The Azel Pullover
Have you noticed the ad on Facebook for the Azel Pullover by The Velvet Acorn? I saw it countless times, but only looked into it earlier this month when my niece's mother asked me to knit one. The pattern is very easy to follow. The bulky yarn and large needles make the pullover a quick knit, especially in the child sizes. This would be a great first sweater project because the bind off and pick up for the neck area are reasonably easy due to the super bulky yarn, the cowl style turtle neck hides the picked up stitches, and you don't have to bother with making sleeves.
The pattern comes in eight different size options from a child size 2 all the way to adult L/XL. The size my niece's mother requested was a child's 4/5, but the pattern offers sizes 3/4 or 5/7. Creativity to the rescue as I decided to modify the pattern to make a size in the middle of the two suggested sizes by adding 2 extra stitches to the size 3/4 pattern. Similarly, I added an inch to the size 3/4 length to increase the length so that it was proportional to the added width. I also added 2 stitches when I picked up for the collar. It worked out perfectly!
For the yarn, I selected an affordable, wool/acrylic mix in colorway 0515 Blue of Plymouth Encore Mega. I got 8 3/4 inches out of the first skein of yarn and ended up only using 4 skeins even though I matched the suggested gauge. In addition to adjusting the size, I made two other changes to the pattern. One modification was that I opted for a slightly shorter collar than the pattern recommends so I wouldn't have to use another skein of yarn for a mere two rows. The second modification was that I opted to skip the button holes and sewed the buttons directly onto the finished pullover. The pullover is designed to be worn baggy, so the buttons are more decorative than functional.
I always struggle to find buttons that compliment sweaters perfectly. I ordered from Katrinkles as she offers lots of creative button options (check out the sheep buttons!). I thought these Star Buttons complemented the design of the pullover and added a little something special. I used DMC embroidery floss in color 820 (Very Dark Royal Blue) to make the star detail before using Gutermann thread in color 275 (English Navy) to sew each star onto the sweater. The darker blue color of the threads were a nice compliment to the lighter blue of the yarn. I made sure the buttons were evenly spaced and triple checked the front and back pieces lined up when I sewed on the buttons.
If you are in need of a last minute, special holiday gift for a child, I highly recommend making an Azel Pullover. The super bulky yarn creates a very quick knit that will be great on winter days.
Happy Knitting and Happy Holidays!