Quest for the perfect aran sweater

knitting the perfect aran sweater

I’m diligently knitting my Walpole sleeve and have decided I’m not allowed to cast on another sweater* until I’ve finished this one. Which means, from now until it’s done, I’ll be daydreaming about that next one. And I do believe it will be an aran sweater. This is something of a holy grail for me, the perfect fisherman sweater, dating back to the ’80s when I was much too young to control my own fashion destiny. I’ve bought only a very few versions over the years, always holding out for something better and being indifferent to those I compromised on. And it’s one of two things that always made me want to know how to knit.** The problem, you see, is that I have a lot of different definitions of perfect.

1. Classic: Steve McQueen in the species sweater, doubly swoony. (via)

2. Simplified and slouchy: Nili Lotan for J.Crew last year.

3. Minimalist: There’s also something lovely about a single perfect cable, as in this Big Cable Pullover (free pattern)

4. Shrunken: I died the day the pics of this Mary Kate Steinmiller outfit [2019: link no longer available] first hit the web, largely because she told The Sartorialist it’s a Crewcuts boys’ sweater. Sold out five minutes before I got there, of course, but oh how I tried to track one down. (See also, same sweater.)

5. Mod: A ’60s Bernat pattern, as knitted by Whiskey and Women blogger Melinda Sue. Uhhhh, come to think of it …

6. Stylized: When I saw this slouchy, knitted-sideways Cos sweater on Svpply a couple of years ago, also already sold by the time I clicked, my immediate thought was “OK, for real: time to learn to knit.”

The list could truly go on and on — just look at how often aran variations show up on my Yarny Goodness board. So I guess I still have a lot to think about between now and when I cast on. [UPDATE: I decided a standalone board was in order: Aran sweaters forever.]


*Note that I didn’t say I’m not allowed to cast on anything. Just not another sweater.

** I’ll tell you about the other one some other time.

22 thoughts on “Quest for the perfect aran sweater

  1. Yes, me too. I desperately want to make one of these. I have to finish these few other little things first though. You’ve got a great collection up there!

  2. 2 and 3 are my favs! I have a hard time with arans. I feel like they add bulk. I have broad shoulders, so I feel the need to go simple.

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