Last October, on a sunny Saturday in Rhinebeck, New York, Nell Ziroli and I left the book barn on the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. We walked past acres of parked cars, many with vanity plates saying things like “BAABAA,” “SHEEEP” and “K2TOG.” When we reached my car (with its sadly generic plates), I opened up the trunk and grabbed two of the precious skeins of Alice CVM Silk that we had received from Alice O’Reilly of Backyard Fiberworks the evening before.
Nell was going to knit me a Roger, a classic granddad cardigan that she designed last summer. From the moment I saw Roger, it struck me as The One. My one true granddad cardigan, and a perfect vehicle in which to take Alice CVM Silk out on a closed track and see what she could do. I don’t think I am the first yarn shop person to have had the bright idea of making a sample in my own size. Waste not, want not!
Three more skeins of the dark shade of Alice CVM Silk followed those first two by post. As Nell worked on Roger, she texted updates and queries.
How loose of a fit? (LOOSE. JACKETY.)
How about making the pockets in Liberty Tana Lawn fabric? (YES PLEASE.)
What kind of buttons? (SHELL. AS CLOSE TO DIRT COLORED AS POSSIBLE.)
On Monday, a cardboard box arrived on my doorstep.
nell knit roger straight from the pattern, in the 4th size (large), and required 5 skeins (1500 yards) of alice cvm silk.
I spent a happy half hour examining all of Roger’s nice details. I love the overall broken rib, with barely visible pocket openings, the raglan shaping, and the stand-up collar with little notches at the center neck. I’m glad I got extra ease, so that it fits like a jacket, with plenty of room for sweater-under-sweater possibilities.
On Tuesday, with temperatures in the 50s, I wore Roger to run all my errands. Roger is toasty warm.
Roger is going to be running a lot of errands. I am not letting Roger go. Roger is perfect for all the Iconic Looks that I adore.
My Nonno Playing Bocce look:
(Photo: Ephemeral New York.)
My Let’s Pretend I’m a Madewell Model look:
And my Just Regular Me on a Regular Day Taking Selfies look:
Those Pockets, Though
What is it about pockets? They are so appealing. Such a deluxe feature.
I love sliding my phone into one of Roger’s fabric pockets. I love putting my hand in, or my keys, and not worrying about poking through a knitted fabric. I also like knowing that if I wear out the pockets (as I have done with more than one long-loved jacket), they are easy to replace with a fat quarter of fabric and a tiny bit of sewing.
Nell gives a tutorial on how to construct fabric pockets on her blog. To experienced sewers, it will be perfectly straightforward. To me, it is a magic trick: the pocket lines itself. But I can see that it’s easy once you know how. I am sitting on a big stash of off-cuts of Liberty Tana Lawn, so my Roger need never fear that its pockets will be faux. (Note: the Roger pattern also gives instructions for knitted pockets.)
The MDK Shop still has a few sweater quantities of Alice CVM Silk. Sadly, when it’s gone, that’s it for the year. (Those parsimonious sheep: only one fleece per year!) But luckily, Roger will look great in any sturdy worsted weight yarn. The Shop also has a lovely selection of Donegal Tweed, which has got to be one of the Top 10 Granddad yarns of all time. You definitely want to choose a long-lasting, non-delicate yarn for Roger, to get the most wear and enjoyment out of a garment that is for the ages.
Excuse me now, I have errands to run.