Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn CrawlΒ is on through Sunday, September 25.

Drop Everything and Knit

Dear Ann,
I look at patterns all the time. No matter how many books and old Rowans I’ve got, new designs are always calling to me. As a result, I am always seeing things I really, really want to knit. Usually, this means I file the pattern away under ‘Will Knit Someday’. ‘Someday’ is illusory. I’m always starting new projects and letting old ones mildew in the corner, and usually I’ve seen many more must-knit patterns before I ever get to the pattern I had in mind.
But once in a while, I come across a pattern that qualifies as Must Knit Now. It’s hard to identify what makes a pattern so appealing that the bouncer standing outside the knitting party in my brain takes one look at it, unhooks the velvet rope, and says, ‘Dude. Come on in. She’s waiting for you in the VIP lounge.’ But whatever the It factor is, this pattern has got It.
I give you Durrow, by Jodi Green. Durrow pushes most of my buttons. Simultaneously. Plus it’s being modeled by a guy on a motorbike, which didn’t hurt. (I have a rich and rewarding fantasy life.)
At first glance, I mistook Durrow’s black wool for black denim. Black denim, once made by Rowan, is a discontinued rarity which I stalk throughout Knittendom, collect in small quantities and mismatched dye lots (no need for a ‘smoke-free home’), and paw through my hoard of, whispering ‘My precious…..’
Durrow is a man’s sweater. The body is an elegant, close-fitting 4×2 rib. Very James Bond (Sean Connery OF COURSE). Ahhh. So cute. So boyish. The armholes are high-ish. The shoulder is saddle. I’ve never done a saddle shoulder, because until now I’d not met a sweater that made me think it would be worthwhile to have even more bits of seaming in the armhole area.
I’m making it for my boy Joseph. Joseph has a ribsy torso that was made for 4×2 rib. I’m making it in black Rowan Denim, following the instructions for the smallest man’s size. With the difference in stitch gauge, this should work perfectly in terms of the width dimensions, and I am an old hand at making length adjustments for denim. The trickiest part will be adjusting the armhole proportions. I am not worried about that. Why not? Because it’s only a sweater for a 7 year old boy who’s not fussy about his clothes, and who looks cute at all times and in all sweaters (this is his mother talking). I’ll err on the side of making the armhole too big, it will shrink more than I expect, and it will end up perfect. I’m feeling lucky.
Just to increase the fun factor and shake the blues of having too many WIPs this time of year, I’m dropping everything to knit Durrow. And….I’m going to finish it by next Sunday evening, a week from when I started. Joseph might as well have it in time for Thanksgiving.
Think I’ll make it?
Love, Kay




  1. I’m sure Joseph will be very handsome in it. It looks great so far!

  2. I think you can, I think you can.

  3. Of course you’ll make it! And I for 1,000,000 can’t wait to see Joseph wearing it passing the cranberries or giving us the raspberries, whatever he feels up to.

  4. Yes. But you are crazed.
    It is a gorgeous sweater. I’ve been debating if my torso can hack it, but I think I need a skinny man friend for this one.
    I’ll add that to my list.
    Black denim, hmmmmm? I love that stuff. Delicious.

  5. Go, Kay, Go!!!
    Fantastic choice!

  6. Oh yes, you can!
    I am going to learn cables just for that sweater for DH. It will take me about 2-1/2 years to knit it. Can’t wait to see yours!

  7. Kay, that is one of the (many) things I love about you. You aren’t distracted by hems or “perfect handknit” banter. You are focused and forward thinking. While the rest of us blather on endlessly about picot edges versus (the highly superior) seed stitch hem, you are out finding your own bust-though-the-red-velvet-robe-must-have projects. No debates for you – you just dive right in and knit whole sweaters in a week’s time from beautiful, coveted discontinued yarns and laugh in the face of armhole math. You are my knitting-hero!

  8. Holy smokes, Kay! That’ll be great. Make it extra roomy for sure, so he’ll have time to fade it and wear it in before heading off to college in it.

  9. I don’t know which I love more, the pattern (thank you so much for finding it for the rest of us!) or the image of the knitting lounge bouncer.
    Knit on, Kay. Knit on for all of us getting mired in gift scarves and gift mittens and maybe, just maybe, that cute little bolero that slipped in past my bouncer, asking only to be done in time for Christmas Eve dinner.
    You go, girl.

