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I Knit My Dad A Sweater

Dear Ann,
So glad to hear you’re back. Now you have a week of early morning wakeups (yours and others’) to look forward to, you lucky thing.
I’ve been hearing that ‘momMomMOM’ sound, too. Must get my hearing checked out. What I don’t understand is, why is it so high-pitched? Is that strictly necessary? Also, feeling very fond of the school cafeteria right about now. I love how they take care of that whole lunch thing. The lunch is killing me. We have downgraded the Lunch Selections several times over the past two weeks. Right now we are at Cold Pop Tart Grade. I don’t know what the next lower grade is, but I’ll let you know when I find out. (Hamster Treats are loaded with the omega-3s. Just saying.)
Our trip back from Omaha was uneventful, barf-wise. But while in Omaha, a 24-hour virus put the “retch” back in “wretched” for our little crew. On Wednesday night, after both Carrie and my Moist Moisturized Mom had fallen victim to gale-force flu, I started to feel that fever ‘n ague feeling. I spoke to myself quite sharply: “Buck up girl! You’ve got a Log Cabin Workshop to teach tomorrow morning!” Believe it or not, this worked.
The log cabin workshop was really fun. But today I’ve got other business to deal with. The business of my immortal soul.
A Take-Me-Now Moment
When I get to the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter inquires ‘what are YOU doing here, missy, hmmm?’–I’ll be ready with my answer. Because I knit my dad a sweater. Yes, my taciturn, verging-on-crotchety old man (“verging”–this is “verging”?) has a custom-tailored, made-to-order, perfect-in-every-detail, wool raglan cardigan (with pockets as requested), made by his loving firstborn girl. Let’s take a look, shall we?
News flash: the Marlboro Man is 71, never actually smoked, and he can WORK a cardigan, people.
Pattern: a vintage Patons pattern from the mid-70s, obtained through the everlasting kindness of Yvonne, who searched her vast archives and came up with exactly what Dad requested.
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran, in a shade I believe is called ‘Shark’.
Buttons: Italian leather, from Tender Buttons.
Modifications: After Dad’s first fitting (okay this was a year ago), I added moss-stitch gussets to the sides so that the cardi would be roomy enough to cover a flannel shirt. Dad would never wear a sweater indoors. Through his many winters on the Plains, he has rarely worn anything outdoors that is heavier than a leather jacket. This cardi is going to be Outerwear. I’m really pleased with my Camp Fire Girl problem-solving abilities. The gussets were easy enough (pick up along one front edge, moss stitch for 4 inches, seam to the corresponding back edge), but I had to figure out how to make the already-knitted sleeves wider at the top to fit into the gusset-enlarged armholes. The solution? Triangular gussets under the arms. They look completely intentional, elegant even. Yay me!
Dad is considering a career as a Rowan model.
More catching-up, soon!
Love, Kay



  1. Great sweater — and it looks like a perfect fit for the wearer, both in size and style.
    It’s a wonderful Christmas-y feeling when something you spent a lot of time and brain power on actually fits and is appreciated.

  2. nice! i suppose Dad wasn’t into the whole arm-lift show-off-the-gussets modeling thing? looks like a perfect fit!

  3. Wow. That sweater looks fabulous on your dad. Hope he loves it!

  4. Your Dad does a fine job of modelling the sweater but he really doesn’t look like a man who’d put up with some of the Rowan – um – accoutrements.

  5. LOL Kate! If Dad asks me for another sweater, I’m getting a Kilt Agreement up front! He has the legs for it, too.
    xox Kay

  6. Kay, that is one hard-core serious man-cardigan. I am immensely impressed.
    Plus, your Dad is a hunk.

  7. Kay, that is one hard-core serious man-cardigan. I am immensely impressed.
    Plus, your Dad is a hunk.

  8. The Dad Sweater is fantastic! Although you make me feel a tad guilty for not knitting my dad the sweater I said I knit for him. Yay for no puke log cabins. That’s really the only way to knit them, imo.
    I’ve missed you!!!!!!! L, C

  9. You are so lucky you didn’t get sick. Hubby got it and he is still milking it for all it is worth.
    Your father’s sweater looks wonderful on him… love the hat, too. Looks like perfect outerwear attire. Glad you’re back.

  10. I can see that it fits him without him having to contort himself into weird positions, so that lets him out as a model then. It’s a good dad colour, with good dad buttons and you did well. Me, I’d have thrown it into a pile when faced with the designing of the gussets.

  11. handsome dude in the dad-i-gan. welcome home!

  12. Your Dad looks mighty nice in the sweater. Very nice job! Sounds like you put a lot of thought into making him the perfect sweater πŸ™‚

  13. I’m just impressed that you F’d and O that you’ve been working on for over a year! I had forgotten about that sweater, but now I stand in awe. That must have taken some serious ball-age. He’s handsome and rugged and all, and suitably not small to match. You get on with yo bad self.

