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pirate sweater

January 24, 2007


Jerry is a warm boy.  He complains every time I ask him to put on a coat to go outside.  He routinely wears shorts and t-shirts around the house in the middle of winter.  He got into the habit last month of climbing into bed with us during the night and I’d snuggle him up under my covers.  Later I’d wake up only to find he had kicked all the covers off and was laying there in his summer pajamas sleeping soundly.

I knit him a sweater anyway, knowing full well that he might never actually be cold enough to wear it.


Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Saddle-Shoulderedt Sweater from Knitting Without Tears.  The skulls came from Hello Yarn’s free hat pattern.
Yarn: Dale of Norway Falk in colors 9331 (natural) and 0090 (black).
Needles: US 3 circular & dpn bamboo for body and sleeves, US 2 circular aluminum for hem facings.
Start: January 2, 2007
Finish: January 22, 2007

I have much to say about this sweater.  Where should I start?

Jerry loves it.  It fits him great.  Although he was getting tired of trying it on for fittings, he actually wore it to storytime at the library today and he did not ask me to take it off even one time!  If he never wears it again, I will still be happy knowing that he likes it.

The pattern was great.  You know how you can read through a pattern a thousand times because you’re not sure you get it?  That’s what I did here.  As I was working on the body and sleeves, I kept flipping to the directions and reading them over and over.  It made a little sense, but I wasn’t sure.  When I finally did start the yoke shaping, it was all clear on the very first round.  I did exactly what she said, it made sense, and within 24 hours I was finished knitting (once you join body and sleeves it progresses “like a house on fire” I think she says).

For the hems, I tried casting on provisionally.  For the record I dislike the provisional cast-on a great deal.  I think that I am able to do it correctly, but something always goes wrong.  The night I began, Gerald actually left the room because I was giving off such a negative vibe.  Next morning I just cast on regularly, knit the hem facing in a contrasting yarn, purled a turning round, then began the body.  When all the knitting was done, I sewed the cast-on edge to the inside.  I am not opposed to trying the provisional cast-on again, but my way came out just how I wanted it to.



The color chart was adapted from We Call Them Pirates, a hat pattern that I’ve made before.  I added the stripes on the sleeves to make it more pirate-y.  The skulls were amazingly wonky while I was knitting them.  So wonky, in fact, that I considered ripping the whole thing out and swatching again.  If there’s one thing you need to know if you’re new at colorwork, a good dunk does amazing wonders.  WONDERS.  Don’t get discouraged until you’ve blocked your work.

To change the pattern to fit my four year old, I did a few things differently.  I cast on 25% of the body stitches for the sleeves.  When I calculated 20% (what EZ suggests for an adult), it was too few stitches.  Basically, I arbitrarily chose 25% and I was lucky that it worked.  When I started calculating the numbers for the saddles, it seemed like there would be too few stitches left over for the neck opening.  Since I had a pretty good idea of how the sweater was coming together at the neckline, I intuitively did what I thought would work.  Again, with luck on my side, it did work.


I did not bind off any stitches at the neck opening.  After completing the back of neck shaping, I knit a few rounds plain then purled one round as the turning row.  Then I used a smaller needle to knit the facing with a contrasting yarn and sewed down each stitch to the inside.  Without a constrictive bind-off, the neck remains stretchy enough to easily fit over Jerry’s head.


I love it.  Like all my knitting projects, I certainly had times while knitting that I hated the whole thing altogether.  But this one is a keeper.  I am proud of myself.

One more thing.  Soon, hopefully today, I’ll post info on the two knitalongs that this sweater was knit for: Zimmermania and We Call Them Pirates Knitalong.  Both awesome groups of inspiring knitters.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2007 5:05 pm

    This is great! Very nice job! Your boy is very lucky to have mother like you!

  2. January 24, 2007 5:06 pm

    WOW. Just, wow. That is SO cool. I *love* it. Fabulous, fabulous job. He looks great in it.

  3. January 24, 2007 5:25 pm

    Wow – that’s extra helpings of cute. And so well done! Bravo!

  4. January 24, 2007 5:40 pm

    WOW!! Fantastic. Beautiful sweater, beautiful son, beautiful photos! Really inspiring. I’m anxiously awaiting a yarn order so I can begin an EZ sweater and this is making it very hard to be patient!

  5. Chelsie permalink
    January 24, 2007 6:07 pm

    you choose the best designs for your children! They both look so well dressed in whatever you decide to knit for them. What a handsome little pirate-boy! Way to go super-mom!

  6. January 24, 2007 7:00 pm

    awww, that is just so sweet! I mean cool! He looks very handsome!

  7. January 24, 2007 7:01 pm

    Thanks for posting Jerry’s sweater with all the great detail! I am looking for a sweater to knit for my grandson and I think this is the one! I may have to borrow some of your great ideas – I promise to give you credit and post it on the EZ kal (it won’t be done in time for the WCTP kal). Your color work turned out beautifully. Very Inspiring — and so cool that your son really likes it!

  8. January 24, 2007 7:31 pm

    What a great sweater! I love the skull pattern detail. The Baby Tomten you did earlier is also looking fantastic! Congrats for the Fab FOs.

  9. kathleen permalink
    January 25, 2007 12:15 am

    okay…it’s a good thing that I like you so much or the green-eyed monster might make downright envy the prevailing feeling…..goodness, those kiddos are darling. Oh yeah, they’re related to me….ain’t I lucky?

  10. January 25, 2007 1:43 am

    Wow, you did an amazing job. Nicely done.

  11. January 25, 2007 12:57 pm

    That sweater is great! The fit is perfect and the standing was very well done (and I LOVE the additions of the stripes on the arms!), and your son looks so cute wearing it!! You should be proud of yourself, that is awesome work!

  12. Angie permalink
    January 25, 2007 2:38 pm

    That sweater is ADORABLE, in a very piratey way. Thanks for sharing, I love the arm stripes.

  13. January 25, 2007 3:50 pm

    Thank you for this! I just bought yarn to make a EZ raglan for my just-turned-four-year-old. I’m not brave enough for any color work besides a few stripes (he wants blue & red like Spider-man) but you are inspiring me…lovely work!

  14. January 25, 2007 5:52 pm

    Cute sweater! I’ve got some yarn I’ve been meaning to knit up for my son, but I’ve been wondering if how I might have to modify EZ’s percentages for a child.

    I love the pirate border!

  15. January 25, 2007 6:20 pm

    Lovely! And pirate-y!

  16. January 25, 2007 8:58 pm

    punk rock pirate! what a cool looking combo for a cool kid!

  17. January 26, 2007 8:03 am

    what a beautiful sweater! yours turned out great! i think i may do the saddle-shouldered type for my younger son.

    what i did for the sleeves… i cast on 33% of the body stitches and just knit them straight. i think they look fine and fit well. 20% was too small.

  18. January 26, 2007 12:27 pm

    Oh my, what a cute little boy you have! And the sweater/hat are cute too. 🙂 I was directed here by a bloggerfriend because I just finished a Pirates hat for my 4.5yr old. Now I’m knitting a pirate-y sweater to go with. I’m using a pattern from a Zoe Mellor book, but I love how your sweater came out-I might have to try it with another one for my smaller boy.

  19. January 26, 2007 9:27 pm

    While your sweater looks great. I love the color work that you did with the sweather! Keep up the good work.


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