Projects of 2020: Parker Cardigan
Yarn: Purl Soho Good Wool in Hickory Nut
Size Made: 3rd
Changes to Pattern: None
Worn With: Hadley Top, Bryr Clogs, TiroTiro Necklace
I have so much to say about this cardigan. First of all, I absolutely love it. Not just because it fits great, was calming to knit, and works well with my wardrobe, but also because of everything that went into knitting it.
The Parker Cardigan was originally released as part of Julie Hoover’s Sweater Club in October of 2018. I ordered it right away knowing it would get a ton of wear, but needed to finish up some other projects before I got started on it. I’m one of those people who gets stressed out with too many projects going at one time. Typically I like to only have one knitting project on the needles at a time, so it arrived and I packed it away into my knitting cabinet.
As I passed through my horrible fall of 2019, I decided that I needed to go to therapy. I found a therapist and once she learned that I use knitting to reduce anxiety in social settings and give my hands something to do, she encouraged me to bring my knitting into our sessions. In order for this to work I needed an easy to knit project where I didn’t need to pay attention to stitch pattern, increases, or decreases, and Parker fits that bill below the waist, so I swatched and cast on.
Everything was moving along, the therapy and the knitting, then at the beginning of February Oaty (my perfect beagle who you’ll know if you follow my personal Instagram account) slipped on the wood floors while playing in our living room and injured her back. It was horrible. She was basically paralized from the mid-back down and in a lot of pain. We took her to the emergency vet who prescribed an anti-inflammatory and crate rest and told us we might want to talk to a dog surgeon because she likely slipped a disc in her back and would need surgery to repair it.
Oaty did not take well to crate rest so our vet said sitting with her on the couch would be fine as long as she isn’t moving around, jumping, and is calm. So there Oaty and I were, hanging out on the couch together, knitting and resting, me bringing her food and water because she was unable to get up for either. I got a lot of knitting done during this time and my Parker cardigan progressed pretty rapidly. By the beginning of March Oaty was regaining some mobility and I was ready to cast on the two pieces of the very very long Fisherman’s rib collar.
Of course, then the pandemic hit and with lockdown, we were again relegated to the house. Oaty, Jon and I camped out in our back room resting, stressing, knitting, and watching all the news coverage, press conferences, and TV shows everyone was watching back then, Tiger King, McMillion$ (so good if you haven’t watched) and I forget what else. I finished up the neckbands and was ready to attach them to the body of my cardigan!
I have no idea how I made it through this knit without any major mistakes. Usually there’s one mishap that has me reknitting a portion of a garment, most often because I wasn’t paying attention and went on autopilot. But despite everything going on, I somehow got this one done only knitting everything once. It still boggles my mind!
I absolutely love this cardigan. Not only is it super cozy, it’s perfect over an Archer Button Up which is one of my favorite garments to wear. The yarn was really nice to knit with and isn’t so precious you feel like you shouldn’t be wearing it to death. As the weeks and months went on, Oaty got better and better and I got a lot of use out of my Parker on walks building up her leg strength. Oaty is now pretty much recovered, or as recovered as she will be. She’s able to do most things she could before, though a bit more unsteadily, and has regained her ability to walk, play, run, and cause lots of trouble. The only thing she didn’t regain is her ability to do stairs, though we aren’t sure if that’s from her back or from a year of us telling her no whenever she encountered them. In the mornings if she’s really hungry she’ll occasionally run up the 6 stairs of our back deck from the yard up to the door her food is waiting behind.
SO! That is a very long and roundabout story about the process of knitting my Parker Cardigan! As winter turns to spring here in Chicago it’s back in heavy rotation and looking almost as good as when I finished it. If the thought of that much stockinette doesn’t make you want to cry, I highly recommend making this sweater. As always with Julie’s patterns, the instructions are well written and the finishing techniques are impeccable. 10/10 might actually knit again, but maybe without all the surrounding drama next time.