The Cara sweater, my new ‘old friend’!

The Cara sweater, my new ‘old friend’!

Published by Michelle on 6th Sep 2016

It’s sweater season and as I have said before, I have been waiting for the start of this sweater season since the end of the last one.  This is my first Autumn Winter as a yarn shop owner so ‘KNIT ALL THE YARNS’ seems like as good a course of action as any but it’s not just about me anymore so hopefully you’ll like what I’ve made!

My first sweater of the season is Cara from the Dovestone Natural Aran Collection, written by Gudrun Johnston.  It’s the first pattern I’ve knit by Gudrun but it certainly won’t be the last.  The sweater is knit in Baa Ram Ewe Dovestone Aran, Dark Brown (shade 05). 

The Yarn

I’m not going to do a full review of Dovestone Natural Aran because TLYC only has the loveliest yarn (of course!) but to say that it is my new favourite Aran weight yarn is more than fair.  I am a big WYS Fleece fan and will be knitting this pattern in that yarn as well, but there is something really gorgeous about the combination of specific wools in this yarn that makes it very special.   

The Pattern

There were two choices for first sweater knit of the season and I debated which of Strokkur and Cara to knit first for quite a while.  In the end I chose Cara because I thought I would get more wear out of it due to the style and even as I started knitting it, I knew I had made the right decision.   Now that I’ve finished it, I am besotted.  As a combination, this pattern and yarn are amazing together.  The 6.5mm needles combined with the already soft Dovestone Aran makes it super cosy.

Cara Jumper from The Natural Aran Collection

I really love the shape of this sweater, it's so flattering!

There are so many things to like about the pattern that I’ve made a list!

  • . No seaming as it’s knit in the round with picked up arms
  • . Short row, three needle cast off shoulders are my absolute favourites as they come out so beautifully (plus I am one of the worst at shoulder seaming)
  • . The instructions in the pattern were all I needed to complete the techniques I don’t always use – particularly for the shoulder wrap and turns
  • . The pattern includes the detail to get a high quality finish and doesn’t assume knowledge
  • . The different textures created by the ribbing and broken stocking stitch


The different textures in the Cara sweater

Ribbing, garter stitch & broken stocking stitch make this so special 

I’ll stop blowing smoke now but it’s safe to say this is my new knit-in-all-the-yarns sweater replacing Kim Hargreaves Grace (which I will always love!).

My 'Unique Features'!

I may own a yarn shop but I am just an ordinary knitter so my knits always have some lovely ‘unique features’, so many that I’ve made another list:

  • . I learnt I could do a short row stocking stitch sleeve cap before I read the pattern properly and changed it to the required garter stitch sleeve cap
  • . I’m pleased with how the magic loop worked in the sleeves but my tension is quite loose as that is my style when I knit on large interchangeable needles
  • . The size is not one on the pattern as I cast on 4 less stitches than required for the 38.5’ (I miscounted that well!) so up to the armhole shaping is half way between sizes at which point it becomes the 36.25’ size with 2 extra little stitches in each sleeve which become quite a unique single rib element!

Michelles end of Pattern Report

 I would definitely go for detention if knitting was an alternative to lines!

A little commitment is required ...

Culturally I think it’s fair to say that as an Irish person, I would be mortified to comment on the affordability of things (in case someone would think I couldn’t afford something, even if I blatantly couldn’t – that Gucci dress, why, yes, very reasonable!) so all I’ll say is that this is a beautiful yarn, you absolutely get what you pay for but it is a commitment to buy jumper quantities of it. 

Due to this, I would say that this yarn is only for you or for someone who will really appreciate it and look after it.  If you are knitting for someone who loves a knitted sweater but won’t look after it, then, this yarn is not for a sweater for them.  There are great washable aran alternatives.  It’s a bit like the Yorkie bar ad except less sexist: Dovestone, not for washing machine warriors.  So when you sit down to use this yarn, ensure you have a pattern you love for yourself or that the item is for someone who appreciates beautiful yarn.

If you are thinking about it but hesitating over jumper quantities, I recommend doing a single skein project to see if you like it.  The Arika Cowl from The Natural Aran Collection is a beauty and can be made from a single skein of Dovestone Aran.

 Arika Cowl

The Arika Cowl (Image Copyright of Baa Ram Ewe)

There are very few yarns that I have made jumpers in without trying in small quantities first – I have an 800g 100% Alpaca sweater from Toft Alpaca but I tried the yarn in a small quantity first because the sweater price seemed eye watering until I did that & then I knew it was worth it. 

So …

In short, if you are looking for something really special, this is the yarn for you.  If you are looking for a really wearable, super cosy sweater, this is that pattern for you.  And you can find both of them right here at The Loveliest Yarn Company (bet you're surprised!) - the yarn is here & the pattern book is here.  Also to celebrate Autumn Winter 2016, the following discount codes can be used in your basket, before you check out. Enter code AW201650 for a 10% discount on orders over £50 and AW2016100 for a 12.5% discount on orders over £100.  These are valid until the end of September!

Now I am off to finish my Filey Gloves as I think I have found the knit that everyone is getting for Christmas!


Oh and photos of me wearing my new love ... I'm a 12/14 & there is some positive ease in the jumper in this size.

I’d love to know what you think or if there are ways in which I can provide better detail about the patterns and yarn available, please let me know.

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