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September 07, 2005

Fisherman Sweater

I've been more diligent about working on Zipo. The back is done and the front is up to the division for the neck. I should have the body done before the weekend (I'll post pics at that point -- really, do you want to see more rev st st?). Then all that's left are 2 very simple sleeves, basic neckline finishing, and that's it. I'll definitely hit the deadline of being done before I leave for Nantucket and Cape Cod October 8th.

Knitting miles of st st does give your brain plenty of time to wander though, and so I've been thinking what I might want to make next. I'd love to make a traditional Fisherman Sweater.


I've been thumbing through AS's Fishermen's Sweaters and a few pop out at me -- Inishmore and Stornoway in particular.

Then of course there's Gladys Thompson's Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys & Arans. I wish the pictures were better but they're original vintage pictures so I really shouldn't expect more. There are lots of stitch patterns in the book and I'm intrigued by the thought of designing a one-of-a-kind sweater.

I also want to check out Beth Brown-Reinsel's Knitting Ganseys. From what I've read this would be right up my alley as it teaches you how to design a gansey rather than giving you line-by-line pattern instructions.


Now here's where I'd have to stray from tradition. A traditional 100% wool will not do. And while I'm in love with the thought of doing this in a traditional 5-ply gansey it's not going to happen.

And now, for the crazy part. Is it nuts to try and use something like a Cashsoft or Cashmerino?

Typically these sweaters are knit tightly -- will that kind of yarn react properly to being knit so tightly?

I know merino has less stretch than some other wools -- will the cables go limp and not pop like they should?

I think the only way to answer this is to do a swatch and see how they turn out. And as always, I'm open to everyone's thoughts so if you have some experience here please let me know!

September 7, 2005 in project ideas | Permalink


Hi- I just found out you were hosting the River knitalong, I hope it's not too late to join?? I just cast on last night with misti alpaca lace in the color sea mist. I am loving it so far! I'm calling it my 6 dollar stole! =)

Posted by: keri | Sep 7, 2005 12:31:27 PM

Hey Jody, I'm doing a sweater in DK cashsoft, with a section in cable rib. I think it looks quite nice and crisp enough for my taste, though the whole sweater is not cabled. I'll try to take a photo and email it to you.

Posted by: Carol | Sep 7, 2005 12:40:59 PM

Go for designing your own pattern! I haven't used the cashsoft or cashmerino - but I know the wool/cotton has a nice feel and beautiful stitch definition.

I knit an AS Gansey (with her yarn) and had the worst time getting the gauge - I think I went down 3 needle sizes - usually I am right on gauge with the suggested needles. Later I found out that AS knits very tightly at the very tips of her needles. In the end, though, the sweater was beautiful.

Still haven't started River - too many UFOs to catch up on.

Posted by: Beth | Sep 7, 2005 1:36:24 PM

Ithink either the cashsoft or cashmerino would look great. I'm making a sweater with cables in Beroco Pleasure which is a cabled yarn with mainly angora, some merino and just a bit of nylon (to give strength to it) I think as long as you have some stretch it will look great, you don't need a lot.


Posted by: Jayme | Sep 7, 2005 2:11:46 PM

The only thing about cashmere blends is that they just don't seem to hold up well to wear. I've made two sweaters in DB cashmerino and had them pill on the first wearing. Sort of disappointing. YMMV of course!

Posted by: Liz | Sep 7, 2005 2:54:25 PM

i also struggle with the whole 100% wool issue next to my skin. softer wools are gorgeous and personally i would go for a cashsoft yarn...however like someone else has mentioned previously they are prone to pilling. i'd say to use an alpaca - but then the stitch definition won't be as strong.

i guess i've been no help at all!

Posted by: jacqueline | Sep 7, 2005 5:05:38 PM

Now don't get me started on this topic because I might just not stop! I've spent so much time on this issue - sweater for guy/traditional aran/yarn selection/gauge issues!

I'm making a baby aran in Wool/Cotton. I am surprised at the weight of the sweater! Cotton is much heavier, and with a lot of cabling you use a lot of yarn and it makes for a heavy, drapey sweater. Not a problem for a baby, but for a guy - could be an issue.

I think the traditional yarns tend to be stiff and all wool because the cables stand out and the sweater wears better than the softer blends. Plus that's all there was when they were designed! Would he tolerate Cascade 220 - it really feels so soft knitted up and the cables really pop?

I made a cabled baby sweater in DB Baby Cashmerino. It was lovely, cables looked gorgeous, it was lightweight, soft. Don't know about the wear, but that might be an option (or the worsted-weight version).

I agree with Beth, gauge is always a challenge with AS, so swatching is key. Best of luck!

Posted by: Mary Beth | Sep 8, 2005 9:18:30 AM

I'm going to put in a big plug for using Karabella Aurora 8 for his sweater. It's Merino wool - wool of choice for my Moxie who is extremely anti-itch - has great stitch definition, and comes in beautiful colors. I feel confident that it will hold up to wear, and if you act quickly, you can order some from Webs and part of the proceeds will go to Katrina Relief (there's a win-win).

I am a huge fan of Cashsoft and DB's cashmerino's, but for a sweater that is going to be worn by a boy and worn well, I think 100% merino is a better bet.

Posted by: Julia | Sep 8, 2005 6:52:34 PM

Sorry if I'm not doing this right, but I got tagged, and then tagged you. The questions are my on blog..........

Posted by: christine | Sep 9, 2005 4:19:41 PM

You're going to do a swatch anyway, so give it a try. I don't see why it wouldn't work.

Posted by: pioggia | Sep 9, 2005 5:11:12 PM

Hmmmm. No clue. BUT, I wish you a good time at it!

While I know it's not that exciting of a yarn, my cable cardi in Encore looks lovely. I used Colorspun, to get more of a natural look.

Posted by: LauraA | Sep 9, 2005 6:21:26 PM

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