by Lee Louise
Notes from 2015. I enjoy making sweaters with unusual design features, but even with five daughters, sometimes I discover that not one of them would be willing to wear something I want to make after I finish it… In 2015 I lucked out, because Hillary expressed a willingness, if not an actual desire, to own and wear a Caldwell Pullover. (The original pattern by Courtney Spainhower can be found in the Fall 2015 issue of Knitscene.) We found three colors of Cascade Yarns’ Cloud on sale at Webs. She would NOT wear the orange, I would NOT knit the nearly-black green (I think it was green, it might have been brown, I just know it was very dark), so we settled on Honey.
We ordered it, I worried about it, silently fussing that she didn’t really like it but was just humoring me. When the yarn arrived in the mail, though, she was delighted with it, and I went to work.
I don’t recall exactly how long it took me knit the Caldwell, but I believe it was only two or three weeks. Aran yarn knits up so quickly, and the shaping is so interesting, that I didn’t want to put it down.
However, aran weight wool/alpaca yarn knits up into a very warm sweater. She has worn it quite a bit, I think she likes it, but it is really too warm for the MidSouth.
At the points on the arms, back, and bust where the eyelets stop, there is a pronounced tendency for the fabric to come out in a point. Just sayin’. If you choose to make a Caldwell, be sure to fiddle when blocking to minimize those points. I suppose if the arm points came at the elbow, it wouldn’t look so odd, and there is an excuse to have points in the bust area. But back points are not totally necessary.
The underarm is not a gansey-type gusset, and there are seams (the only seams!) where the underarm of the body meets the underarm of the sleeve. On each side of that seam, there is the potential for holes to form. After seaming, a bit of darning must be done to minimize those holes.
I did make one change in the design. Hillary asked for elbow-length sleeves instead of wrist-length. I misjudged where to start the ribbing, and so the sleeves are longer than elbow length, but she hasn’t complained. I stopped decreasing a couple of inches before the ribbing, and I don’t think I should have. Maybe I should have gone back and reknit the last few inches of the sleeves, but I didn’t. Judge for yourself.
All in all, I am happy with this sweater, and Hillary likes it too.
Notes from February 2017. Time has passed. I am happy to say that in the past year and a half (?), this has been Hillary’s go-to sweater. She wears it to church on Sunday, and most days of the week besides. With that kind of wear, perhaps it should not have been surprising when a few weeks ago, I noticed 3 or 4 little holes in the garter stitch section of the arm. (Right arm? Left arm? It depends on whether she is wearing it frontwards or backwards, and she is pretty indiscriminate about that.)
I mentally filed this information away, and when Margaret came for the wedding, I asked her to embellish the sleeve to camouflage, and mend, the little holes. So, while I finished the Wedding Bolero, Hillary darned, and Margaret embroidered Palestrina knots, woven spiderwebs, lazy daisies and a couple of satin stitch leaves with leftovers of the original yarn. The result is amazing. It looks so delicate.
I love it even more than I did in 2015, and Hillary still wears it to church, and every day of the week besides!
I hope it doesn’t spring any more holes but, if it does, a solution is at hand.