This one is for my darling husband (also known as He Who Finances the Wool Habit). Like most guys, he wanted a plain, simple, dark pullover. Since I totally bailed on the sport weight, plain black stockinette, cashmere turtleneck I promised him two years ago (he did finally get a commercially-knitted one for Christmas), I decided to put the lovely Beaverslide I got on sale to use and made him this one instead. The knitting of this took less than two weeks and was mostly completed on the way to and from Lake Tahoe--hence the name.
Pattern: My own. Knitted bottom up, in the round to the chest, then flat, with a three-needle bind off at the shoulders. Sleeves were knitted separately, top down, flat for the first two inches to fit into the modified drop shoulder armscye, then joined and knitted in the round to the wrist. One of the things I love about top-down sleeves, especially those knitted in the round, is that it is easy to correct the length once the whole sweater is put together. In this case, once the whole sweater was put together, I decided to add an inch to each cuff. It was simple to take out the bind off and add a few rounds before binding off again. The body of the sweater is plain stockinette, with twisted 1x1 ribbing at the cuffs and collar. The chest and upper back are done in 4x2 ribbing for interest.
The collar was an inspiration. My husband likes rolled necks, but all the sweaters I've done for him have roll necks and I wanted to knit something different. A zip neck got the thumbs up for this one. I've never done one, so I worked it out as I went. Originally, it was going to be just a straight-up collar with a zipper the whole length. But as I knitted it, that seemed too floppy, so I decided to try turning the collar in on itself to make a double-thick, stand up collar.
I had to special order the zipper once the knitting was done and I could get an exact length (thanks again, Zipperstop!). I used a jeans zipper with metal teeth because I wanted something substantial to complement the rustic yarn and manly style. I'm very happy with the end result. For the record, I pinned the zipper so that the top end was halfway up the collar, sewed it in place by hand, then rolled the collar over and sewed it down. It took a few tried to get it pinned in right, but once that was done, the sewing was straightforward.
Size: 46". My husband has a 43" chest, so I thought this would give him plenty of ease, but I neglected to factor in his really buff shoulders, which take up a lot more room than I figured. So this is a more fitted sweater than I intended, but I still like the fit. More importantly, he considers it "perfect."
Yarn: Beaverslide merino/mohair in Natural Black. This was labeled 2-ply worsted, but I would call it an aran-bulky weight. My gauge was 16 stitches to 4 inches in stockinette on size 8 needles. This yarn was on clearance because it had an unusual amount of straw in it, even for a rustic yarn. Picking it out was a pain, and even after multiple pickings, I didn't get it all out. I expect we'll be picking it out for years to come. But the yarn is every bit as gorgeous as every other Beaverslide yarn I've tried, and bloomed into a soft, blurry, dense, warm fabric. This is the sort of yarn that gets better and better with age and wear and washing and lasts for years.
Needles: KnitPicks Options cirs, sizes 7 and 8.
Thoughts: Straw aside, I really enjoyed knitting this. Even though the design is simple, the yarn made the knitting a pleasure. I may have to buy some more Beaverslide in another color to make him something else!