I can’t believe I didn’t write (not even) one post about The Dude Sweater that I made for Justin a while back. I mean, this was an epic project that I had planned as a freaking Halloween costume gag, but ended up taking me two years, and now I just ripped it all back to do it all again.
Well, I have reasons.
First, let’s talk about the original sweater. I had a nice big bag of virgin wool; certainly enough to make Justin a Dude Sweater (DS), so I set out on it. I don’t remember if I swatched it or not because a) I was a less experienced knitter back then and b) I just don’t remember. I can’t imagine myself not swatching it, but somehow I also can imagine myself not swatching it. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because a few things happened over those years.
First, I truly learned how to knit within this time frame. Oh, sure, I’ve been knitting for a long time, but not really fitted garments. Mostly I just made hats, socks, scarves, cowls: the kinds of things you don’t necessarily need to follow a pattern, but also can. These types of things can be fit along the way, so it’s really not terribly important to swatch, even though sometimes I did anyway.
Anyway, when I embarked on the DS, I followed the pattern for a “large,” which, admittedly, would be rather large because the sweater is built with a lot of ease, and is loose and sloppy, as worn by The Dude in The Big Lebowski for which DS is monikered.
When I started the sweater, Justin weighed over 200lbs, and had long hair like The Dude, so a large was an appropriate fit and stylistic choice, and it was great while it lasted, but… we had some idea to get into better health, and he lost over 50lbs, and so the sweater now (already considered with much ease) hangs on him like a child in his grandfather’s coat. I mean it looks ridiculous, and because it is so big and bulky, he never wore it.
So it sat in the closet for a while. I continued to knit and sew different things and learned that I’m actually a pretty good knitter. In our closet, I would see it frequently, and the thought would ruminate: “I should just re-do that do-do.”
I should add that when I made the original DS, I didn’t have matching yarn for the contrasting colors, so I used what was in my stash, and, well, some of that was some very cheap acrylic yarn. That actually bothered me later, even though it looked pretty good. It gave concern with washing the sweater because I had mixed some weird fibers together and also, I didn’t know what the other contrasting color was at all. It could have been wool, a wool blend, a synthetic and wool blend: nobody knows because so little in my stash has actual labels. Sigh.
Now, this is where part deux of the Dude deux comes in: the pattern I used was a free pattern from Ravelry. It was fine, but there was a lot of seaming to do, and overall it was not that fun to knit. The same woman who published that original sweater pattern published another one with a knitter in mind, so it should be actually more fun to knit up, so… what does a knitter with a big-ass sweater made of vintage virgin wool do? Well, she buys the new pattern, and unravels all of which she raveled formerly in effort to ravel it once again.
So here we are. I’m using all the original vintage wool for the body of the sweater. I was able to find two more skeins of the same wool for the contrasting colors and I’m dying them Justin’s homemade walnut ink. So the sweater will look very similar, but will have some very significant differences.