Today, as Doug and I were taking a walk through the fields, I realised two things at once. First, he was wearing a sweater which I had knit for him many years ago and which has never been featured on the blog, and second, today is Wednesday. And voila! A post is born!
It has been awhile since I last wrote a Wearability Wednesday post, so it is definitely past time to do one again. Wearability Wednesday is a (very occasional) feature in which I review a previously knitted garment and comment on its wearability. You can find all of the WW posts (in reverse order) by using this link.
I knit this sweater for Doug in 2006. This was well before I started the blog (in 2011 – my, how time flies!). It was even before Ravelry (I joined Ravelry in 2008). The pattern is from the Interweave Knits Fall 2006 edition, so I must have cast it on almost as soon as my subscription copy landed in the post.
The pattern, Spartan Pullover, is designed by Kristin Nicholas. I see that you can now download the pattern electronically from Interweave Press (there is a link on the Ravelry pattern page). The pattern called for an Aran weight wool. Instead, I used Rowan Felted Tweed held double. My very few notes for this pattern (which I input onto Ravelry in March 2008) say: “I substituted this yarn which was much thinner than the pattern called for so I used two strands of the yarn held together. I still had to go up a couple of needle sizes to get gauge.”
I think that this would be much better knitted up with a real Aran weight yarn. The Felted Tweed is a very nice, heather-y, soft-next-to-the-skin yarn, but at this gauge it isn’t very sturdy. As Doug put it today: “It doesn’t do much to block the wind.” On the other hand, it makes for a very lightweight, comfortable sweater.
I am not a great fan of the drop shoulders, and I definitely should have knitted this a size down! Felted Tweed is very hard-wearing yarn, but I think that, even held double, it really should have been knit at a tighter gauge. This loose gauge makes it less sturdy and gives the garment less integrity. I am a better knitter now than I was then, and in particular, I wasn’t very good at stranding. (Now that I think of it, this may have been my very first attempt at stranding!) I didn’t maintain the best tension, particularly in the contrast between the stockinette and stranded sections.
I like this photo, although I took it from far off so it isn’t as sharp as it could be:
Doug had wandered off to help hold up this tree:
Despite these few quibbles, this is a nice sweater and has held up well. The pattern is very easy, and written fairly old school (as one did back then). The whole pattern, including specs, charts, and schematics, fits on a page and a half. Doug thinks it is a very wearable, comfortable pullover, and well-suited for walks in the countryside. It’s old, but good.
Like much of the world, Doug and I are pretty freaked out by events. We are diligent about social distancing. (This is reinforced by the kids calling every day to make sure that we have not had contact with anyone!) We are both lucky to be able to work from home and also that we live in the countryside and so can still enjoy a walk. I am trying to keep this blog an upbeat respite from the news right now, as I think we all need a space to relax. I wish you all the best in strange times. Keep safe everyone!
Doug’s sweater looks great, and still going strong after 14 years, so that counts as a win 🙂 Glad things are relatively OK with you guys – that you are able to work from home but still get out for walks and fresh air. Stay safe and stay well!
It looks to be wearing really well. I crocheted a hat with Rowan felted tweed and it has been very roughly treated but hasn’t really pilled so I have thought of doing a bigger project with it. I wonder if they now do a bulkier weight yarn, as they do seem to change their product lines a fair bit. I can recommend New Lanark Aran weight yarn, I knit a jumper out of that and have worn it almost daily during winter and it looks the same as when I finished it.
I love the jumper and I like Rowan felted tweed – but I do understand how it might not be as durable as some other yarns. My own creation was also years ago, it did pill quite a lot and it stretched – but that may have been my own lack of looking after it as I should have. Oddly, like you, my knitting has improved quite a lot since then, as has my appreciation of hours of hard work and I look after my knits better!
Hi, the sweater is really still very nice after all those years, it’s a sign for Quality-yarn.Many greetings from Luxemburg that is rather imprisonned as the frontiers are closed.My vet is in Germany, the hoofshmith in France and the Baker in Belgium but life and knitting are going on.
I’m Always so happy to read your blog, it is interesting and instructive 🙂