Q for You: What’s the knit you couldn’t live without?

Q for You: What's the knit you couldn't live without?

This cardigan has really surprised me. I’ll be honest with you: When we finished that whole Tag Team Sweater Project, I was thrilled to have completed the sweater and beamingly proud of the knitting, as always. But I wondered how much I’d really wear it. There was that whole dissatisfaction along the way with the dimensions being different than the sample I’d tried on and adored. It being May in CA at the time, the Shelter seemed prohibitively hot. (Hotter than the intrinsically ventilated Acer I’d just finished in the same yarn.) Plus I almost never wear color, and here was this big purple thing! It just seemed too big, too long, too bright, the neck too high — there seemed to be a tiny bit too much of it, in every regard.

Flash forward to this winter in Tennessee, and I can’t imagine life without it. I unapologetically wear it two or three times a week, and every morning when I’m getting dressed, I think, “Would it be wrong to just put on my Trillium again?” It is freakishly cozy for how light and airy it is. (Go, woolen-spun!) Not hot at all. And whereas it seemed too long and big at first, now maybe the other cardigans are just too short and small! I completely love the proportion of it. But most of all, it’s that factor I first fell in love with when I tried on the sample: It sits beautifully around my shoulders, like no other sweater I’ve ever owned. I love having it on.

It’s not the flashiest thing I’ve ever knitted. Unlike other sweaters in my closet (both hand-knit and store-bought), nobody has ever asked me if I knitted it, that I recall. It’s just such a basic, perfect wardrobe staple, that I guess nobody ever thinks to question it. Which is exactly what I love about it.

So here’s today’s Q for You: What’s the knit you wouldn’t want to be without?


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62 thoughts on “Q for You: What’s the knit you couldn’t live without?

  1. I have an zippered cream Aran hoodie that I knit a year ago. I added pockets to the pattern. I love it. It goes with everything.

  2. So great when projects (especially knits) grow on you! I’d say the knit I can’t live without would be my Quadrillion! https://kohlrabibohemia.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/long-time-no-see
    Which is really a surprise, because it started as this crazy endeavour. I’m usually a big planner, calculating, sketching etc and this was the complete opposite. I fell in love with the pattern enough to order the Pompom mag in print (not something I can afford often on my student budget!) and somehow ended up dyeing the 700g yarn for the sweater myself. It’s a miracle all the skeins came out kinda similar, after all it was only my second time after practicing with a skein of sock yarn and some scraps from my stash. On top of that it was the first sweater I ever knit, before I learned about gauge & swatches.
    Fast forward to now: If I can get away with it I wear it probably 3 times a week out, even more often when I’m at home. It keeps me warm without me getting hot and sweaty, it’s not too heavy, it is 100% BFL so there is no itching, even if I don’t wear something long underneath, it even looks polished with the bracelet sleeves (which started out as: oops, should have knit the sleeves a tad longer!), it hits me just right around the hips and it must be a miracle but the proportions turned out much better than in my following two sweater projects, including my Stonecutter, which I swatched beforehand (several swatches each!). On top of that I love the colour and its semi-solidness! Plus the instructions for the finishing are so awesome that it even looks gorgeous from the inside (three-needle-bind-off ftw!). Sorry for rambling but I seriously LOVE this sweater and will wear it until it falls apart. I am even considering knitting it again soon, but I think my Revelry queue will prevent me from becoming that weird person with the two identical sweaters and nothing else to wear! Can’t wait to reed about other people’s favorite knits, awesome question, Karen! (And I loved the interview with you on Woolful! One of my favorite episode to date, next to all the BT peeps!)

  3. My new hat and cowl. My only complaint is that I cannot find more of the same colorway in madelinetosh chunky anywhere! I have wasted months searching every store online. I would love to have 2 more hanks of it to make my cowl into an infinity scarf. It would make everything perfect! I wear the hat and cowl every time I go outside in the fall and winter this year.
    I love your Trillium and I desperately want one for myself…just not purple :)

  4. My Aidez cardigan, knit in Peace Fleece Worsted. It feels like a big sheepy hug! So comforting on these cold, damp winter days here in the Northeast. I wear it several times weekly.

  5. I have knitted three Gnarled Oak cardigans. I finished the third of them less than ago and I am already looking forward to knitting the fourth.

    It is an incredibly comfortable design and I want to wear them all the time.

  6. oh, I have some fingerless mitts I have practically worn out; and then I have a scarf….was is maybe the “hitchhiker” pattern that I did in dark grey, light grey, and cream that gets worn pretty much whenever I go out!

  7. My most-loved and worn sweater changes every year. Last year, it was Melissa Leapman’s #14 Cabled Turleneck from VK Winter 12/13. This year, I’ve been wearing the heck out of my Ironheart Pullover.

