Revisiting Projects + Good Yarn

Last week, I posted a photo of Mark on Flickr to show off Steven‘s lovely Clockwork Scarf, which visited us for a bit. Some people mentioned Mark’s natty jumper and hat, and I got to thinking about how old they are on how well they’ve held up. No doubt it’s due to the fact that they were made from wonderful yarns.

The gansey with skull cables was knit way back in January of 2006 using Cascade Ecological wool, which I was unsure about at the time. I’d gotten it in a trade and it didn’t feel so great in the skein, but seemed better when knit, and was FANTASTIC when washed. Mark wears this sweater an awful lot and we’ve never even had to de-pill it! The cables are plump and soft, the sweater is toasty warm. The whole thing is a success.

Eco Wool turned out to be very sturdy when knit at 4 sts. per inch, but I don’t like it any looser than that. The fabric at 4 sts. per inch is soft, supple, and has a lovely cohesive quality. I found that at their suggested gauge of down to 3 sts. per inch, the holes in the fabric were far too large.

The sweater is still a favorite, no doubt because of all the lovely details. The chain cable is from Barbara Walker’s Fourth Treasury of Knitting patterns. Here’s a swatch. I remember it requiring 2 cable needles and perseverance, since I never did manage to memorize the pattern, which is not usually a problem! The skull cable is my own invention and available as a chart. The design of the sweater, itself, is my own, following methods described by Alice Starmore and Gladys Thompson in their fisherman sweater writings.

The hat was such an accident and turned out to be his favorite. My friend Michelle sent me some scraps of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky way back when and I knit them into this hat, inspired by a hat I’d seen in a photograph somewhere, in November 2005. It’s knit flat and seamed and it was supposed to be for me, but ended up being too big. Mark snatched it and has been wearing it faithfully ever since. It looks brand new! Unfortunately, the yarn was discontinued in 2006. Fortunately, I still have a bunch of it (ha!) and it can be found kicking around for sale on Ravelry.

What Else is Awesome This Week:
* making your own lotion– This turned out so well! Just like making mayo. It looks a bit like mayo, too, but thankfully doesn’t smell like it.
* watching old movies – It is so so cold out (-21 last night!) and there’s so much snow down (feet of it) that we are staying in most of the time. Last night was Close Encounters night. I feel some Jaws coming on soon. I do so love a young Richard Dreyfuss.
* If Pippa could talk, I’m sure she’d love to tell you about her Pawz booties. They keep the ice and salt from irritating her paws, plus they’re really comfy. They’re also pretty cute. I mean, seriously!

12 Responses to “Revisiting Projects + Good Yarn”

  1. grumperina

    I have a number of Eco Wool skeins that I can’t seem to match to just the right pattern. I wonder if I went down a needle size I’d have better luck?

  2. mai

    wow, the sweater and hat really do look brand new! eco wool is a great yarn, but i agree that it’s much better at a tighter gauge. thanks for the pawz booties suggestion! i ended up buying some for billie and duncan and they’re perfect!

  3. Mama Urchin

    I love Eco Wool too, I made my son a fisherman’s sweater from it for Christmas. I agree that it’s so much better post-wash.

    I also love Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky. That same son has a sweater from it that I am still making him wear even though the sleeves are getting too short. He has a hat and mitts made from it as well. It really was a great yarn.

    Those pawz booties are also good if you ever have a dog in a cast. We once had a dog who broke her leg and in her cast slipped all over the hardwood floors. The booties gave her some traction.

  4. ChristyNotHip

    such a great sweater. And good to hear abou the Eco Wool. I’ve only used for felted clogs, so I didn’t have a good sense about how it would wear over time.

  5. misa

    That gansey is totally kick ass. Three cheers for inexpensive wool that is worth every penny. A friend recently used LB Fisherman’s Wool for a shawl and it looked really nice.

  6. Heather

    Love both knits!

    As far as old movies go, don’t forget about the young Kevin Klein. especially in The Big Chill. gotta love the short-shorts!

  7. Wollgut

    The sweater is stunning. I made a cardi using Eco wool, and it turned out way too big after washing. I’ll keep in mind to knit Eco at a tighter gauge next time. Yay! Stay warm.

  8. Sara

    Beautiful sweater, and WOW that it has held up so well. And there’s no beating a young Richard Dreyfuss :)

  9. weaverknits

    Did you know… it was a photo of this sweater, years ago, that stuck in my mind and made me choose this awesome chain link cable for my Ambergris pattern for Sanguine Gryphon this fall? You inspired me before I even had a knitting blog!

  10. Adam

    What a lovely piece of clothing! I’m a regular reader of your blog- just wondered if you’d be interested in guest blogging on our blog ( or having one of our team write a blog for you?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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