You know I couldn't knit a Christmas for one parent, and not the other, right? At the same time I was making a shawl for my mom, I was making a sweater for my dad. I wanted to make him something special this year because over the summer he spent one miserably hot, sweaty week up here in Madison building some bookcases for our house. He worked really hard and didn't charge me a cent (all we paid for was the supplies) and the bookcases are gorgeous, so I wanted to return the favor. During my parents' stay here I was looking through the Summer 06 IK, and he pointed to the Cambridge Jacket and said "Oh, I have a sweater very similar to that from L.L. Bean. It's really wearing out, though." I don't know if he meant to be dropping a hint, but I decided then and there to make it for him. You know how hard it is to find patterns for men's sweaters that don't look completely stupid?
Here's the final result! I think it looks great on him:
The pattern was really well-written, except for one fairly significant detail: it calls for a single-crochet edging around the bottom of the sweater and around the sleeve edges. I learned the hard way that one puny single crochet edging will in no way prevent stockinette stitch from curling. In fact, it makes it worse. Once I discovered this, I tried all kinds of things to remedy the situation. I was feeling a little frantic, because after months of knitting and nearly a mile of yarn (yup!) I wanted this thing to turn out well.
The sweater wasn't quite finished when I wrapped it up. On Christmas Eve, my dad opened a package that contained one almost-finished sweater, one not-yet-installed 28" zipper, and one note of explanation. At that point my most recent fix for the edge was picking up all the stitches at the bottom and knitting a 2" hem, which I turned under and sewed up. When he tried it on, I saw two major problems, the first being that the hem made the stockinette sections flare out unattractively, and the second that the whole thing was a few inches too short. Dang. I ripped out the hem before taking pictures, but trust me, it didn't look good.
Fortunately, I went to Kentucky prepared! I had extra yarn to try yet another solution to the edge problem, and I had bought a longer zipper in case the sweater wasn't long enough.
Problem #1: The sweater's bottom edge.
Solution: I picked up all the stitches around the bottom and did about 3" of 3x2 ribbing to match up with the ribbing that was already going up the sides:
Problem #2: The curling sleeve edges.
Solution: I picked up the stitches around the sleeve edge and did about 3/4" of seed stitch.
Problem #3: The length.
Solution: Making it longer, duh, (the extra 3" of ribbing took care of that) and installing a longer zipper. This was the first time I'd ever sewed a zipper into a sweater. Difficult? No. Tedious? Most definitely!
Pattern: Ann Budd's Cambridge Jacket from Summer 06 Interweave Knits
Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Arctic Pool Heather
Modifications: Other than making everything a little longer to accommodate my very tall father, and futzing with the bottom edge (see above), I stuck to the pattern.
Designer Post: Fine Kettle
7 hours ago