I’ve always liked the idea of a Cowichan sweater–big and cozy, in natural colors; but not so much the traditional designs of them, with the big animals or other representational designs in the midsection. I never thought those bands of stripes would be very flattering on me. But after making my Vintage Green sweater, and seeing how much I liked the weight of it, the urge to make one grew stronger.
And so a plan began to form. I liked how the doubled Patons Classic Wool worked out in the Vintage Green sweater, so I knew that would be the yarn. The free Bernat pattern “I’m the Dude” jacket (formerly called “His and Hers Thunderbird Jacket”) was pretty close to what I had in mind, though it was a slightly bulkier gauge. I figured I could make it work by using numbers from the Vintage Green and doing a mash-up of the patterns.
Then began the task of figuring out what kind of patterns I wanted on it. I wasn’t too keen on the geometric patterns most of them have. I spent a lot of time searching the Internet for pattern ideas, and eventually saw one that had a floral motif with vines. That really appealed to me, so I used that as the basic idea.
I spent weeks working on the charts. For the yoke pattern, I took the motif from the vintage sweater and modified it to start from the back center and scroll to the front in a mirrored image. The most challenging part was charting out the raglan seam area so that the pattern would look as uninterrupted as possible. I had to knit a few samples and tweak it before I came up with something I liked. For the motif at hem and cuffs, I wanted a smaller design, so I just made up a coordinating pattern.
I thought that once it was all charted out, it would be a piece of cake to do the actual knitting. And it was, for the most part. But once it was done, I wasn’t very happy with how tight the yoke was, or how the collar sat. The problem was that my row gauge was a lot different from the Dude pattern, which I’d pretty much followed for the yoke shaping. It just wasn’t tall enough from armhole to shoulder.
I ended up removing the collar and reknitting the yoke. Um, several times. I lost count of how many, exactly. But finally it seemed right. Then since the neckline was longer than it was originally, I had to rip out one point of the collar and add a couple of inches. But it was definitely worth it! The fit was much better, and the collar seam wasn’t exposed. This was also my first experience putting a zipper in a sweater. I was really anxious about doing that, but it really worked out nicely, and I’m glad I finally made the plunge. It did take a long time to do since I spent lots of time getting it basted in place, and then I hand-sewed it in, but it was worth it.
Trying to figure out how to attach the collar without having a really bulky seam was also a challenge, but I won’t rehash the details here, since they’re on my project page.
Project: Canadian Winter
Needles: US 10.5/6.5mm for the body, US 9/5.5mm for the garter stitch hems and collar.
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted, held double throughout, Dark Gray Mix and Aran
Now I’m ready to lounge around on the couch in my cardigan, like The Dude in his Pendleton.