Hello! Happy New Year everyone. I don’t think I said that in my last blog post. Obviously it’s VERY belated now! Hope everyone is doing well and have a great year ahead!
I was so pleased to get that last blog post finally published. I don’t know why it was taking so long, but I feel like a plug has been pulled and now I feel all wordy again, hurrah!
I am currently writing this post whilst in California. I am here with work for a week and am having a relaxing day before the craziness of the week begins.
As usual I have bought my knitting with me for the plane and the hotel. I LOVE travelling with knitting and have discovered through experience that circular needles work really well, as they are more compact and there is no risk of dropping one and it rolling away down the plane!
This blog post is about my second attempt at Purl Alpaca Design’s Niobe Jumper. If you read my last blog post Purl Alpaca Glacier Cardigan you will know the first attempt was scrapped after disastrous stitch counting meant I had to start all over again pretty much stitches away from finishing! This jumper was actually also knit whilst on holiday in Montenegro and Croatia last year. I like knitting things on holiday as it ties the two memories together, so when I think about knitting the jumper I think about the slightly scary car journeys on Montenegro’s notorious roads or sat on the balcony in the Lustica Peninsula watching the sun set, LOVELY!
For this second attempt I was determined not to make the same mistakes again. I opted
for black yarn as you don’t get more flattering than black, and I recounted my stitches at the split between the front and back about a million times, just to be sure. I also decided to opt for a slightly different yarn choice. I am a sucker for the uber soft yarns and so have previously knit pretty exclusively in alpaca and merino. This time I thought I’d try the slightly more hardy blue faced Leicester yarn after reading about its amazing properties. I was surprised that I could only find a few pure blue faced Leicester yarns in aran weight,and after some research I decided to go with Debbie Bliss’ Blue Faced Leicester Aran and I’m so glad I did!
The yarn is really lovely, soft, but also firm with a lovely shine. It was really nice to knit with and if at first I was a bit concerned that it wouldn’t be soft enough, once the jumper had been rinsed and blocked out I found it was lovely and soft and had blocked out beautifully. As the jumper has lace across the chest, arms and shoulders, I prefer to wear a vest top with it, which means that the wool sits directly next to the skin. I don’t have any particular issues in wearing wool, but I do find when I first put the jumper on I notice the scratchiness slightly.
I have also been surprised at how much the jumper has bobbled. I didn’t think it would do as I thought blue faced Leicester had a longer staple (I may have made that up!), but it isn’t too bad and definitely not as bad as some of the softer yarns.
Second time round I found the jumper really easy to knit. I did somehow manage to convince myself that the neck size in my chosen pattern size wouldn’t be big enough, and so cast off a few more stitches at the neck to make it bigger. This in hindsight was completely unnecessary and I ended up having to stitch the shoulders up again using mattress stitch. This actually wasn’t such a bad thing as it turns out my shoulders are slightly different sizes so now I have a jumper that sits perfectly!
I also found it fairly difficult to get the grafting right between the top and bottom of back pieces. As before it took me many attempts to get it right, and I’ve posted a picture of what it looked like when it was going wrong. Eventually I sussed it using this video from Cheryl Brunette to start off the grafting and also this post from Vogue Knitting to get the rest of the stitches right.
I REALLY love the jumper and will probably make another one at some point. I think if I knit it in aran again I will use 5.5mm needles instead of 5mm as the fabric is quite dense. This may also hopefully make it slightly less warm, as my only complaint about the jumper is that its too warm! I literally can’t wear it on a day warmer than 11 degrees, something I learnt slowly during the unseasonably warm October and November we had!
Hope you’re all having a lovely Saturday!