A Fine Finish: The Central Park Hoodie

I finally finished the Central Park Hoodie (a.k.a. "The CPH"). I'm only a couple months behind my own schedule—this project was my second knit-a-long with all of you, and most of you speedy knitters finished on time or soon afterward. Not that that's important, mind you—in knitting, speed only matters around a holiday/birthday, etc. Am I right??

I did want to get this finished, though, because I wanted to actually wear it. It's been chilly here, and I needed a new sweater! Well, mission accomplished. It's done now and I love it. Let me count the ways:

1. The Yarn: Truth be told, I didn't love this yarn when I first started knitting. It's Tahki Donegal Tweed, and it was quite scratchy on the hands while knitting. I got used to it, though, and I never got bored with the color (plus, I got a screaming deal on this at the annual sale at my LYS!). Still, I was a bit worried that the finished sweater would be too itchy. But I don't have problems with wool next to my skin and I thought I'd always wear a long-sleeved shirt under the sweater, so I figured all would be well. And it is! After blocking, the sweater really softened up, and it has a wonderful drape—sturdy but yielding. I was afraid my that my gauge was a bit small and the fabric would be stiff, but it's perfect. And I know so many people that have made this sweater, most out of an alpaca or an alpaca blend, and it's really soft but too stretchy. So, check: good yarn choice!

2. The Cables: This sweater has relatively simple cable work—a six-stitch right-cross cable and a six-stitch left-cross cable—but it allowed me to perfect my favorite cabling without a needle method. This was especially great on the back piece because there's a left-cross cable and a right-cross cable right next to each other. If you haven't tried this cable technique, give it a shot. I think you'll like it.

3. The Variations: There are a couple of variations that people in the KAL did. One is the beautiful Viking Cable variation by Lisa Kay on Ravelry. It's a stunning braided cable and it's not difficult, either. If the CPH is in your queue, consider this variation. (I would have done this if I'd seen it before I was half-way through the back!) Some people also put in pockets. There are a couple of pocket variations, I did the simple side-seam pockets, but my friend Audrey did the front pockets with the cable on the edge. There's also an option to work the cable up the hood or just to do a stockinette hood. I did the stockinette hood. Finally, there are several ways to close the sweater: buttons, zipper, or no closure at all. I'm going to put in a zipper. Hopefully I'll do that soon.

4. The Finishing: You are all going to think I'm crazy, but I love finishing, and this sweater had a ton of it. The ribbing band was a big undertaking; I did half at a time, going from the top of the hood to the waistband, and then sewing the short seam at the top. I used two 24-inch needles to knit this long band, using them as if they were straight needles. I didn't have a long enough circular needle to do the whole thing on one needle.

5. The Wearing: I've worn this sweater a couple of times now, and I've really enjoyed it. The color is great with jeans, and I have a pair of silver-gray chords that really makes the pink color look beautiful. It's been unseasonably rainy here; the yarn repels water, and the hood is great on a rainy day! Donegal Tweed is also one of those wools that's warm enough for outside and not too horribly hot inside. I think this one is going on my Favorite Knitted Jackets list.

So all in all, a fine finish for this, my last sweater project of 2009.

Speaking of 2009…

All of us at Knitting Daily send you our best wishes for a healthy, happy, peaceful, prosperous, and altogether fabulous new year. My family hosts an annual New Year's Eve open house, and I know one of my toasts will be to my new Knitting Daily friends, thanking you for your generous welcome into your life every day. I'm so grateful for all of you!

Here's to us, and much knitting fun in 2010!



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