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Dear friends,

How’s the weather where you are?

I would tell you how the weather is in Paris, but I don’t know. Paris refuses to pick a season. 

This morning, I stepped outside without a jacket and my chest hair froze. This afternoon, the sun is melting the red off my geraniums. In ten minutes, it may snow or it may rain baguettes. I checked the forecast on my French weather app and for the next seven days it’s just a picture of a guy shrugging.


There is so much uncertainty outside–what with the weather, the impending Olympics, and control of the French government up for grabs–that I am very content to stay inside and knit.

The project du jour is a sweater I started in…uh…let’s see…2018. Yeah, 2018. I even wrote about it for Modern Daily Knitting.

It’s the “Mitchum” cardigan by Martin Storey, from Rowan’s Journeyman collection. Bold and daring, yet cuddly. (Much like my ideal man, but when you’re done with a cardigan you can stuff it in a closet and nobody calls the police.)

“Mitchum” Cardigan by Martin Storey. From the Rowan Yarns Collection Journeyman. Photo by Moy Williams.

In 2018, I got the yarn—Rowan Felted Tweed Aran—and knit a swatch. Then some things happened. Now that all of us—self, yarn, swatch, and pattern—are six years older and four thousand miles from where we started, it seems like high time to move along to step two.

Let me tell you, knitting myself a sweater from somebody else’s pattern is quite the adventure. I have tried to do it before, always without success.

My proportions have nothing in common with the standards used by most pattern designers. So I’ve always either turned out plain vanilla pullovers cooked up from formulas by Elizabeth Zimmermann and Barbara Walker; or I’ve altered patterns to the point at which they bear no more resemblance to the originals than I do to Catherine de’ Medici.

Enough of that. I don’t just want a cardigan, I want Mitchum. And I intend to have it.

As I write this, I’m nearly finished with the second of the sleeves. I knit a new swatch, blocked it, measured it every which way, and threw myself right into the first sleeve before I could go off the boil or get distracted. 

So far, so good. Inspired by a talk on pattern sizing that the redoubtable Kim McBrien Evans gave to my Patreon group, I’m tweaking the pattern as needed to suit my shape without abandoning all the things that made me love Martin Storey’s design in the first place.

Mitchum is worked flat, in pieces, and the shaping of the sleeves is done while maintaining the cable pattern. This has led to more than a few moments of puzzlement, as the pattern does not hold your hand through the process.

However, I must say that after all those months of living in a fog, it feels good to think. I swear that this project is helping to repair my brain.

When it comes time to sew everything up, these shaped cables will come together at the inside arm and create an almost baroque complexity that I frankly adore. Worth every second of extra effort.

I was about three-quarters of the way through sleeve one when I began to regret that I hadn’t worked both sleeves at once, to ensure that they would be absolutely identical. Ah, well. There was no going back. Happily, I’d kept notes about how each increase had been worked–here with a knit front-and-back, there with a lifted increase, and so forth.

So the second sleeve, which is about to receive its cap, matches its elder twin most gratifyingly. 


Some projects just feel good—and this is one of them. Even if the sun sticks around and the thermometer (and the city) begin to boil and smoke, this Aran-weight sweater is going to help me keep my cool. 

I’ll let you know how it all goes. The sweater, the weather, and the city.


Meanwhile . . . A Word from Kay and Ann

When we were dreaming up summer fun here at MDK, Franklin Habit immediately came to mind. His knowledge of all things knitting is fascinating, encyclopedic; if you have been following his Letters from Paris here on MDK, you know what we mean. Don’t miss Franklin’s first-ever lecture for you on MDK, coming July 12 on Zoom. Register here. It’s going to be great.

About The Author

Franklin Habit has been sharing his brainy and hilarious writing and illustrations with the knitting world since 2005.


  • Oh! What gorgeous cables! A very bold yet cuddly cardigan. Always a good day when I see your name in my inbox, Franklin. Many thanks to you and MDK.

  • “Cathy” hoot! Only 2008? Thanks for another gem of a letter.

  • So hilarious, Franklin. Especially the comparison to Catherine de’Medici. Love the sweater. So rich with texture. But not for the faint of heart! Thank you for the gorgeous Eiffel Tower photo. Only the French would know how to place that Olympic logo j-u-st so.