  8. My Agnes sweater! I knit it with some local VT wool in natural brown, and it is super thick and warm. My house is so old and drafty, and I always get soot on my sleeves from the wood stove, so I wear this sweater pretty much everyday because it is so rugged and warm, and the soot brushes off without staining. Also, pockets! Yeah, I live in it (yes, I am wearing it now).

  9. Merryall cardigan by Amy Christoffers. Knit in pale gray, worn 2-3 times a week 8-9 months of the year for the past 3 years. I’m planning to knit another before this one wears out.

  10. I have yet to find my perfect sweater, but for now, I’d say my hand knit socks. Once you start wearing them, there is no turning back. Warm, comfortable, they are just what you need for the long Canadian winter. I need to knit more.

  11. Wow, I am sold on a SHELTER sweater. soon!!

    A few years ago, I knit Phinney out of Berroco Ultra Alpaca, and even though it wasn’t the most exciting thing I’ve knit, I’ve worn it more than almost any other sweater and it continues to get better with age: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/vanessaE/phinney

    I’ve hand washed it a few times and it has more drape and softness than I would have ever imagined. It styles well with a pencil skirt or jeans and is super warm! Besides my hats and simple black scarf, I couldn’t live with out it.

  12. I also wear my socks the most. They are so comfy and perfectly shaped to my feet. Also, I think it’s the ultimate compliment when no one asks if you knit the sweater you are wearing. It’s of course always nice to hear the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ about an FO, but whenever people ask if I made something I can’t help but think “why do you ask…how can you tell…”

  13. Great question as I am not sure I have knit a sweater I can’t live without…but I keep trying. Your blog continues to open my mind to knitting and my experience with it. Many of these posts are great inspiration to keep on looking! A favorite pattern is the Madeline Tosh honeycomb cowl. I have knit 3 that I do wear tons!! ://madelinetosh.com/store/index.php/honey-cowl.html

    I love these questions!

  14. The one I have just made, Hannah Fettig’s Gable. Basic and in grey. I even left out the distinctive design element, the “gable” on the front, to make it even more basic!

  15. This winter found me really appreciating my Lightweight Pullover (Hannah Fettig). It’s one of the first sweaters I made after getting back to knitting a couple of years ago. Incredibly simple and comfy, and on cold mornings it is so easy to pop on right out of bed. In the warmer months, I live in my Tsumugi Insouciants (by Julie Hoover). They look good with anything and skim the body in such a cool, sexy way.

    And I know what you mean about fit, Karen. I have several sweaters I’ve made that look pretty good, but just don’t sit right without an occasional tug. It certainly keeps me from reaching for them. I recently made a pile of all the FOs I don’t wear. They are going to be recycled to feed my newfound passion for making blankets.

  16. Oh, I can’t wait to finish my Trillium :-) And I have also been questioning the proportions of the pieces that I finished so far..never before I had to cast on 60 stitches for a cuff in a worsted weight yarn! The sleeves seem huge to me…but we’ll see. Your post today gives me a big boost of motivation. Thank you, Karen!

    • I did scale down the sleeves. I first knitted them bottom up and they were too big (and very poorly knitted). Wound up knitting the yoke from provisionally cast-on sleeves and then went back and worked the sleeves top-down, and just knitted them to size in the process, ignoring the pattern.

  17. My sukkertrøjen by Marianne Isager, knitted in her alpaca and wool, in a lovely spring-like green, with some beautiful glass buttons.

  18. Over the years, the knits I’ve worn into shreds have surprised me and taught me a lot. It’s sometimes an item that I just dash off without thinking, and then, guess what, the simplest knits end up being most useful.
    I used to have a hat made of Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair. It was just a rectangle grafted together at the top, because I knit it on the train and only had a 16″ circular and a tapestry needle with me, but no DPNs. I wore it for about four straight years until it was a rag.
    Right now I have a solid little team of knits that I wear a lot, but I’ve got a lot of love for these little guys: http://instagram.com/p/kVJzjUJNcY

  19. This is such a great question (and has let to some seriously awesome answers! My queue is growing…) For me I think there are two things. The first is a cheat, because it’s my hand-knit socks. I’ve been pretty much exclusively wearing hand-knit socks for the last few years and I can’t imagine going back to store-bought. I don’t have any single pair, but as a whole, they’re a can’t-live-without knit.

    The second is my Burrard cardigan (wearing it now, actually), which I didn’t totally love when I finished it (I wished it was a little longer, had blocked out with a smidge more ease, etc.) but I when it gets cold it’s the first knit I reach for. I love the cables, the love the way it has loosened up with wear, and I really love the patina the wooden buttons have taken on with age. If I knit it again, there are definitely do some things differently, but I’m not sure I’d actually want to change the one I have now, which has become a kind of perfect sweater for me.

  20. Easy question to answer … The cashmere small lace neck scarf i knit 20 years ago … I wear it most cold days under my larger “outdoor” scarves!

