My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Love is Blue

Four years ago I knit a sweater out of denim yarn. You can read about it in nauseating detail starting with this post. If you just want to see the finished product, skip to this post. (Looking at that post, I marvel at how short my hair was. It now reaches the middle of my back. I am striving for the “aging hippie” look.)

Here is that denim sweater today.

I still love it. It has gotten softer and more comfy with each washing. But the fact that it is plain stockinette means that it really isn’t taking advantage of the aging properties of the denim yarn: you need some texture in your knitting to be able to really take advantage of that weathered look. (That sweater, by the way, was knit with Elann’s denim yarn.)

So I decided to knit a cabled denim sweater. Therein lies the path to madness.

I swatched, I washed, I measured. I started out with some fairly complex fancy-schmancy cables, but in the end sanity prevailed and I decided to K.I.S.S. So the final design has only two cable motifs — a braided cable (love braided cables!) and a diamond-shaped thingie I winkled together. The filler stitch on each side is seed stitch, another love of mine.

Here’s what it looks like with almost one pattern repeat done:

(If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you’ll get a better look at the details.)

I gotta say, knitting cables in denim yarn is nothing short of hateful. The yarn has the consistency of string and knitting cables with string is well . . . hateful. The cables look a bit loose and sloppy at the edges.

But I know once it is washed and shrunk, I will love it.

Switching to simpler cables instead of going with my original plan was the best idea I’ve had in a long time. This pattern is so simple that I memorized it less than halfway through the first repeat. I left stitch markers in between the motifs because the yarn is fairly dark in color (slightly darker than the photo would have you believe) and the markers help me remember where I am in the pattern without having to look at it too closely. This is very useful for evening knitting.

The plan is a slightly oversized sweater with a round neck and twisted rib neckband and dropped shoulders so there is minimal sleeve shaping. Think comfy sweatshirt.

It’s a slow knit, though. I am happy to report that I am taking the entire week off from work next week, so there will be extra knitting time. I do have a lot of stuff planned for that week, but we’ll see how I do.

Film at 11.

Here’s a photo for everyone who thinks Lucy never moves:


  1. oh what a beautiful tail she has! and an entire week off work to spoil her… fab! ^..^

  2. Lovely Lucy, lovely knitting.

  3. I’m glad to know about Lucy. I was kind of worried.

    I have always liked the look of Rowan Denim yarn, but have hesitated because of the price and the knitting-with-string thing. I like your design. You might end up pushing me over the edge of temptation.

  4. My goodness, I blink and you’re done with Hawthorn and well into the next project! Your little needles must simply fly in your fingers!

    Beautiful work (and Lucy!)!
    Rebecca´s last blog post ..The End

  5. Enjoy your week off! You have a lot of company (taking that week off)…they should all be knitting!

  6. I really need to try that denim yarn. Love those cables!
    Susan´s last blog post ..War and Peace- JelliDonut-style

  7. I really like the cable pattern. I look forward to seeing more of it.

  8. You know, technically Lucy is not moving there. She’s standing. I think it’s about time for another Lucy Video to prove that she’s not just a cute pose-able stuffed animal. (Although I have had her on my lap before and can confirm that she is quite warm and lively.) 🙂
    Sheri at The Loopy Ewe´s last blog post ..What’s Going On at Loopy Central Today

  9. I haven’t knit anything for me but socks this year. I have a granddaughter (finally a baby in the family) and most of my knitting has gone to her! I like both the old denim and the new blue!
    Lucy is far more sedentary than my border collie pups, but my Lucy could give her a run for her money!
    Jeanie Babbage´s last blog post ..It has been a while…

  10. That is going to be one pretty sweater. You are a better woman than I am, doing those cables in that yarn would drive me to drink.
    Lorette´s last blog post ..Progress- I Guess…

  11. Those cables really look great in the denim!

  12. My hands hurt just reading about knitting cables with that cotton yarn! It will look awesome!

  13. Lucy: poetry in motion.

  14. Beth Wilson says:

    I LOVE Lucy …. moving or not …. same way I Love my Tessa and Alfred ( the newbie ). Just a baby, I was out and about getting him a sweater at 6:45 this morn …can’t have him sneezing , etc…. HOW these little ones dominate out loives … But, SO well worth it !! Kitties, Knitting …. the mainstays of my life …..

