Old Friend Is the New Best Friend
This is my Old Friend Pullover praise post, and it’s also an important public service advisory:
Finish a sweater.
If you have to start a whole new sweater in order to finish one, do that. You will not regret it. But if you’re a knitter with one or more partial sweaters stashed in a project bag in a dark corner of your closet and/or heart, fish one of them out, and finish it. It’s so, so satisfying. All of a sudden, a sweater appears!
Last spring, I had only finished the back of my Old Friend Pullover when I got sidetracked to make . . . I don’t even remember what! Dishcloths! Temperature blankets! Honeycomb Scarf and all things honeycomb related!
When I went back to Old Friend, in the heat of the summer, it seemed like there was a whole lot of wool, and a whole lot of knitting to go. But I knew I wanted to wear it to Rhinebeck, so I got back on the horse.
As I worked, I worried, in a gentle way, about how it was going to fit. I always have doubts about how a sweater is going to fit. Don’t you? Doesn’t everybody? Fit is the elephant that is always in the room with us knitters. We love knitting sweaters, so we try not to think about it or talk about it much, but it’s always a leap of faith. A sweater can fit well, in the technical sense of being the correct size for your body, and still not be the fit you want, you know?
I have gotten better at knowing the shapes and lengths and eases that work for me, but I can never know for sure until I put on the sweater.
But it all worked out.
Photo by J. Bergmann. Resting mom face by me.
I love the fit. It’s plenty roomy, but it skims, it doesn’t engulf.
The shaping of the shoulders seems to be the magic key—Erika really nailed it. I love the way it feels, the overall drapey mood.
The pattern is Erika Knight’s Old Friend Pullover from MDK Field Guide No. 20: Atlas. I made the 5th size.
The yarn is Atlas, and the shade is Truffle, which is a near-black, slightly darker than it appears in these sunny photos.
I made two modifications.
I knit the sleeves shorter than prescribed for my size. I just eyeballed them, but they came out great— it’s better to be lucky than good. I like to scrunch my sleeves up to the elbows, so it’s important not to have more sleeve than I can scrunch.
I also made the funnel neck about two inches shorter than the pattern specified. This is super easy to do. You just stop sooner after you’ve finished working the neck shaping.
Favorite Things About This Sweater
The shoulders. Somehow, the shaping makes me feel all collarboney. (The perfect backdrop for a Statement Necklace, if one is so inclined.)
The neck. Coziness without tightness: the jaw is grazed but not gripped, and gentle folds of fabric glide over any other gentle folds a person might have.
The pocket! It is delightful. The backstitching on the outside worked out better than I could have imagined.
The long side vents. Without the vents, a sweater this long might have a tendency to cup the hindquarters, if I can say that on a family website.
This sweater has taught me that the details make such a difference. I’m so grateful for Erika’s vast experience designing garments that elevate a look from slouchy comfort to stylish spark. I feel like a million bucks in this thing.
Look for me and my Old Friend all over New York City this fall. We will be inseparable. I feel like I need new sunglasses or boots or something, just to keep up with the sweater.
And remember to finish a sweater. I’m begging you!