The Ideal Sweater

I really like Heidi Kirrmaier’s sweater designs. Or I must, since I’ve knit three of them so far this year. (Buttercup, Vitamin D, and Boardwalk)






When she posted a sweater that she called Tea with Jam and Bread, I was really intrigued. It looked really comfy, and just simple perfection.

It was a pre-pattern photo. Maybe she didn’t mean to write a pattern for the sweater, but did because of the overwhelming request that she must have received after putting up her photos.

What really got me was this description of the sweater on her Ravelry project page:

“The spirit behind this design is something cozy you want to throw on top of your pyjamas for breakfast. Of course it would be also great for going to school, the grocery store, a football game, walking your dog, lounging around your home, or whatever else you love – or need – to do. It’s also a nod to the current colour blocking trend, because we all want to look stylish in our hand-knits (even if we are wearing them with our pj’s), right?!”

Of course, it made me wonder. “Hmm. What is MY ideal sweater”? Heidi’s sweater was pretty ideal. But what if I were to customize it more for me? I set out to knit an ideal sweater for myself.

  1. The design and construction. The stripes! It was so cute, and I love the color block on it, and of course, the colors were perfect: 2 shades of grey and an accent color in an orange-y yellow. Heidi let on that it was a top down knit with minimal seaming, with a couple of pockets. I loved everything about this — so I dragged out a couple of top down sweater patterns (in the end, I purchased The Bible of top down knitting, Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top and found Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters on my bookshelf), decided on a crew neck like Heidi — and decided on a raglan sleeve since that is my favorite.
  2. The yarn. Heidi used Brooklyntweed Shelter. While I am a big fan of Brooklyntweed’s colors, I have a sweater knit out of the Shelter yarn that I am not 100% happy with how it has worn. Being gun-shy now on another garment knit out of Shelter, I looked around (not very hard). And gee! The Verdant Gryphon had JUST released a new worsted base, Mondegreen, which is 60% BFL/20% Baby Camel/20% Silk. And I don’t have to remind anyone what I think about the Verdant Gryphon/Cephalopod Yarns (the former Sanguine Gryphon team) colorways. This sweater was JUST the excuse to try this yarn. Off I went, happily to order my yarn. I stayed in a close color choice as the designer’s — except my marmalade is a blood orange marmalade. I love orange, and I love grey. I was all set.
  3. The sleeves. I get the attraction to slouchy sleeves. Comfy. I don’t like ill-fitting sleeves, however, and this is probably because sleeves that are too long makes me feel short. (OK, shorter than I already am!) But I liked the idea of sleeves that came over my knuckles. So I decided to do a 2×2 rib on the entire portion of the sleeve that would go from my wrist bone to my fingers — and insert a thumb hole. This way, I can pull down the sleeves when it was cold and have the sweater look like that is what it is supposed to do — and I can fold it back on top when I was wearing the sweater otherwise.
  4. The pockets. I am a big fan of pockets. I’d rather stick things in them instead of carrying a purse. But the location of the pockets in the original sweater seemed a bit too decorative. Also, I knew that pockets have a tendency to sag (because the pocket that I added on to my Oranje sweater sags). And I decided — what am I likely to be doing when I’m relaxing??? I’m either outside with my dogs, or I am knitting. I decided to morph the pockets into a single big pouch like pocket, buttoned on the top. The pouch is big enough to carry all the accoutrements of dog walking (iPhone, keys, poop bags — although I don’t think I would put keys in these pockets), and it is big enough to hold a small skein of yarn. How perfect is that, right??? Oh and the big bonus is that this sweater is another opportunity for me to showcase some Jennie the Potter buttons! (I really thought about putting lego buttons on there, but decided that would be too childish.

I was excited about this sweater. After a few instances of ripping back to fix a few issues… totally panicking and purchasing the pattern after all in the middle of my knitting frenzy just to make sure all my measurements and calculations were at least close to Heidi’s sweater, I raced through the sweater.

I am finally done. Well, except for the 3 buttons for the top of my pocket which I will pick up from Jennie at Rhinebeck this weekend. Here it is, my version of the comfy sweater. (And that’s Finn’s favorite Mr. Bill toy in the background.)

  1. caityrosey said:

    I’m a fan of her designs too. I’ve only knitted Vitamin D so far, but have a bunch more in my Ravelry favorites.

    That sweater does look cozy. I like that big pocket. Not chic, but so practical. And who cares about chic on a Sunday morning?

    • Let me know if you knit Tea with Jam and Bread “as written”!! (or of course, with your modifications!)

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