I absolutely love sweaters. They’re my favorite clothes to wear, and some of my favorites to knit. In fact, it was need of a sweater that got me back into knitting year ago. For 8 years, I have had one favorite sweater. I’m not sure what it is about it, but it’s just perfect. I got it as a hand-me-down, and have worn constantly ever since. It has had a long, long life of service, and it’s starting to show. The edges have begun to unravel, and despite my best attempts to shore up the fraying yarn there’s just not much left to be done except keep wearing it until it falls apart (which I fully intend to do!).

Last year, I realized that the edges were getting pretty bad, and started thinking about replacing this sweater. Replacing your favorite sweater is never an easy task. It’s especially not an easy task as there are no shops that sell really nice, high quality wool sweaters. I just can’t find them. Cotten, ok. Lightweight cardigans, ok. Cashmere? Fleece? Sure. But basic, warm, wool sweaters just aren’t to be had. When I realized this, I realized what I had to do. I picked up knitting needles for the first time in years, and became obsessed.

My first sweater was intended to be the same shape and fit as this favorite. If I could have just cloned it, I would have, but the colorwork seemed like a bit much to bite off for my first sweater ever (especially as I was making it without a pattern). Instead of the fair-isle, then, I settled for intarsia. We found a leaf font that I liked online, converted it to a stitch diagram, and I was off and running. It might seem crazy that I went from a couple of scarves for Christmas gifts right into a sweater without a pattern using a technique I’d never tried, but that’s just the way I knit, and I like it. All things considered, it turned out pretty well.

The only problems showed up a few months into the wearing. I think I’ve already said that I don’t like Paton’s Classic Merino. I love the way it feels, and I like knitting with it. But it doesn’t hold its shape. When I first finished this sweater, it looked a lot more like it was intended to (i.e. slightly fitted, and not bell-shaped). Over a year of wearing, though, it has stretched. A lot. And it’s started to pill.

There are probably things about my construction that have increased the sweater’s tendency to stretch, but I think the wool has a lot to do with it, too. Maybe not, but I’m going to keep blaming the Paton’s. It did the same thing in the sweater I made for Branden. I don’t have a pic of that one today, but I’m sure you’ll see it eventually. Though I might prefer you didn’t…it’s become rather a shapeless blob.

This loss of shape over time is exactly what I didn’t want to have happen with the sideways cable sweater. You’ll note that it’s a little tight at the moment, but I’m trusting that this will stretch out quickly with use. But I’m hoping that those slip stitch ribs will keep their elasticity a little better than the plain ribs that I used in my first sweater, which is now anything but form-fitting. For the moment, it looks pretty good, no?