  15. She’s showing off her lovely tail!!!

  16. Wendy I have enough denim yarn here to knit my hubby a sweater in a certain pattern. its sort of a basketweave…but the pattern is for regular yarn. I can’t find one that I like that uses denim and I know that the denim shrinks at least 10%, maybe even 15% lengthwise. I can make it longer, but are there other adjustments you make? Its OK if its a loose sweater, but I would hate to have it too short. Unfortunately he has arms like a “yard ape”, so lots of knitting there.

    I should take the week off work also I think.

  17. There is nothing better than a week off from work. Love the idea of a denim sweater, but I think I would have to use wool. The cable look is really good. Of course, Lucy moves-didn’t we just see hee stretching out here legs the other day?

  18. Here’s a URL of a blog I read regularly.

    She’s a yarn shop owner in a community about 40km west of Toronto.

    It appears your new Socks in a Box has reached Canadian shores!
    Geri´s last blog post ..Selbu Gloves

  19. I love cables, the more the merrier. I think it’s because they look like my favorite sweet thing, a koeksister! It’s a traditional Afrikaans plaited (you would say braided) dough thing which is deep-fried and then plunged into ice cold syrup. It’s so sweet it will give you instant diabetes but I can eat a whole bag 🙂

  20. Shirley in GA says:

    Your new denim sweater will be gorgeous with the cables. I am amazed at how fast you always knit everything.(vbg)

    I am thinking about getting a dress form and wonder where you got yours? Which brand is it?

  21. Thanks for showing us your old denim sweater and the new one. The new one, I am sure, will look as great as the old one does in a few years. I was thinking of decreasing my stash recently but looking at how gorgeous that yarn looks done up I think I might need to go shopping!

  22. I have a bag of blue and white denim that has perplexed me with what to do with it — it was a great buy and loved the washed look — now i feel inspired to try it with a texture so it enhances the overall look. will keep close watch on your progress — and i too wonder at shrinkage but doesn’t denim stretch back out as it hangs? Have a great week off —-and Happy Turkey Day

  23. Cables and cotton yarn? You are a far better woman than I am!

    But you’re right, all that effort will be worth it in the end.

    Lucy is anticipating turkey day and getting some aerobic exercise in!
    MicheleinMaine´s last blog post ..Chocolate Pigs Mini Bag

  24. Of course Lucy moves! She has to roll over, resettle in her chair, I’m sure she switches chairs, and then there are the knitted projects she models. And dinner.

  25. I haven’t tried the denim yarn yet, but I have a hard time knitting cotton sometimes because a lot of it is very hard on my hands. I imagine denim to be mostly the same in that regard.
    Seanna Lea´s last blog post ..nanowrimo day 18

  26. I like the cables you chose. I would love to be off all of next week too, but unfortunately I will have to turn up at work on Monday and Tuesday.

  27. It think your pattern has a lot of detail for being simple. I’ve never worked with denim yarn, is it like cotton? Have fun on your time off!
    Stephanie´s last blog post ..A Crafty Question

  28. If you’re interested, I just bought a copy of the Rowan book ‘denim people’ because I want to knit the pattern Saffy. It’s a delicate cardi with an interesting allover pattern.

  29. Oh my your hair was really short!! I really like it long however it looke dcute short too. Have a great weel end!!!

  30. Dreaming of a denim sweater now- the cuddle factor is a major plus–my project list grows and grows. Enjoy your week off. I’m cooking for Thanksgiving and knitting a sweater for my youngest.

  31. Brings to mind the Virginia Slims cig. commercial,
    “You’ve come a long way, Baby,
    to get where you got to, today.
    You’ve got your own (cigarette) now, Baby.
    You’ve come a long, long way!”

    substitute cigarette, for Yarn Stash and it is an instant hit!

    Miss Lucy ages gracefully too ♥♥♥