Thursday, July 17, 2008

Because it really is... The Perfect Turtleneck

(No modeled pictures, sorry... have you seen the weather???)

I usually take (or wear) this sweater to my Cables 101 classes. It's always admired, and I'm often asked about it.

(horrible pic, sorry, having camera trouble)

It's a Paton's pattern, from a book called Urban Neutrals, and it's called, aptly enough, the Perfect Turtleneck. And it really is.

It's chunky and a quick knit, and it's beautifully tailored so it really doesn't add bulk in the way that you'd think a chunky cabled sweater would. Tons of fun to knit, and fab to wear. Another knitter's version, with a different centre cable can be found here. Ravelry page is here.

It seems like the pattern booklet might be out of print, but there's at least one online store that still lists it. I've also heard that the booklet can be found in some of the larger, older yarn stores that have older stock. (In Toronto, that would be Romni.)

There's a swatching story connected to this. (There is for many of my projects, have you noticed that?) I swatched for this three times before I decided on the yarn. The pattern calls for Paton's Up Country, which is their since-discontinued Lopi clone. My LYS at the time (I knitted it 6 or 7 years ago) didn't stock that yarn, so I tried two others before I simply went back to the source and used actual Lopi. The challenge with super bulky yarns (13 sts per 4 ins) is that they're often very lofty, and they really don't have the substance I wanted to stand up to the cables and show them off. I was getting the gauge right all along, but it didn't look right. It was absolutely worth it the trouble, I love this sweater. So much that I'm thinking of doing one in a different colour.

It's very unusual for me to work a garment in the colour of the sample in the pattern. I'm slightly sheepish about it in this case, precisely because I'm always encouraging people to personalize their garments, and I wear it so often to classes. I really wanted to work it in a warm, creamy winter white "aran" colour, but I blame my choice on the colours available in my LYS at the time. The light grey is lovely to show off the stitch work, and it is a good colour on me. So yes, the next one will either be the perfect aran colour, or in black.

I will be honest, it's not the softest of sweaters... but I rinse it with a good old cream hair conditioner and wear a tshirt under it.. My particular version is NOT for the wool-sensitive. It could be knitted out of steel wool, I'd still wear... it really is perfect.

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