Bob’s deluxe sweater vest (2018 FO-26)

Bob's deluxe sweater vest (2018 FO-26)

I finished knitting Bob’s sweater vest in plenty of time for him to wear it out to dinner on New Year’s Eve, and the man could not be happier! Nor could I, honestly — this vest turned out so much better than I imagined. And that’s due to two things: a highly detailed pattern paired with some very nice yarn.

You may recall I had bought a skein of this at Stitches West last winter, and Bob basically picked it off my shelf one day and said “I want a sweater out of this.” It’s Plucky Knitter’s Yakpaca in “Pinstripe” — a 50/50 blend of yak and alpaca — and there’s no way he would wear a full sweater in such warm fibers, so thankfully what he wanted was a vest. And after poking around a bit, we settled on Churchmouse’s His Vest pattern.

My gauge was slightly bigger than the pattern gauge (I knitted the yarn on US6 needles at 4.75 sts/inch) and for such a straightforward garment, it would have been super simple to just wing it. But there were so many subtleties to how the pattern is written — very fine attention to the armhole shaping, shoulder seam placement, neck treatment — that I wanted to try to use the pattern. Since all my numbers were different, that got to be a bit of a headache (and I wound up not doing their tidy little neck selvage trick) but I’m glad I did it, and if I were to make this again, I would knit it precisely to the pattern.

Apart from the slight difference in gauge, the only change I made was to tweak the length — we wanted it to hit right at the front pockets of his jeans — and raised the neck, which meant going my own way on that whole part.

It’s a really lovely, simple garment, and a perfect case of how much yarn choice can matter. The fabric this yarn creates is so soft and elegant that I had this hanging on the door to my room for about 24 hours and I just kept staring at it having that “wow, I made that” feeling, even though it’s such a simple thing! It just looks so luxurious.

It was 70 degrees on New Year’s Eve and he wore it anyway, looking perfectly dapper. Sorry I didn’t get a photo!

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PREVIOUSLY in Finished Objects: Indigo mitts

New Favorites: Vintage cardigan jackets

New Favorites: Vintage cardigan jacket knitting patterns

When Dianna pointed out to me that the motif used on that mysterious and enticing Delta promo sweater was common in Cowichan sweaters, while that sweater is clearly not Cowichan, it got me wondering if Mary Maxim might have had something to do with it. You know, Mary Maxim — the Canadian company famous for the sporty, brightly colored, pseudo-Cowichan sweater jacket patterns of the mid-20th century and beyond. (Such as this and this and this.) Which of course sent me down the rabbit hole of their vintage men’s knitting patterns. Variously questionable Cowichan derivatives aside, there’s some really great stuff — from cardigans fit for Darrin Stevens and Mr. Rogers (honestly, that could be the pattern his mom used) to all kinds of great cable sweaters and so on. And these men’s sweater jackets I want for myself:

TOP: No. 1434BV reminds me that I’m always saying I want to knit a little bomber-jacket style cardigan; and I love the slant pockets on this

BOTTOM LEFT: No. 1449V has the Cowichan-style collar and zip front, but what I most love is the scale of the diamonds on this, or …

BOTTOM RIGHT: No. 1448V is even more graphic, and with just the little bomber collar

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Way back to school sweaters

New Favorites: For Bob (or himever!)

New Favorites: For Bob (or himever!)

My favorite thing about the Brooklyn Tweed Fall ’16 collection that came out last week are these three men’s sweaters, which I assess in terms of their Bob-ability:

TOP: Tamarack by Jared Flood is the sweater equivalent of my husband’s favorite shawl-collar sweatshirt, and very likely the next sweater I knit for him (with scaled-down pockets)

BOTTOM LEFT: Carver by Julie Hoover is spare enough in its overall cable-y texturedness that I might be able to coax him into it

BOTTOM RIGHT: Auster by Michele Wang is the sweater I hope to get him into once he’s comfortable in his Carver

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: The solace of hats

New Favorites: For him

New Favorites: For him

So that stockinette sweater I’m about to be knitting for my poor handmade-sweater-deprived husband? I’m harboring fantasies that after I finish this one, I’ll get away with knitting him something more interesting. I’d love to knit and see him in any of these—

TOP: Shire by Lisa Richardson looks especially great in this low-contrast color palette

MIDDLE: Cotswold Henley by Meghan Babin features some first-rate texture blocking

BOTTOM: Mount Robson Pullover by Jessie McKitrick, well, you know how much I love a military-inspired sweater

Might just have to knit that last one for myself.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Mega blankets

FO Sightings: Süsk’s “mantastic” cowl

Hand knit cowl and hat, man style

I feel like the best thing I can do here is say as little as possible and just leave you alone while you stare at these photos.

(Or I could whisper for the few of you who want to listen a little while staring: Süsk and Banoo is a blog I should have known about a long time ago but only recently discovered by way of having shipped her a nice pile of Fringe Supply Co. goods — to Helsinki! — and then seen her nice blog post about it. She posted the top shot on Instagram the other day and then I saw that there were more on the blog. It’s the Purl Bee’s Lovely Ribbed Cowl knitted in some gorgeous charcoal wool, along with a matching improvised hat — a gift for her father, as modeled by her boyfriend. Husband? Whatever. Check the blog for the whole story.)

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PREVIOUSLY in FO Sightings: Z’s coveted closet of handmade clothes

New Favorites: Martin Storey’s pioneers

Martin Storey's Pioneer sweater pattern collection from Rowan

How did I miss this? Apparently in July (!) a new Rowan collection by Martin Storey came out, called Pioneer, aimed right at my Midwestern-farm-stock heart. If you’re reading this and own or work in a yarn store that has a copy of this available, will you please let me know? It’s crazy-making to me that Rowan collections — much less individual patterns — can’t be bought in digital form. (Although my bank account is glad of it.) But this is one little Rowan booklet I definitely need to have.

TOP LEFT: Shelter cardigan, amazing long, cabled, pocketed cocoon to live in

TOP RIGHT: Wilderness pullover, would you look at that crazy texture?

MIDDLE LEFT: Dwell, and I will be dwelling on this until it is MINE

MIDDLE RIGHT: Crockett pullover and Quilt cardigan, both available in his and hers versions

BOTTOM LEFT: Almanac cardigan, beautifully shaped in front, giant feather in back

BOTTOM RIGHT: Homeland, that hip detail is gorgeous

You can see 14 patterns at Rowan or Ravelry. Really magnificent stuff.

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