Published on Saturday February 9th, 2008

I have no shame when it comes to boosting other people’s ideas, especially when those people are knitters as clever as, say, Jared. Six weeks ago he posted this fabulous rendition of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Shirt-Yoke Cardigan. I wanted one of my own, and I wanted it immediately. Happily, bulky wool and size 10.5 needles were invented for the purpose of instant gratification. I whipped out my Knitter’s Workshop, and in a weekend of knitting, I had most of this:


I added some darts up the back for a more womanly shape, but I always meant to copy Jared’s idea for the side ribbing. (In fact, in my lust to knit an entire sweater body from one skein of yarn in a mere six hours, I forgot all about the ribbing. But a quick session with a crochet hook revived the dream – I simply dropped the appropriate stitches and hooked them back up purlwise.)


But whoa! What happened there on the front? Friends, I ran out of yarn. I knew it was likely. I was planning a direct rip-off of Jared’s nice ribbed button band, but the third skein petered out just as I was finishing the collar. Being too impatient to order a fourth skein from the yarn shop on my little island and wait for more to come in and then for my mother to mail it to me, risking a dye-lot change in the bargain, I went stash diving. I organize my yarn by weight, and there isn’t all that much in the bulky bin. But there were two skeins of this scrumptious Rowan Yorkshire Tweed, which I bought years ago to knit Kristin Spurkland’s Flower Hat from the Winter 2004 Interweave Knits – the very first knitting magazine I ever purchased. I still think the hat is awesome, but I hadn’t gotten around to it four years later so I figured the yarn was fair game.


I first envisioned a Barbara Walker Banana Tree pattern up the front, as seen in Starsky, but the tweed didn’t show up the traveling stitches all that well. So I picked out this pretty Double Wave cable instead. It leaves handier spaces for button holes anyway. And then I think all the Jane Austen I’ve been watching on Sunday nights went to my head. Somehow it came to me that the big blue front panel would look a little less random if there were some sort of blue element elsewhere… like embroidery. Now, I can’t embroider my way out of a paper bag. I’m sure any self-respecting six-year-old in Miss Austen’s day could have whupped my arse in an embroidery show-down. But I’m all about leaping into the deep end with things I’ve never tried.


I give you the Blue Thistle Jacket. I’ve hardly taken it off since it (mostly) dried on Wednesday.

And psst… look who’s grown!


67 Comments to “Copycat”

  1. Julierose Comment Says:

    You made this sweater in a weekend? Wow! It is really spectacular–don’t you just love EZ…am up to second sleeve and getting sidetracked withan EZ “Pi” shawl..

  2. Daphne Comment Says:

    ACK. Cute attack. You + sweater + dog = killing me.

  3. Caitlin Comment Says:

    Your embroidery looks great to me! I have a hard time embroidering on knits; I usually have to put some interfacing on the back. The sweater looks great and so does Lark!
    Is that you in the knit/purl ad in the Spring ’08 Interweave?

  4. Melissa Comment Says:

    It’s fabulous! Sometimes running out of yarn makes you think out of the box and come up with something even better. I love the embroidery and button band details!

  5. Nonnahs Comment Says:

    Well I must say, improvisation really served you well- this is a beautiful sweater! The contrast of colors is really lovely, and the embroidery is icing on the cake! Congrats!

  6. mamie Comment Says:

    sarah, i love coming to this blog and seeing your fabulous knits. you have such an intuitive way with knitting and look so lovely in your pieces. i am glad you live in a climate that supports these sweaters because i am eager to see more…and the ‘afterthought’ embroidery shines on the sweater. i love it all!

  7. craptina Comment Says:

    Gorgeous!! A yarn shortage and forgotten ribbing were no challenge for your resourcefulness. The collar tip is a fantasic accent.

  8. Katie Comment Says:

    Very quick and very lovely. I need an instant gratification knit about now – everything I’m working on takes a LONG time – and it’s all SECRET, blah.

  9. Seanna Lea Comment Says:

    Gorgeous! I think your embroidery is a lot nicer than you give yourself credit for. I’m OK with it, but I mostly do embroidery or cross-stitch on linen or Aida which are much more regular fabrics than a knitted fabric. Well done!

  10. Elena Comment Says:

    It’s adorable!

  11. Lawanna Comment Says:

    How incredibly beautiful!!!!

  12. Meredith Comment Says:

    LOVE the sweater! I want one now! I love what you did with the front. Cute jeans too! : )

  13. jessie Comment Says:

    I’m a bit behind the times, but WOW this is one beautiful, creative, and really inspiring sweater!

  14. Experimenting with Embroiknittery « A Crunchy Life Pingback Says:

    […] This weekend I was inspired through various means to combine to fiber arts that I love, knitting and embroidery. I hadn’t thought of embroidering knitting until I saw this post at Blue Garter several weeks ago. The images must have stayed with me. After working on a prototype for KABs this weekend (see the blue knitted object in the last post), I had a vision of a narrow cuff, complete with button, and in a flash I saw a vine weaving its way around it. […]

  15. Lynn in Tucson Comment Says:

    This is truly inspiring. I love the sweater but I’m more impressed but the “Oh, I just whipped this up for myself over the course of a weekend. Yes, I ran out of yarn but I improvised out of the stash and still wore it to work on Monday.”

    Amazing. THAT’S the kind of knitter I want to be when I grow up!

  16. Blue Garter » Blog Archive » Introducing Emily Pingback Says:

    […] stitches at the neckline before picking up for the collar? I have several sweaters, including my Blue Thistle jacket, that want stabilizing with a chain of crochet around the shoulders because I tossed this advice […]

  17. Blue Garter » Blog Archive » Winter Garden Pingback Says:

    […] Amanda, my warmest and best-looking sweater, is knit from Wensleydale grown here in Oregon. My Blue Thistle jacket, also still unpilled and looking great, is Perendale. Mr. G’s Fishtrip cardigan is […]