Back in November 2012, I wrote a little about my quest for the perfect fisherman-cabled sweater, or Aran sweater, and how that desire was one of the key reasons I learned how to knit in the first place. Aran sweater patterns were the first thing I searched Ravelry for, fantasized about, all of that. Two years after that post, I knitted my Amanda cardigan (along with so many of you) and I’m very happy to have it. But has that fulfilled my dream of a fisherman pullover? For obvious reasons, not. In the few years since I’ve been looking, several great patterns have come along, and there’s also that amazing cache of vintage booklets I was given awhile back. (Which I just realized includes the vintage Bernat pattern shown at #5 in my original quest post! How did that escape my notice at the time?)
You know I have a billion cable sweaters favorited at Ravelry at this point, several of which fall into my narrowly defined fisherman-cable set, but so many more I run across are out of print or otherwise inaccessible, or simply not quite right. The only thing that’s really going to scratch this itch is a true classic. Harrogate and Samantha, for example, are both terrific sweaters — either of which, in fact, would look less linebacker-ish on me than the ones pictured above — but without the allover texture, they just don’t give me the feeling. Woolwich is dreamy, but lost in an older Rowan publication I don’t have the good fortune to own. This free Lion Brand pattern is also good, but the drop shoulders combined with all the cabling would look horrendous on me. And so on. So the hunt continues, but for now these are the best candidates I’ve found:
TOP: Marsellus by Whitney Hayward is brand new and perfectly classic, with columns of braids flanking a panel of honeycomb, and the critical folded neck band.
MIDDLE: Grit by Kim Hargreaves and Honeycomb Aran by Patons are closest to the iconic Steve McQueen sweater — the key difference between them being Grit is set-in sleeves and Honeycomb is raglan. I slightly prefer the raglan, which is also a free pattern, and downloadable, while Grit is trapped in a book. (Then again, either one is so similar to the Amanda cardigan and the LL Bean sweater already in my closet that knitting either one anytime soon seems a little silly.)
BOTTOM: Stonecutter by Michele Wang is less classic, more contemporary. Plus I have tried on the sample and it is guilty of having the linebacker effect on me. But I want so desperately to knit those cables I might be able to convince myself I don’t care.
In the end (and despite the lack of charts) that vintage Bernat one may win out.