theraineysisters knitting and so much more

March 3, 2017

From Sally — Christmas in March

Filed under: Updates — surly @ 1:02 pm

As promised (or was that threatened), I’m posting today about a sweater I knit my son for “Christmas.”  Let me be honest here — he asked for a sweater several years ago.  I said yes because he is extremely knit worthy.  He appreciates and wears everything I’ve ever made for him.  This project, however, had trouble coming together.

I first started it with some lovely cashmere from Carol Sunday.  I love her yarn, but the pattern he helped me choose (NOT one of hers) had issues.  Moreover, I didn’t care for it all that much.  I started it over once and then it slowly migrated to the abandoned pile.  The guilt remained.

This past September, I purchased different yarn and found a new pattern.  The yarn is Cumbria by the Fibre Company in the colorway Appleby Castle.  It’s a blend of Merino, Masham (a breed of sheep I was unfamiliar with), and Mohair.  (Susan used the fingering weight version for her Leap Year cardigan.)  I chose a pattern called Fantomas, which featured knit in sleeves and shoulder saddles with a zip up neck and small stand up collar.

It started out great.  I told Sterling I was knitting him a sweater when I saw him in October (in part because I needed to re-measure him after all this time).  “Is that still happening?” he asked.  Oh, the guilt.  But there was a snag.  He liked the yarn.  He liked the pattern.  More specifically, he liked it except for the zip up neck which is what I liked about it!

Back to the drawing board.  Sort of.  I had knit the body and sleeves to the armhole, joined them, and started some of the sleeve cap shaping.  (This pattern uses knit in saddle shoulder shaping very similar to Elizabeth Zimmerman’s.)  I took the whole thing apart and removed some body length because it looked too long when I made him try it on.  (I hope I don’t come to regret this decision but the overall body length of 30 inches specified in the pattern seemed awfully long.)  Then I rejoined it and plotted out how to rewrite the pattern to give him the crew neck he wanted.

Using Actual Gauge Graph Paper, I first drew out all of the sleeve and saddle shaping called for the in the original pattern and marked where I would have split the neck for the zipper.  Then I measured some of my husband’s crew necks and looked at some other sweater patterns to determine a basic depth and width for a standard men’s crew neck.  I roughly sketched out on my graph paper where I should take off center neck stitches etc. and hoped for the best.

I didn’t think it was working when I was starting the saddle decreases at the top of the shoulder.  However, because there was so little knitting left at that point, I decided to keep going.  If it didn’t work, I’d get a better idea of what was wrong if I actually finished.  That was the right decision because it did work.  I tried a couple of different neckline treatments, finally settling on a 1 x 1 rib in knit & seed stitch to complement the stitch pattern on the sleeve, and I had the saddle stitches flow into the neckband.

I was so excited to throw it in the mail that I took very few photos.  My husband is my reluctant model.  He and my son are close in size  but it should fit Sterling a little better.  I hope the length is right; I’m waiting to hear that he’s received it.  Sorry for the skimpy photographs, but I was very excited to get this off the needles and out to Portland, Oregon.



  1. From Susan — I love it! The neckline is perfect and I love the mixed rib treatment of the crew neck.

    Comment by lv2knit — March 3, 2017 @ 2:04 pm

  2. Looks great! I’m sure he’ll be very appreciative 🙂

    Comment by Nora — March 3, 2017 @ 6:43 pm

  3. That is gorgeous! I really love both the color and the way the sleeve pattern flows into the saddle shoulder. And thanks for the link to the knitting graph paper! That’s something I have looked for before and not found, so I’ll bookmark it this time.

    Comment by Natalie — March 3, 2017 @ 8:55 pm

  4. I like both your version and the original zip neck one. It’s gone into my favorites. I am actually knitting a sweater for myself with Cumbria in Appleby Castle. I really like the yarn.

    Comment by Mary Jo — March 3, 2017 @ 11:04 pm

  5. It’s a great, wearable sweater. Hope he sends you photos to share.

    Comment by Pam — March 4, 2017 @ 2:13 am

  6. Love those shoulders and sleeves as well as the color. He will love it!

    Comment by Kathy W. — March 4, 2017 @ 4:50 pm

  7. Just Gorgeous!

    Comment by Mary Lou Keenan — March 4, 2017 @ 5:43 pm

  8. At least you got to keep the shoulders! It is beautiful and the crew neck detail is wonderful. Thanks for taking the time to go through all the mods with us. Chloe

    Comment by Chloe — March 5, 2017 @ 9:39 am

  9. Beautiful sweater! I love the color.

    You made the right decision o the length. Unless your son is 7 feet tall. Notice how it forms a fold over your husband’s hips? Plenty long enough. And now the cashmere is for you. Whatcha gonna make with it?
    Julie in San Diego

    Comment by Julie Lanner — March 5, 2017 @ 5:18 pm

  10. Gorgeous. Love the color, it looks like your favorite comfy sweater!

    Comment by Amy — March 6, 2017 @ 7:48 pm

  11. It looks great and I think it fits your husband pretty well, even if your sons’s measurements were used. The flow of the ribbing stitches used in the saddle shoulders into the stockinette body is beautiful.
    I have made the odd late present myself. 😉

    Comment by Valerie — March 8, 2017 @ 9:38 pm

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