The Elusive Perfect Sweater

Well, the new Knitty is up, and once again, there's nothing for me to wear! At least, that's my initial reaction, although I did linger over the Daedelus wrap. Of course there are socks there, but they are too fussy for me, and although shawls are beautiful, have you ever seen anyone actually wearing one?

You'd think, with the tremendous interest in knitting these days, and the awesome skill level that's out there, that there would be attractive, flattering patterns that might actually be wearable (for me) on a day to day basis. Maybe it's my peculiar need for a sweater that can go from feeding the chickens to a meeting at the arts centre without looking too scruffy. Or maybe it's my complete lack of fashion sense.

My body type does present a bit of a challenge - big boobs and sloping shoulders mean that anything loose fitting makes me look like a bag lady with ten layers of clothing on. On the other hand, anything too fitted makes me self-conscious.

Maybe I'm not the only one. Granted, I live on an island of just 350 people, but I do get into a city every now and then, and I rarely see anyone wearing a hand knit garment. I know that scads of people are knitting, and the yarn companies keep coming up with more and more gorgeous yarns, but where are the sweaters?

I have in mind my dream sweater, based on the one worn by the little girl Fiona in The Secret of Roan Inish. It is a yellow Fair Isle cardigan, a bit on the smallish side, with a v-neck and set in sleeves. But can I find a pattern for something like that? Ravelry has let me down, so has Knitty, as has the Vancouver Island Public Library.

Still, Fiona's sweater calls to me - its close but modest fit, its subtle colouring, its vintage style. There's nothing to do but design one for myself. I'm not a flat-chested little girl, but as long as I don't put the Fair Isle patterning in the wrong place, I think it could be lovely.

Oddly enough, as I searched for an image of the cardigan I came up with Hollywood Fashion Vault, where a wardrobe has been put together based on Fiona's outfits in Roan Inish. Maybe my dream sweater isn't so far out there after all.

Either that, or what suited living on a small, misty island in a northern latitude in the 1950's is still suitable today.


  1. It has also occurred to me that I am probably part of a demographic that's considered irrelevant by today's media.

  2. Have you seen Kate's blog? I think you'd like it.

  3. Thanks Deb. Kate does have a beautiful site, and her designs do look quite wearable. Not quite what I'm looking for, but getting close.

  4. I do agree that is a great sweater!

    Good luck in your search.

  5. Anonymous6:36 PM

    Does the seal come with the sweater? Is it an ensemble?


  6. Anonymous7:55 PM

    Why not try some of Alice Starmore's books? You might find what you need.


  7. islandspindler8:21 AM

    check out
    rugged yarn, wearable in wet and cold conditions, colourful, canadian wool... I have knit several and wear them most of the year on the island I live on,Bowen, same climate as you.... and you can often get their book out of the local libraries.

  8. Heather, Thanks for linking to me! I am glad you like the site. The movie Roan Inish is something my 20 month old daughter watches literally every night! We are lucky I guess cause that is a great movie for her to get hooked on. Hope you check back to Hollywood Fashion Vault often.

  9. Hmmn, yes, I have considered some Alice Starmore designs, and I know about Philosophers Wool - I did knit one of their sweaters once - and I should probably check their newer designs. My feeling is that they are a little too boxy shaped.

    Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll find the right pattern soon, I'm sure.

  10. islandspindler10:10 AM

    Philosopher's wool patterns are definitely boxy, but can be modified quite easily for a more flattering shape. I made the smallest size and added waist shaping, plus made it shorter too.

  11. islandspindler10:13 AM

    I do admit though Alice Starmore yarns are wonderful. I got some at Christmas to make Kate Davies Caller Herrin hat. The softness and colour variations of the yarn made them a real pleasure to knit with, and shipping is free at Virtual Yarns if you spend of $40 :)

  12. Dear Island Spindler,

    Yes, that is what I will probably end up doing, altering an existing pattern. I have designed sweaters from scratch, but just don't feel up to all that figuring these days.
    Since you live on Bowen, I wonder if you know my brother Dave and sister-in-law Jackie (Cameron/Minns)?

  13. islandspindler7:34 AM

    Of course, they lived across the street from us, when they first moved to Bowen. I have been in many of Jackie's yoga classes, practiced yoga with David for several years and been to several of their plays!

  14. Ahhh, too cool. Such a wonderful wee world!

  15. Heather, I know what you mean about feeling like part of an irrelevant demographic. In some ways I kind of like that though. It encourages your creativity in finding/making things that are really relevant to you and you don't have to live up to anyone else's ideals of who they think you should be. It can be a bit lonely sometimes perhaps (except for the good ol' internet! yay!) but also very freeing.

    Good luck on finding or creating the perfect sweater pattern! Perhaps try looking for a cardi pattern in a similar shape and gauge to what you're imagining and then plug in the stranded patterns? Graph paper is a wonderful thing, virtual or actual.

  16. i also drool over the fashion in roan inish. i saw two pretty fair isle books at barnes and noble the other week. can't imagine there's nothing in rowan! when you find one, let's do a knitalong because i need one too!


Post a Comment

Please forgive me for using word verification. The spam robots got to me.