Posted by: mick | November 29, 2008

FO: The Engagement Cardigan

jarrett fo

Pattern: Jarrett by Kim Hargreaves, from Rowan Vintage Knits

Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in Colorway 43 (Rusty Brown), 10.5 skeins

Needles: Addi Turbo circulars, US 3 and 4

Notions: 7 1 inch wooden buttons from Jo-Ann Fabrics

Began:  February 23, 2008;  Completed:  November 28, 2008

Mods:  Substituted twisted rib for regular ribbing on cuffs and button band.

I didn’t want to knit the button bands separately, but instead just picked up stitches from the sides as I went, hence knitting them on.  I’m sure there are many who do this and I’m not the first one to figure it out, but I just made this up as I went along.  If anyone is interested in the details, I’m happy to do a quick tutorial post.  It really made them go more quickly, ensured they were the right length, and cut down on my seaming.  All happy things.

handsome boy

I also sewed the shoulder and elbow patches on with the ends completely tacked down, so they don’t have a visible ridge like in the pattern photo.  The difference is minimal aesthetically, but an important one functionally.  Jason tends to be rough on his clothes, and so I wanted to make sure these pads would stay put and protect the parts getting the most wear: his shoulders where he carries his backpack, and his elbows from leaning while reading and writing.  I didn’t want to leave any little ends that might get caught on a heavy bookbag or sharp table edge and result in a pull.

elbow patches

shoulder patches

Notes:  This sweater has its own saga, as most of you know.  When Jason and I got engaged last Christmas Eve, it only took me about 24 hours before I was going through patterns that I thought he’d like.  Though I’ve knitted him a hat and scarf before, this was a big deal: my first sweater for him.  I thought he’d prefer the sportier options like the Cambridge Jacket, but he went right for Jarrett.  Lucky me in that this has always been one of my favorite men’s patterns.

He picked out the yarn and away I went.  I’m a loose knitter, so this ended up being done on size 4 needles.  Pretty tiny.  Jason is a big guy with broad shoulders, and so this took a looooooong time.  I knitted shawls, hats, socks, and finished a sweater of my own in between, so I’m sure this sweater wouldn’t take a normal knitter 9 months to complete.  It got to the point that

I knew it would be too warm for him to wear it in the spring, so I put it away until this fall.  I’ve been knitting pretty steadily on it for the past few months, and finally got everything together last night.  The long knitting time was due to my own problems with lots of stockinette; the pattern is well-written and very easy to follow, with lovely photos.  It’s such a great book, with many other beautiful patterns as well that are in my queue, both for Jason and for myself.

button malfunctionThe yarn was absolutely to die for.  I’ve never worked with Silky Wool before, but I will DEFINITELY be using it again.  And again.  The colors are beautiful (especially this orangey brown J. chose, which looks so nice with his fair skin and blond hair), and it is such a pleasure to work with.  The yarn looks rustic, but doesn’t feel it at all.  It has a lovely hand and a wonderful drape, and really blocks out to an amazing fabric that’s warm and lightweight from the wool/silk combo.  The nylon isn’t noticeable at all while knitting, but I’m glad it’s there; it’ll wear really well, and I can’t imagine it will pill at all.  I’m envisioning a nice striped cardigan for myself out of this stuff, for sure.

I’ll leave you with the photos.  There are more on my Flickr, and it’s definitely worth clicking over.  Jason got a little silly with the modeled shots, and we were laughing a ton while our nosey neighbors undoubtedly wondered what the heck we were doing.  He couldn’t wait to wear this sweater, and seems to really love it, which makes all of the time and effort that went into it more than worth it.  I love him so much and it means so much to me that he really does appreciate this gift.  He looks so handsome in it, and I’m really proud of the finished result; I think it’s an appropriate engagement gift (even though it’s a little late).  This will be, I’m sure, the first of many sweaters for my almost husband (fewer than 6 months to go til the wedding!).



  1. It turned out great, and I can tell he loves it! Wonderful choices, all around 🙂

  2. It looks so fantastic! I’m so glad it turned out so well, and that he loves it. I really like the elbow patches on this sweater; my husband is an elbow-leaner, too, so that might be something worth putting on the new incarnation of his sweater.

  3. It looks so great! It looks very college-professorey. What a great finance you have who is willing to go through the modeled FO photo shoot for the blog. You have definitely made the correct decision to marry that one! (And so funny how you started looking at knitting patterns after you got engaged, not at wedding venues or dresses. Sweaters!!)

  4. Hee! I knit my husband a fiance sweater before we even picked a date. Yours is gorgeous, congratulations!

  5. I saw this completed over on Ravelry b4 I came to your blog!

    I love Sikly Wool too and the color is great for J!

    It REALLY helps when someone you love appreciates your knitting. It was so worth it and can’t wait to see what you will continue to knit for him when you are married!! :o) (psst did he get to wear it in time for Turkey Day??)

    Great work Mick!!

    And I would love to see a quick tutorial on how you picked up the button band…thanks for offering!! I am all about learning!! :oD haha!

  6. I am FLOORED–this looks AWESOME!!!!!!! And you’re so right, the color really compliments J’s coloring–he’s so lucky! I really love the way the shoulder and elbow pads look, and your choice of buttons is great. Congratulations!

  7. WOW! That’s gorgeous!

  8. Holy moly! I’m blown away! Mick what detail and it looks perfectt!!!! What a handsome dude in a handsome hand knit sweater. Beautiful!

    Love mom

  9. Yay yay yay!! Love a man in a sweater 🙂 I’m so glad the blocking worked out and the finished product (sweater + almost-husband) looks great!

    The details on the sweater are amazing — I love the patches — and I bet it gets lots of wear this winter.

    I’ve done the pick-up button-band and I totally agree — WAY more efficient!

  10. aw *^_^* i love the elbow patches – very history prof!

  11. Oh what a beautiful sweater! The guy is not too bad either! You are an awesome knitter, Mick and I am constantly blown away by your talent!
    Merry Christmas to you both!

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