  • I ADORE the way Franklin writes! Always clever and hilarious observations. If I lived in Paris, I would make friends with Franklin immediately. What a FUN human!

  • Those are some JUICY cables Franklin.
    It’s perfect!
    Happy clicking.


  • Love franklin’s humor. Always brings a smile if not a full-on laugh.

  • How many of us shrugged off sleep, opened our various devices, saw “LETTERS FROM PARIS”, and knew instantly it was going to be a good day?‍♀️ here!
    And then an opportunity to experience Franklin and the history of knitting. Day just moved to GREAT!

    • Dear Mr. Habit,
      I so enjoyed reading about your adventure in regards to the “sweater”. My Mother loved to knit and made some wonderful friends when she took lessons long before she had me. I do several needle arts but sadly I never had her teach me to knit. So too all who could learn from a parent, do it and do it now. My most treasured items are her knitted items. I remember her words as she worked on them “every stitch says I love you”. My favorite items are hats with ear flaps and a pom pom on the top. I am from back east and in the past I had several Mink coats, I not longer wear them. I’m turning them into toys for cats. These warm hats tied under my neck and had two strips of angora in bright white. I so ache to have more of her knitted gifts from her heart.
      Please keep up your joy and know someone will always love you’re efforts. I am sincerely with respect, and understanding.

  • Thank you, Franklin! Your letters are great. Always good to hear from you. ❤️

  • Sitting here in lovely 65 ish cool morning air where last week it was 97 38C (Thank you Canada for sharing!) in a country that also has a few things upcoming and feels unstable. Most importantly I feel every stitch of the cables with you- even after those years of the wait for it to take form. empathy thru Cabled Counterpane by NG in my past. Enjoy !

  • Great column as usual!

  • I love your sweater. It’s gorgeous, I can’t wait to see you model it for all of us. I always enjoy starting my day reading your post. You’ve also inspired me to pull out a project that has been in a bin for probably as long as yours. It also is a Rowan cardigan in felted tweed. I have all the yarn and pattern book. All over color work. I haven’t even swatched yet. No time like the present!

  • Loved every part of this letter. Thank you, Franklin, for starting off my weekend with a smile and glorious cables!

  • Will the cuffs and hem be bound off using the tubular method, or will you follow the pattern? I guess I’ll have to wait and see. Riveting stuff.

  • Always a chance to learn and chuckle when Franklin sends a letter!!

  • Always enjoy reading your letters!
    You’ve inspired me to pick back up a sweater I started in 2021 – it’s beautiful wool and it was 103 here 2 days ago

  • Franklin is as always predictable and funny self and BTW thanks for popularizing this cardi! The cables and the pockets signal classic cardigan style, then shirt-like line of buttons running right up – well, that’s OK and a surprise collar shape at the top – something a bit intriguing but nice!

  • Maybe there’s a little resemblance around the eyes. It is so hard to even find men’s cabled cardigan patterns. One of my sons enjoys my knitting him a sweater every Christmas, and I usually do have to design one, because there aren’t many out there. This looks like a good one. It’s been a pleasure to get a letter from Paris, as always. I hope the Olympics are kinder to Paris than they were to Atlanta.

  • This cardigan is gorgeous! That said, my hands hurt just looking at it!

  • Good luck with the cardigan! Always a joy to read your letters.

  • Franklin, your sweater is gorgeous! In just the past few months I’ve branched out of my usual knitting style, The Pattern is Your Friend – Do Not Deviate From It Or All Will Be Lost, to experimenting a little. I saw a cute ribbed halter-ish top in one of my favorite online shops, and decided I could make one myself! So I’m adapting a pattern. This means I’ve had to figure out how to increase in 2×2 ribbing without creating weird branches. I’m proud to say I’ve done it! I did have to think about what I was doing for every increase (am I adding a knit or a purl?). And yes – how I did the increase mattered too (lifted increases worked the best). It is incredibly satisfying! I hope to see pics of you out and about in that gorgeous garment.

  • Franklin, I simply love your letters from Paris! Thank you for sharing yourself!

  • What a magnificent sweater! I’m certain working your way through it complexities will be most therapeutic. Why ? Because I am similarly passing through brain fog which precluded my knitting for six months.. finally I am knitting a basic sock for myself – no extra gifting progress. And, at last the fog is lifting! I wish you well.

