Everything Gold Must Stay

When lockdown started, it was still cool enough to wear sweaters. I alternated between wearing my tartan pajama pants with a fitted v-neck sweater and wearing leggings with a tunic. A frequent entry in my work-from-home loungewear rotation was a store-bought oversized sweater in pine green with a statement cable down the front; double moss stitch on the sides, back, and three-quarter sleeves; and a deep cowl neck. If it has any faults, it’s that it’s a loosely knit cotton with wrist-baring sleeves, so it’s not suited to particularly chilly days. I wanted a sweater with a similarly relaxed fit, but in wool with full-length sleeves.

Initially I was drawn to the idea of a sweatshirt sweater, and I even downloaded, swatched for, and started knitting Alicia Plummer’s Ease. After several attempts to achieve gauge—super important on a top-down raglan in the round—I prevailed and went on to knit most of the body before trying it on and HATING the way it looked on me. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the pattern,  nor can I say with certainty that it’s a bad silhouette for my personal fit preferences. I suspect the Malabrigo Rios wasn’t the ideal yarn choice: the 100% wool worsted yarn is a little too thick and a little too structured for the relaxed but not frumpy look I was going for, and it managed to skim too closely in front while bagging out too much in the back. To the frog pond it went.

For my second attempt, I turned to CustomFit, specifically the Catboat design. This was my first time picking a drop-shoulder instead of a set-in sleeve, and I agonized about getting the body and sleeve widths correct. After comparing the measurements on my only two drop-shoulder sweaters, I settled on an average (rather than relaxed) fit, a sleeve cast on of 8 inches, and a bicep width of 13.25 inches.

The central cable panel was borrowed from the #02 Cable-Panel Turtleneck design in Knit Simple Magazine’s Winter 2012/13 issue. Thanks go to my sister for giving me the magazine as a gift several years ago; I’m glad I could finally put it to good use!

I opted to add a purl row between the ribbing and the stockinette on the body and sleeves. This same detail shows up on my inspiration sweater, and I like how it define the separate sections, particularly since the cables don’t flow neatly out of the ribbing.

Overall I’m very happy with the fit of the sleeves, but I do wish the body had turned out longer, and I can’t help but feel like the back is a wee bit baggier than it really needs to be. I still don’t feel like I’ve exactly nailed my preferred fit with CustomFit, but I do feel like I’m getting closer each time, and in this case the length issue comes down to how the swatch was blocked (aggressively) versus how the sweater was blocked (much more gently).

I’m also on the fence about the neck. To be clear, I like a deep, snuggly cowl, but I’m annoyed that the instructions result in one that doesn’t fold at least in half. Despite multiple attempts, my picked up edge at the neckline isn’t as tidy as I’d like, and I’d prefer if the cowl gracefully concealed these sins. I have enough yarn leftover that I could un-pick the whole thing and try again, but I’m not sure I have it in me.

That said, this sweater is wonderfully warm and cozy—so much so that by the time I finished it I only got to wear it twice before it was too toasty for comfort. These photos were taken early in the morning in June, and it was a mad dash to snap as many as we could before my face melted off. It’s no secret that I hate summer and love autumn, and I’m already counting down to cooler weather.

P.S. I thought I’d try dressing like a crayon for this shoot. The look didn’t turn out half as chic as I’d imagined. Oh well.

 

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