I’ve been wanting to show you this, my reindeer sweater, ever since I finished it last week.

I’m so happy with this sweater – the fit and the style. In fact, and this is a first for any article of clothing I’ve ever worn, within 5 minutes of leaving my house on the first day I wore the reindeer sweater, a complete stranger passed me on the skytrain platform and yelled out “That’s an awesome sweater!” I agree.

The reindeer sweater, let’s be honest, is really an imitation Cowichan sweater. As such, I felt that the body should be knit in one piece as is traditional for Cowichan sweaters. It was a bit more pattern revisions than I realized, because of course I wanted the XO panels to be symmetrical and match up. In fact, by the time I got to knitting the sleeves, I couldn’t face the mental acrobatics of making the charts match up, and I knit them flat. I think a better pattern would have had the charts match up for all sizes, and ideally have the body knit in one piece and the arms knit in the round.

What’s more, I knew right away that I didn’t want a muffin-top sweater. You know, the kind that rides up around the waist as soon as you move. Even though I’m a small person, I have a bigger *ahem* bottom area, so I actually knit a large bottom and then added decreases to change it to the medium size somewhere after the first XO panel. Definitely a good move.

A note on zippers – this is the first one I’ve ever inserted into a handknit, and I have a few tips if you’re interested:

1. Baste the fronts together first! A crooked zipper looks pretty trashy.

2. Probably most importantly, choose a zipper that’s a bit shorter than the actual fronts. I know, it doesn’t seem to make sense. But you know the big wavy beer gut your zippered sweater gets when you sit down? A shorter zipper will help fix this problem. Not too short, though; mine was about 5cm (6%) shorter than the sweater (but placed evenly between the neck and bottom).

3. Hand sew the zipper in place – it’s not worth messing with the tension on your sewing machine to accommodate heavy yarn.

My original post generates more views than almost any other topic I’ve blogged about – clearly you people love your Cowichan-style sweaters! If you remember, I was concerned about ripping off real Cowichan sweaters. But I really do love this sweater so much that I hope it can be taken as a tribute to the original style. And it’s a much nicer tribute than the ubiquitous (at least in Vancouver) TNA sweaters everyone’s been wearing, don’t you think?

Pattern: Reindeer Jacket from Canadian Living (ravelry link here)
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool (100% wool)