  • I’m glad you can think again. Also, I’d forgotten that I need to put down my tea when I read your missives. I choked on the joys of a good cardigan.

  • Nice..nothing like escaping from the world for awhile

  • Franklin, your writing is so humorous! I would love to see baguettes raining from the sky! The sweater is so wonderful. Way beyond my area of expertise, but I can admire the talent. Thanks for another great letter from Paris.

  • When you said you were working the first sleeve I thought “oh no! He should be doing both at once so they match perfectly.” I usually do the sleeves first so they’re done and they match. For whatever reason, doing sleeves last makes the project seem like it’s taken 10 years to complete. When the sleeves are already done and the body is finished, it’s like the angels sing and rainbows come out!

  • I don’t know Franklin. If you finish that sweater and then toss it in the closet, I believe that you will see flashing red and blue lights and hear that distinctive wee-oo wee-oo wee-oo as the gendarmes come stomping up your stairs because after all of your careful attention to detail, it would be a crime for you not to take Mitchum out on the town. Just be sure to pick a chest hair freezing day as we would not want you to melt like the red on your geraniums!

  • Well, you and Catherine do share a certain look of equanimity 🙂 Could she have also been a knitter? I look forward to a photo of you modeling the cardigan. Veni, vidi, vici!

  • Mmmmmm…. Cables…Stunning cables

  • I am so looking forward to see you working this sweater, I understand why you love it, it is magnificent

  • This is the only man-sized cardigan in my Ravelry favorites (which has many, many patterns). Often think about making it for my son. I usually stick to baby sweaters and blankets. Maybe….

  • So excited for the Fun with Franklin event. It makes my day when Snippets includes a Letter from Paris!

    • XX XX

  • Franklin you are feeling better, I can tell. Your humor is sharp and uproarious. I love it.
    Gorgeous sweater. Heavy?
    I just did a finish up on a donated cabled men’s cardi that weighed 20 lbs at least. I knitted & affixed button bands (& buttons) and collar, then hefted it back to our Senior Center shop for sale. Paris is an unusual city. My friend says it “smells” in summer! What day you? Happy your brain fog has lifted. Best regards, Susan

  • Actually, I would argue some nose similarities between you and old Cath. One never knows…

  • I laughed at the “Cathy”. You do have some similar features, though; same eye color. But, she has a weak chin, while you have a strong one.

  • When I worked at the yarn shop, we used to warn people that Rowan patterns used to take the occasional nap.

  • The texture! That’s going to be one handsome sweater.

  • Hello Franklin,

    It has been a pleasure to reading your article about Aran knitting. I have a hand knitting business in Scotland. I have just taken over Crana Knits in Donegal Ireland which was owned by Rosaleen Hergaty. She was the only owner of the well known Irish cottage industry. I have been lucky that she has taught me how to write Aran patterns writing. I would like to learn more about your work. My website is being upgraded however I shall share this with you once it’s done.

  • Oh my Dearest Franklin! That closet line will find a place in my bag of snark, without a doubt! Finding out about your upcoming class! I don’t even knit anything but hats and scarves yet, but still will attend because I have been reading and loving your letters since back when you were published by a yarn company in New York.

  • So happy knitting is bringing you out of the fog. I know that awful drag out feeling and trying so hard to get back to the things you love. You made my day knowing I am not the only one.

  • Loved, loved,loved this article. And Franklin. Gorgeous work on that sweater too. Grey tweed is just the ticket.

    Thank you for sharing this new, to me, knitterly person.

  • Dear Franklin…
    What serendipity to have found you on my “feed” today. Not only was Modern Daily Knitters recently recommended to me, but I just finished a Martin Storey sweater with the most beautiful eyelet and cable pattern.
    Thankyou for sharing your impressions of this handsome cardigan…quite an ambitious project.
    I very much enjoyed your Parisian missive, and will subscribe for more Letters.

  • Sounds interesting and I would love to see the finished sweater. I knit but would rather crochet. Making a sweater (crochet) now.
    Thankyou for sharing.

  • Franklin, I truly enjoyed this page! I haven’t smiled that much in a while! Your comedic wit is heart-warming, and I guess the joke’s on me, ‘cuz I don’t even knit! But, not for lack of trying You would not be proud! Anywho, I will check for tutorials; maybe you will be the one who saves my knitting career! Here’s hoping!

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