Francis: visited, revisited, and revisited again

Francis Revisited

As I said a few weeks ago, there comes a point in the middle of the winter when keeping warm becomes my primary life goal. There are many sweaters I aim to knit this winter but how can I even think straight with chattering teeth and a shivering body? In November, I cast on for the second of three sweaters (this was the first, and the third will be done soon) knit for the express purpose of staying warm. Unbelievably, I knit this in less than one week, knitting only in the evenings and during a few breaks in the day. So this is why people love to knit bulky weight sweaters!

Francis Revisited

Pattern: Francis Revisited by Beth Silverstein (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Cascade Eco Wool, 2 skeins

Needles: US 10 (6.0 mm) for the body, US 9 (5.5 mm) for the cuffs and hem, US 8 for the cowl

Modifications: I used long sleeves, garter stitch in place of seed stitch, a hemmed bottom edge and I used my own shaping instead of the pattern shaping.

The low light conditions of winter

I lengthened and tapered the sleeves, ending with a long garter stitch cuff. I intended to carry this along the cowl and bottom edge; however, each time I tried a garter edge on the bottom, it looked like a large fat roll – not exactly flattering!I reknit the bottom edge at least four times before settling on the hem.

The hem that nearly killed me

Although I am not entirely happy with the hem, I must remember that the primary purpose of this sweater is to keep me warm this winter. Period. In fact, who knows if it will even make it to next winter? I rarely knit with bulky yarns because I doubt their durability. On the other hand, Cascade Eco Wool has a surprisingly tight spin so perhaps it will make it to next winter without pilling and fuzzing.

Francis Revisited

I also recently finished a pair of fingerless mitts in the same frenzy as these sweaters. Sitting at a microscope in a cold room in the middle of winter is probably one of the underlying reasons why I have felt so cold lately. I have not yet decided if these provide enough dexterity for me to do my work but I hope they will.

Endpaper mitts

Pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Reynolds Soft Sea Wool

Needles: US 2.5 (3.0 mm), US 0 (2.0 mm)

In general, I think fingerless mitts are fairly useless when it comes to keeping one’s hands warm. Aren’t the fingers the first to feel cold? Why would anyone take the time to knit mittens that leave the fingers open? I fail to understand the appeal of the fingerless mitt. Nonetheless, I am willing to try them out in a vain attempt to warm up!

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27 comments so far

  1. Chris on

    It looks like a sturdy and warm sweater! And you’ve reminded me that I have a Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran sweater that I should pull out for tomorrow…

  2. beverlyanne on

    Your new sweater looks great. I totally agree with you about fingerless mitts, but I use them because they’re better than nothing when I’m knitting in a cold room and need to use my fingers. They do help some.

  3. Emilee on

    That looks very cozy. Happy new year!

  4. Susan on

    I just tried to buy some Eco-wool at an LYS in Newton (KS) over Christmas, destined for that Urban Aran cardigan Brooklyn Tweed made so popular. When the shop owner went to wind it into (huge) skeins, it was like the hanks were shredded in the middle! So disappointing! She ordered new ones to mail to me here in WI, and I hope they don’t have the same problem. Your new sweater looks great!

  5. Janet on

    By covering your wrists with warm wool you’ll keep your whole body warmer, so even though your fingers aren’t covered you’ll be warmer!

  6. mai on

    great sweater! i need to make myself a sweater with bulky yarn :)

  7. Pat on

    I love your functional sweater binge! I realize that the sweaters I go back to all the time are my plain/simple sweaters – not the fancy shmancy ones!
    and I agree on the fingerless mitts – I want my fingers warm!

  8. Emily on

    Fingerless mitts are great for eg sitting at the computer, or knitting – you’re cold from sitting still, rather than being out in the very cold. Definitely helps!
    Francis is lovely.

  9. =Tamar on

    Another way to keep warm while sitting still: wear a hat. Yes, indoors. Your head can emit a lot of heat.

  10. Kerstin on

    Beautiful work, Lady E! I really like the hemmed edge, I’m going to have to try it. I find fingerless mitts to come in handy while driving. Love the color combo of your endpapers. Stay warm, I know how you feel!

  11. Mandy on

    I was teaching a class on how to knit fingerless mitts and someone asked what the point of them was. I had no answer, and I designed the pattern! Actually, I think the main thing is that they are “fashionable” whatever that means. But you’re right, fingers do stay cold.

  12. stacey on

    Stay warm!!!! That sweater looks super cozy, and I have heard good things about the Eco Wool holding up….as for the fingerless mitts, I love them because I’m on a computer all day – leaves my fingers free to type, but keeps my hands warm. I do have to stop and warm my fingers every once and a while, but it seems like keeping the bulk of my hand warm does help!

  13. Becky on

    Both the sweater and mitts look great!

  14. Holli on

    Wow — you inspire me! Both FOs are incredible.

  15. Sally on

    Hmmm… Now that I think about it, the garter hem would have made it look like a monochromatic Santa Claus jacket.
    The soup I mentioned turned out really well. Very rich and hearty. I’ll run off a copy and bring it the 2nd meeting in January.

  16. Steph on

    I think the sweater has a classic, understated look to it.
    And knitting yourself mitts to use with a microscope? Totally rad!

  17. Kim on

    The sweater turned out great and fits you perfectly. I’ve looked at the Mitts pattern and it’s on “the list.”

  18. Tricia on

    *tosses confetti* Happpy New Yeeeaaarr!! :)
    Naw, you don’t know me…but I like your blog, and I’m hoping to find the tutorial you wrote about back on 01/31/2008. Did you ever post one? If so, please post or send me a link? (You get to keep the confetti, either way.) Thanks!

  19. gleek on

    i have been admiring those long garter cuffs since you first uploaded these pics to flickr. they are awesome! :)

  20. Liz on

    I forgot about the quickness of knitting with bulky yarn! Looks nice and warm..

    Happy new year!

  21. maureen on

    I have always avoided bulky yarn…until now! I absolutely love your sweater and have some Eco in my stash that I retrieved this morning. It was only 11 degrees here last night so I cast on for something warm and toasty!
    Thanks for sharing…love your work!

  22. AJ on

    Lovely sweater. And very lovely Endpaper Mitts. Which reminds me that I need to finish mine up! :)

  23. Nina on

    Is this yarn bulkier than a worsted?
    What was your gauge? Thanks!

  24. Rachel on

    That looks so nice! Your pictures and knitting always inspire me. Now I’m tempted to knit a bulky weight sweater too!

  25. Lesliie on

    Your sweater is so pretty and fits you perfectly! I gave up on sweaters some time ago when I never could get a good fit for myself. Oh, and the thought of wool next to my skin makes me just a little itchy!

  26. tiennie on

    Those are wonderful! You look good in sweaters!

  27. josephine on

    i have to speak out for fingerless mitts!! i thought the same thing, why would people make them? wear them? well, i started knitting and as a small project, i knit some. they are red and alpaca and in the northern italy winter my WHOLE HANDS stayed warm. it was like, the warmth provided the wrist and hand traveled up the fingers and my fingers WERE NOT COLD. it was the most amazing thing. i am still in awe. so, i guess if you make them out of something warm enough, and tuck your fingers inside periodically, your fingers WILL stay warm. it’s amazing. did i say that? ha ha! i’m recently in awe of the colorwork mitts, i hope to start some soon!


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