  10. Great choice. And it must be special to use up your precious denim yarn πŸ™‚ I’m sure you’ll make it!

  11. Okay, maybe for my nephew, it wouldn’t work for my husband. What was the word we used, “delicious”?
    Go Kay Go.

  12. I love the sweater. best of luck finishing it!
    ps: George Lazenby all the way!

  13. CANNOT wait to see it! I love the cables on the arms.

  14. You can do it!
    That is one freaking gorgeous sweater. It’s the first pattern I’ve seen that I feel a deep need to knit for my ever so quirky husband. He would look even more gorgeous in it πŸ™‚

  15. Excellent choice for manic knitting. Godspeed and smoking needles.

  16. I love your nightclub metaphor and I am picturing you knitting with denim which smells like a night out, and I am envying you the washing which will take a giant slightly stinky piece of knitting and turn it into a fitted sweet-smelling garment for your son. Knitting is our everyday miracle. You can totally do it!

  17. First off, I’m glad to see that you acknowledge the first, the only, the TRUE Bond.
    Secondly, Joseph will be gorgeous in that sweater – the dark will offset his eyes and you might want to make it just a little bit bigger – or plan to knit it again for when he gets to high school and starts riding around Manhattan on a motor bike. He’ll be KILLER.
    Can I make it into a cardigan for myself? What about if I steal the cable for my own sweater?
    Whatever – you will make it and it will be fabulous. I have no doubts.

  18. All I can say is that bouncer is doing a damn good job! Joseph will RAWK in that!

  19. Utterly fantastic!!!

  20. Sure, you’ll make it. I have faith in you. Foolishly, perhaps, but I still have faith.

  21. priorities, my dear….priorities!

  22. Cara – go to Jodie Green’s own website (follow the link in Kay’s entry): in her patterns section she has a picture of a not-disimilar women’s cardigan, I think she says the pattern is in the 04 winter edition of knitty. I’m guessing it would be possible replace the (less complex) cabling on that with the cabling she uses on Durrow, without too much difficulty.
    Kay – you are clearly insane, and apparently have a lot of spare time to knit in and probably magic speedy needles as well. But I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures next Monday!

  23. Um… you can make me one, too. That’s awesome! Although I’m not entirely sure how I’d do with 4×2 rib…
    Well, at least we know the one for Joseph will ROCK!

  24. I’m rooting for you! (Now, where the heck did I put my pom-poms?) That’s one handsome sweater!

  25. You’re . . . using . . . the black denim?
    It’s gonna be smarshing, especially that cabledy doodad part. Looks like a doodle, it really does!

  26. Aw, I’m blushing. Kay, I hope you meet your deadline and I can’t wait to see the result! It took me five months to make the original (that included figuring out the *&%$#@ cables, plus moving to another country and starting grad school, but still, slooooow).

  27. K-A-Y! K-A-Y! Go-oh-oh, KAY! Yay!

  28. I wanted to make this for Mr. Gadget, however he thinks the arms are too fussy. I can’t wait to see it in denim…how exciting. Go Kay Go!

  29. OOOOOOOOO, and think of all the lovely, broken-in Denim you’ll have to play with once he eventually outgrows it. (I refuse to believe that you can actually “wear out” Denim.)

  30. Yep!
    You’ve got yourself a stealth knit – of course you’ll make it. And I’ll be knitting along with you as I plan to finish the Lace Leaf by Thanksgiving, too!

  31. That one caught my eye as well. And I have a nicely slim hubbie to make it for. But man, I thought Thanksgiving Day as a deadline was a bit much for the infinities-long scarf I’m making. A sweater? You must really be…(not crazy, not crazy…)optimistic!
    Good luck, and I’m sure it’ll be a beaut!

  32. Oh Man Kay, I am so totally *in love* with that pattern that I have dropped the sweater I was already making for my guy in order to do this one instead. It is perfect for him. He is not too tall but not too short, and lean, and made for this sweater. Now. The fact that I don’t have the yarn for it and I’ve been put on a yarn diet and been told not to knit since we’ve just moved and the house needs attention could be a bit of a problem for me to have it done in time for his birthday in two weeks… I’ll have to live vicariously through yours!


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