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Big warm sweater takes chill off winter

January 22, 2010
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One of my favorite knitting pattern books is Rowan’s Bigger Picture.  I was very lucky to find a copy on eBay, because at that time the book was out of print.  It seems that it may be back in print.  Just did a quick search and found it for sale at the Yarn Market.

I have already made two patterns from the book.  Each sweater was a present for one of my daughters.  This time I made one for me.  I chose the pattern “Fergus” which can be seen in the picture below or a larger version here.   Gentle readers of this blog know that I rarely stick to the pattern, especially when it comes to the color choice.  The one in the book was knit up in an off white.  Ho-hum.  The Stitching Bee had Rowan Big Wool on sale and I chose 3 colors which I felt complimented each other nicely.

I love working with this yarn. It is made of pure merino wool. Because it is so chunky, one uses very large knitting needles.  The sweater was knit up on size 17 needles.  The totally number of stitches cast on for the sweater was 92 (this was both front and back, because I knit it in the round).  I have knit hats with more stitches than this.   Because the wool is chunky and the needles are large, the knitting goes very, very fast.

I like to knit pullover sweaters in the round, even though everyone tells me this is not correct and the sweater will not hang right.  It’s just way faster and less sewing. Call me a rebel.

To give you an idea of just how large a #17 needle is, take a look at the photo on the left.  There are 3 sizes of needles pictured (ignore the needle on the top, it is the other half of the circular needle). The sizes are from left to right #8, #10 and #17.  When I knit sweaters with “normal” weight wool, I use the #8 needles.   The #17 remind me of the large black pencils I used in grade school when learning to print.

I made two modifications to the pattern.  First, I tapered the waist in a little bit as I felt the sweater would be too bulky.  Second, I did not knit the collar in the 3 x 2 rib pattern, but rather knit the entire collar in stockinette. This means that when I turn down the collar, it shows the purl stitches.  I like the contrast of the purl stitches against the knit stitches of the sweater body.

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