Well it’s about time we got some sweater talk here, no? Seems like it’s been forever! Today’s sweaters are two near and dear to me — probably because I love wearing them both so much.

So I’ll state the obvious: I am in love with colorwork. I can’t not do it. It’s a compulsion. I love graphic motifs and patterns and pairing yarn colors. The sheer amount of possibilities makes my head swim. So I decided early on to just go with that and indulge the colorwork factor this year, and these two pieces pulled me right back into that vortex.

Meet Rockaway.

Rockaway

Indulgent indeed! This is one of those epic patterns I catch myself daydreaming about on the subway but rarely realize. It started out as an oft and intense wish for a classic Cowichan Cardigan — traditional bulky wool sweaters featuring animal and geometric patterns, knit by the Cowichan Tribes of the Pacific NW and Western Canada. Traditional Cowichan patterns are worked with thick, bulky wool and often sport dramatic shawl collars worked in garter stitch (sounds good right?) – here are some examples.

I made some changes to my inspiration but would be lying if I told you that this design didn’t come directly out of this sweater genre! Ariosa is a chunky merino/cashmere single, very lightly spun (almost roving-like) which keeps this cardigan from becoming too heavy. It’s oddly soft for something that looks more like rustic outerwear. I traded a shawl collar for a hood, cause you know, hooded cardigans are always welcome here.

Rockaway

As for the knitting – the sweater is steeked (cut) down the middle to open up the front, which means all this colorwork patterning is knit in the ROUND (intoxicating!) – if you were worried about working stranded colorwork from the wrong side, rest assured we’ll be having none of that around here.

I did a machine-sewn steek rather than my usual crochet method, because merino and cashmere are short-stapled, slippery fibers and need to be well enforced to really stay put. Actually, this was the first time I had ever worked a steek with a sewing machine. I guess it’s not so terrible after all (despite my still-strong fear of bringing machines close to my unfinished knitting – although I do remember thinking at the time that the hammering needle resembled a small battering ram).

Rockaway

In my finishing frenzy I forgot to snap some photos of the inside, but will be sure to do that when the garments stop travelling and return to Brooklyn, later in the winter.

And, Huron.

Huron

There’s a funny story about this one. Prior to giving an official name to this sweater I was referring to it as the Pinch Hit. See, there was another sweater slated for this book, back when Huron was a mere scribble in a notebook somewhere. The other garment just wasn’t working for me – it didn’t feel right and it didn’t fit in, and time was running very short. With 8 days left before my deadline, and an unflappable feeling of defiance (“I won’t lose to you, Problem-Sweater!”) I thought throwing in another, completely new, completely unworked-out sweater design was somehow a good idea. In retrospect, I’m glad I did, but… that was a rough week. Aside from calling up CE for a last minute shot of yarn, I don’t remember much from that period, other than that Huron was born from start to finish in about 6 days.

Huron

But I guess when you’re knitting yourself silly on a garment deadline, you can’t ask for something much better than a seamless stockinette pullover with a colorwork yoke. Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more stockinette (something I almost never say), the stranded portion swoops in and saves the day.

Huron

Live and learn I guess. The funny things is, I wouldn’t mind knitting this again. I didn’t feel like I really got to enjoy the knitting to its fullest because of said insane-situation (kinda like inhaling a gourmet meal way too fast to enjoy it). Round yokes are hard to beat on my list of favorite project types.

Anyway – it’s here, nonetheless, which is what really matters I guess. As for the other, sidelined sweater, it’ll have its time in the sun. Someday. Just not today.

And speaking of sweaters, there will be more sweater profiling (for the lady-folk) appearing here shortly!

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Ravelry Links:

Rockaway on Ravelry

Huronon Ravelry

*All patterns are now available as individual PDF downloads through Ravelry or through my pattern page here.*