urban aran

At last, an FO post for my urban aran cardigan!

The story of this sweater is really more of a saga, starting with getting the yarn. It's just Cascade Eco-wool in one of the natural shades (brown so dark it's almost black). Two years ago, my MIL gave me a most wonderful birthday present: a gift card to the LYS in her town in central Kansas. We were visiting for Christmas, so I went to use it right away, and one of the things I bought was 3 skeins of eco-wool for the urban aran cardigan. I'd been wanting to make one for ages. Alas, when the store owner began to wind the yarn for me, it came apart, as though someone had taken a scissors to the middle of the skein and just shredded it. No matter, she had an extra skein...but it exhibited the same problem. Whether someone had vandalized the yarn in the shop, or it had just been shipped with that terrible flaw, we'll never know. She took down my address and promised to mail me some more when a new shipment came in.

So I waited, and waited and the yarn never came. I called the shop, and she said new yarn hadn't arrived yet. I waited several weeks more and called the shop again. This time, yes the yarn had arrived, but she had forgotten to send it. Profuse apologies followed, with the promise to get it sent right away.

Still no yarn. I gave up.

Then my friend and piano partner, who is also an avid knitter and knew about this whole yarn saga, noticed the shop was having a big sale and offered to pick up the yarn for me at a discount and send it. A week later, I finally had my yarn and was more or less all set to go.

(I'm not naming or linking the shop because I don't want to damage their business. Yes, they were disorganized with this particular situation, but they carry a beautiful selection of yarn, and it's the sort of local business I want to succeed in a small town.)

It still took me about six months to get this sweater done, despite the relatively big gauge and straight forward pattern. I had gauge issues and kept getting distracted with other projects. I think the actual knitting time was only a few weeks, though.

One setback was that I knit the entire back piece twice! I had it all done and finished when I held it up to myself and noticed that those slanting cables on the sides were placed very unflatteringly, causing the knitting to pull in right at that part of my middle where the postpartum bulge will never disappear. So I frogged it down to the first couple inches of ribbing and re-knit it, moving the cables up to form a natural waist shaping. It was totally worth it.

Otherwise, I made no modifications except the ones already specified by Jared Flood, making the sweater into a cardigan (the original pattern in the Patons booklet is a pullover) and adding a couple of decreases in the collar around the shoulders so it won't flare too badly.

You can see my kludgy sewing job on the 2-way zipper. I couldn't wait for the one I'd ordered to arrive, so I just went ahead and installed the too-long one I bought at the craft store, folding over the excess and tacking it down inside the collar. It doesn't look fabulous, but it'll do. If I ever zip it up too enthusiastically and pull the zipper tab off, though, I'll have to go to the work of sewing in a new one. When/if that happens, I think I'll just use a regular separating zipper. I was so determined to have a 2-way zipper (just like Jared's! I'm such a fan girl!!)...and now I'm not so sure. The look is nice and I like the versatility of zipping open the top and bottom to accommodate my comfort level, but I have to slip the sweater on and off over my head. That's kind of a nuisance, and it's made the ribbing stretch out a little at the bottom already, something that I suspect wouldn't be a problem if I could get it on and off like a regular cardigan.

My kind husband agreed to a short photo session this morning - "short" being the operative word here, seeing as it was all of 12 degrees outside! We both went running earlier today, which wasn't so bad, but standing still in the snow to take pictures gets really cold really fast.

Pattern: Urban Aran pullover from Patons booklet Street Smart with Jared Flood's modifications to make it a cardigan.
Yarn: Cascade Ecowool, just over 2 giants skeins (I have lots leftover!)
Needles: size 9 for ribbing, size 10 for the main knitting, maybe size 8 for the collar, but I don't remember exactly
Mods: In addition to the cardigan mods, I moved the slanty side cables up 2" to make the sweater more flattering...or slightly less unflattering. There's still an annoying pooch in the front that may be from shoddy zipper installation or floppy ribbing from pulling it on over my head. Still, I love this sweater!


revknits said…
Awesome sweater - and a smart mod - if I ever do this for myself, I'll do the same.
Entre Nous said…
Love it :}
Looks great, and congrats to you and Stu for capturing the feeling of cold in the shivering pictures!

I agree with revknits; moving the slanty parts a few inches up is a smart mod. I have a bike jersey with dark slants in that position and they act like a magical torso defining device.
Jenny Knits said…
LOVE your sweater and I want to knit it so badly. I cannot find the pattern anywhere! Would you be willing to send me a copy of it?

You did a really great job on your sweater.


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