  21. I’ve been reading the blog regularly for quite a while now but haven’t commented before, so hello to everyone :-)

    This is such a neat question, and I think one that can reveal how different handmade items are from store-bought clothes and accessories — you do want to wear handmade items more often, don’t you? Since I learned to knit a few years ago, I’ve been able to make myself sweaters that completely took over my winter wardrobe. I’m just lovingly wearing them out and trying to gradually add new ones to the rotation and repair the older ones.

    Apart from sweaters, I end up wearing shawls a lot in the cold months — something I would have never expected before I became a knitter. This shawl — http://www.ravelry.com/projects/JanKamila/cladonia-3 — (the pattern is Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur) has been keeping me warm for, I believe, four winters now. And I think the colors make me happier as I make my way through the snow.

  22. The only thing I’ve ever knit for myself is a pair of 70 Yard Mitts so they win by default, but I really did wear them every morning last winter. I’d never had fingerless gloves before and I love that they keep my hands snug while leaving my fingers free to do things (unlike the full gloves I had to wear when I lived in Scotland). My goal is to knit something else for myself this year!

  23. I have four Mondo Cable pullovers that rotate in my wardrobe as my go to sweater. So wearable, and they just fit really well.

  24. Well it’s winter in Wisconsin and we just had a snowstorm yesterday (nothing like in New England, but still, 8.5″ is enough, thanks) and I have to say the knit I can’t live without is my Blackberry Bramble cowl out of ultra alpaca yarn (blogged here: http://madtownmamaknits.blogspot.com/2014/04/blackberry-bramble.html)
    It keeps me warm no matter what. I can bike to work in single digit temps with it double-wrapped around my face or unloop it to hang loosely around my neck if it’s slightly chilly indoors.
    I’ve made lots of sweaters and I wear them often but I’m still on a quest for the perfect one…

  25. Indeed there are 3 pieces:
    My quick to knit Spirogyra in my purse or on my arms almost every day:
    My ever favorite knitting project, the 5.th just on the needles: Shetland Triangle.
    Mostly loved in silk here:
    and in Kaleido bamboo from the french La Droguerie (no pictures).
    Also this one (can’t find my own blogpost, just the pin)

    Thanks for this input and I’m glad you enjoy your sweater.

  26. My olive green heather Aidez was my favorite. I gained some weight so I don’t feel as comfortable wearing it (gosh, that was so hard to admit). In its heyday, I wore it so often, definitely a couple times a week. I miss wearing it! I’m hoping the Uniform cardigan I’m working on will fill that void.

  27. I was about to think about sweaters, but the thing I really wear most is my Lascala scarf which I knitted some years ago – never got around to putting photos on ravelry, but here’s someone on Ravelry who did the same colours: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/GuapaM/lascala. I wear it everyday in winter and am always happy to take it out when along with my other winter things. The knitting isn’t perfect, I’ve learnt so much since then, but the colours are fantastic and make me so happy!

    Sweater-wise, I have a lot of hopes for my new Diary Cardigan (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/diary) in blue-grey alpaca. Wearing it for the first time today!

  28. Man this is a hard question because I love each of my knits for different reasons. The one I’d wear everyday if I could is the patternless v neck pullover that I designed for myself. I got the neckband perfect and since it’s made to my dimensions if fits like a dream. I knit it in Malagrigo Arroyo, which is a sport weight yarn. It’s a twilight blue and I really love it. I also can’t imagine doing without my lady Eleanor entrelac wrap. The first one I knitted became an impromptu gift for a 69 th birthday. I missed it so much that I knit another. The thing is, I’ve never worn it as a wrap but it’s my lap blanket. I’m always cold, so I take it whenever I travel for an extra layer on the bed, in the car, on the airplane, whatever. It’s like a teddy bear now, a comfort item. Plus I love looking at it since its knit with 4 different color ways of Noro silk garden. Endlessly entertaining.

  29. I love my linen Strathcona scarf in Sparrow Blue Spruce. I love the color, love the feel of the linen, love the bias drape of the design. It’s comfortable to wear most of the year here in the PNW. I wore it again today and got 2 more compliments, one from a friend and one from a stranger!

  30. I read this blog post the other day and I keep thinking about it! Its a difficult question for me, apparently, because I can’t decide. The item I probably wear the most is a striped cowl I knit out of kidsilk haze 4 years ago. It is lightweight, warm, and goes with everything and I put it on almost every day despite having a closet full of other scarves and shawls to choose from.

    But in the last few years I have knit some sweaters that I absolutely love and would wear every day if I could. Probably the top two would be Riddari (the most comfortable, cozy sweater I have knit) and Stasis, also really comfortable and cosy, but not wearing as much as nicely.

    And finally, the knit I am most proud of is probably Demi. It is incredibly warm, so I don’t wear it as much, but I do love it.

    Thanks for letting me share! It was fun to think about!

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  38. No question it’s my Cria cardigan, in a light grey it goes with everything, its Alpaca so its light and warm and travels really well. I need to start thinking about my next one though because I never want to be without one!

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