  14. Oh Kay! The Dad sweater is super fabulous and seems to suit him just perfectly. I’ve been wondering what ever happened to it. I am a sucker father gifts. I must be hormonal, though, because the very sight of your custom knit sweater for your father nearly brought tears to my eyes!
    Exquisite work, as usual!

  15. OK, your pops is a stone fox and dude knows how to work a cardigan. And you go, you with the fancy-schmancy design modifications. Happy New Year (oh, and p.s. the next stop down from pop tart lunches is sneaking out of the house in the morning before your teenagers can wake up and ask you for money).

  16. That is one kickin’ cardigan. I’m sure he’d be happy to model if it meant he got more gifts like that out of the deal!

  17. What a brilliant job you did from my vintage pattern! Your dad is definitely hunkier than the one on the original cover.
    I’ve just remembered what I was knitting when I sent you the pattern – it’s no way near finished – you might have just shamed me into getting it out and working on it

  18. What a brilliant job you did from my vintage pattern! Your dad is definitely hunkier than the one on the original cover.
    I’ve just remembered what I was knitting when I sent you the pattern – it’s no way near finished – you might have just shamed me into getting it out and working on it

  19. Gorgeous sweater!
    Ya know, sometimes I serve my kids a sandwich and a multivitamin. Just to cover my Mom bases.

  20. Dad’s sweater is great.

  21. Congratulations on the perfect Marlboro Dad sweater. I could see my dad (and lots of dads) in one like it. They should re-release the pattern and include your modifications. And, of course your dad would model for the big fashion shoot, maybe while holding a pop tart, the Official Lunch of knitting mothers (and daughters).

  22. I just want to say I can so relate about the lunch thing. It was the bane of my existance for nigh 15 years. The knitting gene precludes the lunch gene, possibly…
    Does that creep you out for all these women to call your Dad hot?
    But I’m sure he would love to know!
    Good Job!, good daughter!

  23. I just want to say I can so relate about the lunch thing. It was the bane of my existance for nigh 15 years. The knitting gene precludes the lunch gene, possibly…
    Does that creep you out for all these women to call your Dad hot?
    But I’m sure he would love to know!
    Good Job!, good daughter!

  24. Very nice sweater, Kay! I’m sure your dad is pleased with it and with you. It looks like one my husband would like (he has already informed me that if and when I knit for him there are to be NO pullovers!) and I am wondering why such classics as this go “out” of style. Maybe our men are not the pushovers for the latest thing we women are?

  25. That is an awesome looking cardi and the man in it is one lucky dad πŸ™‚

  26. Hooray! You did a great job. And the shawl collar really works with the cowboy hat.

  27. Wow. That is incredibly impressive. Have you thought about writing up the pattern?

  28. He is totally working the Rowan cowboy look in that last picture.
    I love it.
    Happy new year, y’all!

  29. Great Sweater!!! My dad would love it as well! Need info on that vintage pattern (and for the gussets, but not because my dad needs room to wear over a flannel shirt). πŸ™‚

  30. dad looks great. Sweater looks great too. dad + sweater = super great. Well done to finish this, long distance alterations do take a long time, The gusset solution also sound perfect.
    Polly x

  31. The sweater is great! Looks just like something my father would like to wear…maybe his first born daughter should knit one for him too??? As for the lunches…I gave up 2 days ago…the two older ones are able to fend for themselves, and they have been taking pity on the 7 year old….come to think of it, my kids would probably LOVE the pop-tarts for lunch! (NO, I will not win the mother of the year award this year, but I DID finish a log cabin Christmas pillow!) Thank goodness they start back to school tomorrow!

  32. I’m so impressed. With the cardigan and the Dad !

  33. Now that you mention it, your dad does have the Rowan-model “scrutinizing the horizon” gaze down pat.
    You did great! the cardigan looks chic, leather buttons and all, and very comfortable. Cushy yet manly. A classic.

  34. That is exactly the style sweater my brother requested! Surely there must be a current pattern for one. It is such a classic man sweater.

  35. Now THAT’S a Perfect Sweater.

  36. And what a great Rowan model he would make.

  37. The Dadly Man/Manly Dad Sweater is just wonderful. But that flu description..exactly what force did you say?.

  38. The Omaha class was great! You now will have to create another career and start a knitting class itinerary.
    Thank you for a fun morning.
    Mary Pat
    Lincoln, NE

  39. That is absolutely *fabulous*. So classy! Your dad looks excellent in it.

  40. Love the sweater! Your dad looks very proud of it!

  41. Toptastic cardy. It has the look of a bought garment. The collar is perfect. I looked harder at the pictures once you mentioned the gussetts but couln’t see them from this side of the Atlantic! I wouldn’t metion them again, no one will know.

