KBOW’s Comfy Cardigan

I don’t knit many sweaters. And when I do, they aren’t usually for me. But I was drawn to Pam Allen’s Comfy Cardigan from Clara Parkes’s Knitters Book of Wool. A friend knit it and recommended that it was one of her most comfortable sweaters. I’m a fan of slipped stitch and the honeycomb pattern of the bodice looked like it would be fun. It was. Twice.

First, I decided to modify the pattern to make it larger by adding honeycombs. Hmm. It seemed like a good idea, but before I was done I had a sweater with a 79 and 1/2 inch chest. That’s about two Dolly Partons and would not do. In my own defense, the sweater is unusually constructed and I did not understand exactly where I was in it most of the time. You start in the middle of the back with a provisional cast on and work to the edge of the back. Then you make a similar piece for the front. You join the pieces, and that’s where the sizing change occurs. Knit for a bit, cast off for the sleeve cut-out and then knit down to the cuff. Now back to that mid-back provisional cast-on and knit all the same sections for the other side. You pick up hundreds of stitches at the bodice and knit until it’s the length you want. A bit of ribbing, and you’re done.

After my Dolly Parton sojourn, I ripped back almost to the beginning and began again. This time I followed the pattern exactly, for the largest size. I was about 1/2 stitch per 4 inches above gauge, which ended up working out fairly well for me size-wise.

Maybe because of the somewhat lightweight worsted I used, Berrocco’s Vintage, this doesn’t have quite the “body” that might be best. The feel of it is soft and quite nice. But it isn’t doing too well with its rather dainty buttonholes, buttonband, and ribbing. Despite steaming, the buttonband and ribbing is curling some. I will tackle it again with more aggressive steaming.

Rather than shop for the perfect buttons, I used some nice wooden ones I had in my stash. They’re a bit too beefy and I’ll probably swap them out soon for something more lightweight. I’d like the sweater’s honeycomb pattern to catch the eye, more so than my button choice.

This turned to be a rather quick knit, as sweaters go. True to it’s name, it’s very comfy. The side-to-side construction assures that nothing binds.

Hill Country Hat

Clara Parkes, of Knitters Review fame, has written a number of books. This pattern, Hill Country Hats, is from her The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving This Most Fabulous Fiber.”  It teaches everything knitters need to know about the qualities of fiber produced from all variety of sheep. It’s already known by its acronymn: KBOW.

In addition to being included in KBOW, Parkes has generously released Hill County Hats as a free pattern on her website, also accessible via Ravelry. With the advice of one of my Ravelry buddies, mine are knitted in Brown Sheep Bulky (chocolate soufle, above, and creme, below). It takes an entire 125 yard skein, knitted here with 10.5 needles.  You’ll have about a golf-ball sized leftover.

Hill Country Hat is knit from the top down. Quick and fun, this is basically a two-hour project. Parkes uses a stitch pattern she calls “Hills and Valleys” to create a hat that is cleverly sectioned off  into quarters, with a swirl at the top. My one modification was to increase the number of pattern repeats by one set on the body of the hat, to give it a bit more length. Very cute. Unisex.

I am currently working on a rather large rather boring project and these hats were the perfect interruption.