The Virtues of A Fisherman’s Knit

Who doesn’t love a fisherman’s knit sweater? So distinctive and cozy. I was given one when I was 11 or 12 — the first of several over the course of my life (so far). The only downside to the fisherman’s knit is bulk. They are not svelte.

In moments of low vanity (waning vanity, depressed vanity), I have recently been wanting a not-svelte fisherman’s knit. I have been wanting heavy sweaters generally — I think because The Photographer and I cannot agree on the right temperature for the apartment and it is often colder than I like.
The Directrice is cold
Baby, It’s Cold Inside

But it’s all about balance, you know. The heavy sweater is managed by wearing an ultra-light shirt under it: a dotted-swiss popover.
The tiny collar and curved shirt-tail hem seem just right with the sweater.
This charming one
I was craving this sweater

Side vents, tail
Many charming features: exaggerated ribbing at the waist, side vents, tail
This sweater is clever. To compensate for bulk, the designer mixed knitting stitches on the front — cables contrasted with exaggerated ribbing — and shaped back with half cables.

Posy was hanging around while we took pictures. Can I be faulted for thinking that she wanted to be in a photo?
Liquid cat cannot be held in one's arms
No, Directrice, you cannot be faulted; but Liquid Cat cannot be held in one’s arms

This is what a good cat looks like
This is what a good cat looks like
Harper passed through the studio, too.

Look at that face! Who could deny her anything?
Such a good cat! Harper was patient for a half dozen pictures
Such a good cat! Is she trying to hypnotize The Photographer? De-materialize him?

A Question for Readers: Why do ivory-colored sweaters darken over the years and turn from ivory to a yellowed bone color? It’s a distressing phenomenon. Can it be reversed or prevented? Material scientists, engineers, and laundry enthusiasts: Please explain.
Have a fantastic holiday weekend!
Boots, cat
Harper improves every photo, lends her cachet to boots, rug

Sweater: Veronica Beard Rhea Sweater (still available in charcoal); Blouse: JCrew; Jeans: JCrew; Boots: 8 from YOOX; Watch: Shinola Birdy

8 thoughts on “The Virtues of A Fisherman’s Knit”

  1. Those boots – some of my favorites of yours. I don’t wear cream at all – I need a starker white, so I avoid that color, but I’m thinking that with some mild bleaching or adding Oxyclean to the water, you could brighten the dulling. I’m digging that side view of the sweater – I see a vent and an uneven hem front/back. The cable knit is lovely. And I like the jeans turned up… like you were thinking about doing at the end 😉

  2. Directrice, I recently purchased a sweater jacket that ultimately did not work for me, but I thought might actually be of interest for you:

    I am, er, more generously endowed up top, and this does not have the shaping I need for it to be flattering, but the knit was lovely and thick, and the ruffles were a fabric that felt comfortable against the skin. So I thought I’d bring it to your attention. If you’re interested, I think it may run _slightly_ smaller than standard J. Crew.

  3. All knitting craftspeople have the fun opportunity to design the fashion fit with types of stitches like sewing enthusiasts can with dart placement. Your sweater was amazingly thought out and very pretty. I also liked the jeans cuffed but everyone will have a viewpoint on “to cuff or not to cuff”….the fisherman sweater will always be an icon.

  4. Wool sweaters should be washed with Eucalan or Soak. (I prefer Eucalan.) I am wearing a sweater made of Icelandic wool that I made 30 years ago, and the natural ivory color is just as fresh and pretty as when I bought it as yarn. Almost anything besides Eucalan or Soak will leave a bit of residue that changes the color and is not good for the wool. Make a big bowlful of tepid water and mix in some (1 teaspoon? 2 teaspoons?) Eucalan. Swirl it about. Add in your sweater. Push it down until it has (finally) soaked up all the water. Soak it for 15 minutes. Gently squoosh it for a minute or two. Support its weight as you lift it out of the bowl and dump the dirty water out. You might wish to repeat the process, or you might decide (I usually do) that once was enough. Squish the sweater to squeeze water out of it, never twisting it or wringing it (hello, felted wool!) and always keeping its weight supported. Spread a big ole towel out. Lay the sweater onto it. Lay another towel on top. Roll it all up. Step on the towel/sweater/towel roll to force more water into the towels. (When you were a child, did you ever step on your parent’s back as a form of massage?) Unroll. Lay the sweater out onto a fresh, dry towel which is atop a wool rug, or a bedspread, or a mesh drying rack. Pat it into shape—shoulders even, waist ribbing pulled in to make it skinnier, etc. Wait for it to dry. (Switch it onto a different dry towel partway through if you wish.) Don’t put forced warm air onto it or introduce friction, unless you want a felted doll’s sweater.

    Lots of detail there, but then, I like my knits to LAST. P.S. The eucalyptus smell is faint once you are wearing the sweater, but they do make an unscented version.


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