  42. Cool Dad. Warm Cardi. Super Fantastic Daughter. What else is there to say? (Oh, I know – surely for the Marlboro Man Cowboy it should have been DENIM????!!! [Joking there, honest]) x

  43. Your finest hour, as Winston Churchill would say. And actually, I think it’s a very Churchilly look, in a Man of the West way. Your pappy wears it well!
    Dark n early here in Nashville, in case you’re wondering. Sun isn’t up yet . . .

  44. I have to say, I thought this cardigan was already finished, but the Dad photos were worth the surprise. I have loved this project from the beginning – I think it may be my favorite of your knits, Kay.

  45. Great job on the dadigan. I also thought this was long ago finished and I missed the photos, so congratulations, it looks like he’ll love it. But I agree, next time you are home, can we see the triangular under the arm gussets!
    Welcome home.

  46. Ok, we have to have that pattern! For all of us out there who have DDs, DHs, or DFILs! Is is possible for you to post it somewhere? Since it’s revised, would that be going against copyright laws? Maybe you could use your fame to persuade the Patons people to reissue it with your mods?

  47. Ooooh, the sweater gives me a warm, fuzzy, Knit-For-My-Dad feeling. Toasty!

  48. Great sweater and dad. Made me get a little teary for mine. He would have gone more the America’s Funniest Home Video modeling approach, rather than Rowan, however. My stepmother sent me a vest that I had knitted for my dad years ago, complete with coffee stain. It is kind of sweet to have it back, and I wear it from time to time. Fortunately, it doesn’t stretch across my stomach in quite the same way as it did his!

  49. has anyone told you that Dad is a hunk….LOL…once, years ago, my own Dad saw me tatting; he said “i never thought hands that look just like mine could do something so delicate” . that still gets me misty eyed.

  50. Microwaved hot dogs. Made by the chidren. Its the next grade.
    Your papa looks like He’d make a mean cowboy in that cardi. Nobody be messin with him.

  51. Love the sweater on your dad. The buttons are the very best part for me…how many Midwest dads have handknit sweaters with Italian leather buttons? My dad really liked his scarf…your Eric pattern I modified with the criss-crossed ridges…thanks again for the inspiration. Our Midwest dads will be warm this winter (mine lives in N.D.).

  52. Lunch, the next lower grade: Cheez-Its. Just hand them the box.

  53. Perfect sweater for a great looking man! Isn’t it great when the idea and the finished product are absolutely on target?!

  54. Great sweater and your alteration ideas are ingenious! So happy to hear everyone is over their illness, not fun any way you slice it. A very Happy New Year

  55. Awesome! And he looks so great in it. That second picture is gold. The sweater could not be more perfect for him.

  56. Your dad is a babe. He can really work the camera, can;t he.
    Oh, and the sweater is fabulous too!

  57. Geesh, wish my Dad was a hottie too! πŸ™‚

  58. That’s Rowan model material if ever I saw one!
    Gorgeous sweater too! Love the stitch pattern!
    By the sounds of it, that sweater’s gonna look just as great with brown leather elbow patches as well.

  59. Just had to throw in a Wow!
    Wow! Loving Daughter, you done good!

  60. I’ll add my wow to the pile…that is one awesome sweater!!

  61. Fabulous! Your dad really should be model! Just tell him how women all over the world will be gawking!

  62. So everyone’s commenting on the sweater, and I agree, it’s great. But what I want to comment on is the Mommommommommom…..when do your kids go back to school? Mine, next Monday. Can’t wait. I can’t even get the breakfast mess picked up before they’re asking for lunch. Lunch at 10:30??? Come on Monday!!

  63. This is amazing. Not only will you be let in, he might just bow down to you. Awesome!

  64. Awesome and a great dad who’s willing to model too!

  65. Beautiful! You rock! Good looking dad, too…

  66. He looks adorable!

  67. Your dad is so cute and the cardigan is perfect! My dad is a farmer and he also only ever wears a cardigan outdoors. Hardy, those dads.

  68. Kay, is that cardi knit in fishermans rib? That’s certainly what it looks like! Wow, girl – you rock. That must have taken for *ever*. Beautifully done, perfect fit. Wow.

  69. OMG– grinning here in Sutton, esp. at that last photo. he’s definitely grizzled, and somewhat sly. that cardi has that guy written all over it. yay custom knits! (and boo to battery-operated toys. call us the energizer family from now on.)

  70. Your dad and that cardigan look as if they were born for each other.

  71. Wow – what a fabulous sweater and he sure does know how to work it! He’s shaped very much like my man, who I also attempted to fit into one of my fine handknits with afterthought gussets, but it sure didn’t turn out like yours… like it just didn’t turn out. Period.

  72. Handsome as all get out! The man AND the sweater. If ever there was a perfect “dad” sort of sweater out there, that’s it.


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