Sweet Boyfriend Sweater and its Unlikely Source for Inspiration

A retirement gift, a plaque from the District where I worked, beckons me.  It is as if it can talk and recall; that plaque with the Varsity letter.  I hear students’ voices, excited anticipation in the air, their endless desire for learning.  It speaks my tongue and reminds me about lesson planning into wee hours.  It sounds with the hustle bustle of school life:  hallways all abuzz, meetings with teachers and/or parents, the frustrations voiced and the sharing of successes of each day.  One glance at this wall plaque of mounted school letter and personalized engraved plate, now hanging on a wall in my yarn room, does all of that every time I look at it.

The letter is also tactile, soft, and fun.  So, whether it is because the letter is fabric and I am attracted to any and all forms of fiber or because I genuinely miss the school District that I served for most of my career, its presence looms and calls for me to do something creative with it.

As I have spent this last year sorting and re-sorting yarn according to color, fiber content, and weight I came to realize I had these school colors in my super bulky weight collection.  Seeing a surging amount of knitwear walking the runways and making appearances all over the fashion scene in bulky and super bulky weights, I thought, how perfect!  Checking the typical amounts I would need for a standard-sized sweater, I realized I did not have enough of the ‘pluto’.  That is the name of the blue you see in the sweater.  That is when I turned to the black realizing it too was of the same weight and held possibilities of adding it into the color scheme.  I had plenty of gold.  I peeled the Varsity letter off the mounting not knowing whether I would actually sew the letter onto the garment but it clearly was my inspiration and was unknowingly paving the way in my thinking.

Each of these yarns has a bit of a story.  The black Big Wool by Rowan as well as the Big Sky Alpacas Bulky in Pluto were slated for other projects.  The timeliness in knitting those projects has sadly passed and the yarns were looking for a new purpose.  The Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick is remnants from my cape project.

I couldn’t believe how perfect these colors were for this idea.  Now, all I needed was a pattern that was sporty, fashion-forward, and utilized super bulky weight yarns.  These photos helped me in my thinking.

When I think of super bulky and school Varsity letters, I come to the idea of ‘boyfriend’ sweater.  Oversized, bulky, possibly sweatshirt-like in styling, likely a pullover however I could see a cardigan of similar styling, as well.  Using Ravelry’s pattern database and the ability to drill down with criteria of ‘boyfriend’ sweater, ‘letter’ sweater, and the like I came to Kia Ora by Martin Storey.  Perfect, I thought as it had the elements of style I had in mind as well as added features of a high/low hemline and cuffed sleeves.

Super bulky yarn knits up very quickly which is a good thing because you knit this yarn with needles that are very large in diameter.  They seem and feel like tree trunks which are difficult on the hands and almost painful to knit with for extended periods of time.  Martin’s pattern is straight forward and easy to follow.  The colorful stripes are two rows of slip stitches carrying the yarn on the outside to form the stitch you see.

I did have a bit of a redo due to a careless mistake of conversion.  I miscalculated centimeters/ inches equivalents causing the armholes to be too large.  I had to rip out quite a bit but being in bulky yarn, it went quickly and my embarrassment was short lived.

IMG_0166 I think it is fairly obvious why we chose this particular dock.  But, this was also where our very first on-location photo shoot site was adding to the nostalgia of the project.   below ~ circa 2011.

I love my Sweet (Home) boyfriend sweater!  Love live the garment and love live those fond memories it represents!

P.S.  The Varsity letter did not make it onto the sweater, as you can see, however it is safely glued back onto the plaque and the plaque back up on the wall.  Somehow now when I look at it, there is a sense of calming satisfaction.