Jump(er)! Jump(er)! Jump(er)! (…or some very delayed Christmas knitting)

Hello!  A few of you may have noticed that I’ve started to reappear back in blogland this past week or so, so this is my first attempt to try to catch up on all the projects that I’ve not yet blogged.  I guess I stopped writing because I didn’t think I had much that was new or interesting to say, and then because I wanted to spend as much time as possible sewing and knitting leading up to Christmas.  20140312-175551.jpgI ended up making three jumpers for my family (and in time too!), so I thought it’d make more sense to write about them before I inflict a ton of new stuff on you all!  I really missed chatting to you all, so I hope you will forgive me for my extended absence and come back to say hello!

The first thing I managed to finish was a cardigan for my sister using the Deco pattern by Kate Davies. I have salivated over this pattern for years, but living in Singapore, there seemed little point in making it for myself, so I thought my sister might like it instead. I bought what I thought was enough wool, but soon realised I could possibly be short by about 70 metres. Off to the shop I zoomed to discover, yep, you guessed it, that colourway is discontinued! After various ideas (knitting a smaller size, making it short sleeved), I decided to knit the button band, collar and waistband in a contrasting colour if I needed to. 20140312-175414.jpgThis meant I had to cast on provisionally (this is a great link if you’ve never tried it with the commentator going straight in to the demonstration) so I could return to the waistband in a different colour if need be.  I actually turned out to have JUST enough (I think I have 10cm left!) of the yellow wool left to complete it, but I really enjoyed the provisional cast on so will definitely be using it again!  The cardigan is knit as one piece and has a beautiful slipped stitch pattern reminiscent of Art Deco and New York’s skyscraper architecture (for more on this, please read Kate Davies’s discussion of her inspiration here).  As usual, Kate Davies instructions are very well written and straightforward to follow, so this cardigan was pretty quick to knit up (it took me just over a month!)  The finishing took me AGES though!  I have no idea why I find it so hard to sew in all the ends and block knits, but for some reason it is utterly beyond me to do it immediately (which is quite similar to my attitude towards hemming…).  Anyway, I finished it mid-October and I now had only two more (?!) jumpers to go!

20140312-175848.jpgThe second jumper (Marash) took much much longer because it was for my Dad.  The pattern itself is a lot simpler than Deco, but because of my inability to finish things once they’ve been knit, I decided to modify the pattern from flat to in-the-round.  My Dad’s jumper is from Rowan Magazine 54 and is designed by Martin Storey.  Martin Storey is one of my favourite knitwear designers because he uses bright, highly patterned Fair-Isle motifs with rough-tough tweedy wool, all of which I have a real weakness for!  Marash is probably one of his tamer designs, but I thought my Dad would prefer that to the kind of pattern madness I really wanted to knit.  I heavily modified the pattern to enable me to knit this on DPNs (double pointed needles), knitting it entirely in the round until I reached the armpits.  I used short rows to shape the top of the sleeves and knit them directly on to the body of the jumper.  Because this jumper has such strong stripes, I used the slip stitch method to prevent a stepped appearance where the seam begins and ends.

Crocheted edges have started to be cut open

Crocheted edges have started to be cut open

Most of the wool I used was already in my stash and I was extremely lucky to not run out of all colours before the end.  All my mods for this jumper can be seem on my Ravelry page here.

Okay, so we’re now in mid November and I still have one more jumper to knit and get in the post before December 17th (the last possible post day from Singapore to the UK)!  My mum requested this jumper after seeing the baby version that I knit for my niece last spring.  She wanted it in the original colourway, and so I tried to match up the wool available to me.  This pattern is yet another Kate Davies design – Blaithin.    Blaithin is Irish for “little flower” which was originally why I knit it for my niece (my husband is Irish), and the pattern has lots of tiny mosaic-like flowers around the yoke.  I used a very tough, extremely warm wool from Iceland called Lett Lopi as a substitute for the jumper, and ordered it from a very small supplier in the UK called Meadow Yarn.

Blaithin is fully steeked and I have started to pick up stitches for the buttonbands

Blaithin is fully steeked and I have started to pick up stitches for the buttonbands

Meadow Yarn are extremely fast and efficient and I cannot recommend them enough (especially if you live in the UK)!

The only modifications I made to the pattern were to leave out the pockets and not to knit on circular needles (I don’t actually own any…).  This pattern is again knit-in-the-round, but this time it is steeked to make it into a cardigan.  While I have done steeking once before, I was a little more nervous this time particularly with the looming time constraints.  Lopi has very “grippy” fibres which cling to each other making it highly unlikely to fall apart when you cut it up, so luckily the steeking was not a disaster (phew!).  Steeking really is an excellent way to knit once you get over the initial fear of cutting up your knitting and I would be happy to help anyone who wanted to try it!20140312-175426.jpg

Right!  All done!  I am so happy I finally managed to finish a post!  I really couldn’t have finished the jumpers without all the encouragement from my lovely Instagram friends, kohlrabibohemia and blanka, who were both constantly chivying and cheering me on when I thought I would never finish!  Thank you both so much!  All my detailed notes are on Ravelry (I’m NishiRono on there so come and be my friend so I can admire your lovely projects!) and I will be back on here soon with some more knitting and lots and lots of sewing!  Bye for now!

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4 responses to “Jump(er)! Jump(er)! Jump(er)! (…or some very delayed Christmas knitting)

  1. Hello, good to see you! All of your jumpers are lovely, but I adore the Blaithin. It’s gorgeous! I’ve recently looked at the pattern, but I’m still to scared to attempt knitting it. Kate Davies has all these amazing patterns … and I agree, they’re all very well-written. I’ve made two of them so far and both have been a pleasant experience.

    • It’s lovely to see you too! Thank you! I think the Blaithin was the fastest jumper I’ve ever made! I really need to start Christmas presents earlier… Do you know anyone with kids? You could make the children’s Blaithin to practice your steeking skills first? It’s really a great deal less scary than it seems, I promise! I think I have a Kate Davies obsession – it’s just very lucky that I don’t live somewhere cold enough to encourage it!

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