been destined to exist. Each new stitch is familiar to me, like I’ve seen it before in some alternate universe.
Sweaters are my go-to projects. Many knitters like socks. I can understand that. They’re quick; they don’t require too much yarn; there are so many fun, funky patterns out there; you can put your handspun to good use…it all makes sense to me. But I never got on that bandwagon myself. Perhaps it has to do with my general disdain towards wearing socks – I’m barefoot about 90% of the time. I do love to admire other people’s knitted socks. For me though, I always end up back at a sweater pattern. Usually a cabled sweater. And that’s where I found myself this weekend.
For a few months, I have been mulling over the idea of knitting Todd Gocken‘s Cabled Jacket. To the naked eye, it might seem like any ordinary cabled sweater. However, there are subtle details that really, really drew me to this pattern. When I’m looking for a good sweater pattern, it’s the attention to detail that wins me over. Don’t get me wrong; it’s perfectly acceptable to have a typical ribbed cuff and collar, with a standard cast-on and bind-off. They still look fantastic and I knit sweaters like that all the time. Occasionally though, you will find a pattern that adds a few minor tweaks to your generic sweater recipe, and it makes all the difference.
The Cabled Jacket contains a few elements that really set it apart as unique. Rather than ribbing around the body’s base, the band is provisionally cast-on, and knitted entirely in stockinette stitch for four inches. The waste yarn is then removed from the cast-on edge, the band is folded in half, and each live cast-on stitch is knitted together with the active live stitches. This creates a nice sturdy band around the bottom of the sweater, with a very neat edge. The same doubled technique is mirrored in the collar, once again adding a professional-looking edge to the garment. Additionally, there is a four-stitch i-cord selvedge at the zipper edge. If you haven’t taken notice yet, I am a huge fan of very neat edges on knitwear. Also, I love the way the saddle shoulders carry the cable up the length of the sleeves and straight to the collar. All together, the minute details of this sweater make it perfect. Or maybe I just like the guy modelling it.
Either way, I’m very pleased with the progress I’ve made on the sweater so far.
I’m using Knit Pick’s Wool of the Andes Worsted in the Pampas Heather colourway. This also happens to be my go-to yarn for sweaters. I’ve used it often enough that I know my gauge, and have a good idea of how the final product will turn out. Also, you can’t beat the price. The majority of sweaters I make are gifts, therefore price does play a pretty big part in my yarn decision making. So far, Wool of the Andes has never let me down. It’s one of those super reliable yarns.
When I’m making a gift for someone, I look for reliability. I don’t want any surprises. This is not the time for surprises or for knitting experimentation. As we get into summer, work is going to really pick up. I’ll be tired. I’ll be exhausted. I’ll look forward to some smooth knitting in the evenings. Hopefully that’s exactly what this sweater will provide.