I finally finished this jumper almost a year ago, but I’ve only just got round to blogging about it, rubbish!
Apologies about missing the last two Wednesday Pattern Shares! Bad stomach bugs and busy weeks have kept me away, but thankfully I’m on the ball now to share my favourite pattern for this week.
I actually came across this pattern whilst I was looking for the summer knit for the last Wednesday Pattern Share and I’ve fallen completely in love with it!
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!
Earlier this month I blogged about some vintage patterns I’d found. I’m really keen on making the Robin jumper, so even though I already have two projects on the go I’ve started looking for yarn (one of the projects is almost finished so I think this is actually OK!!).
I want to knit the jumper in a cotton yarn and was thinking about a cotton blend. I know pastels are all the trend this season, but they’re not really for me so I’ve been thinking about doing it in off-white instead.
I was hunting around the Internet looking for potentials when I spotted this new cotton and silk blend yarn from Sublime. A lot of the jumpers I fall in love with, but can’t afford are blended with silk or cashmere, so I was quite excited to find this yarn! At £5 for 50g it was more expensive than I was hoping to pay, but EXACTLY what I was looking for! Luckily for my bank balance I wasn’t too crazy about the colours so I didn’t have to pine too much!
I carried on searching, and I’m really glad I did, as I then found this Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton Silk DK. It has 10% less silk compared to the Sublime yarn, but it’s also cheaper, at £4.99 for a 100g ball! I also REALLY like the white. It’s not too white and not too yellow, perfect!
The Robin pattern is for a 4ply yarn, but I think it would take forever to knit a whole jumper in 4ply so I’ve decided to do it in DK instead. The pattern has tension at 30 stitches per 10cm and the Wendy yarn is 22 stitches per 10cm. I want the jumper to be a bit baggier than the picture in the pattern, so I’m going to knit the smaller size in the DK and this SHOULD produce the size that I want. I will also need to keep an eye on the length to make sure it doesn’t end up too long or too short!
When substituting yarn, the trickiest bit I find is deciding how much yarn to buy, especially when the yarn is discontinued. The yarn used in the pattern, Robin Tricel-Nylon Perle came in 25g balls (I had assumed they were 50g balls, which is why I was so worried about the cost!). The modern Robin 4ply comes in 100g balls which have 390m. The pattern requires 14 x 25g balls, which equals 1365m if you use the modern version as a guide. The Wendy yarn comes in 201m balls, which, based on this calculation would mean I’d need 7 balls.
I’m always sceptical about my yarn conversion calculations, so I found this Wendy knitting pattern which is knit in a DK and is also a bit holey, and this uses 7 balls for the size I’d want, so I think I’ll order 8 for this project just in case!
Exciting! I really can’t wait to get going. I just hope I like it once it’s finished! I shall keep you updated! Let me know if you can see any glaring errors in my yarn substitution calculations!!
A while ago I blogged about some patterns I had found in a charity shop (Charity Shop Pattern Finds). One of these was a set of Raymond Briggs Santa patterns. These caught the eye of J, and a request was made for me to knit a face-palming Santa in time for Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.
I bought the wool (Bonus DK) from the Sirdar stall at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show. The staff at the Sirdar stall were REALLY lovely and helped me select the best colours for the patterns, which I really appreciated, as I was feeling a little overwhelmed after a day at the show! I wouldn’t normally choose pure acrylic yarn to knit with, but I was really impressed with how soft it was, and how well it knitted up. When I wore it to work before Christmas, I was also impressed (and surprised!) with how warm it was, and it wasn’t sweaty at all!
I had done a really small piece of colour work before and at that time had researched how to change colours etc, but I’d never worked from a chart, and as the yarn was DK and with the deadline of Christmas Jumper Day on the 12th, I knew I had to get a wriggle on so started straight away (literally that night when we got back from the show! I’m such an addict!!)! Part way through I did a brief calculation on how long it would take me to knit the jumper, and realised I needed to increase production, so ended up knitting on my commute to and from work. I was dreading this in case it prompted awkward conversation, but apart from a briefly embarrassing episode when I had to rush off the train to catch my stop and then almost got my trailing ball of wool stuck in the doors (fastest way to rip knitting??) my knitting commute was without comment, phew!
I was fairly pleased with the progress of the pattern, but I noticed a definite decrease in speed as the number of coloured sections increased. The pattern gave the advice that each different section should have a new strand of yarn, and I wish I’d stuck to that more rigidly. For some areas, such as around the ear, I tried to ‘borrow’ a black strand from a different section, which didn’t really work, and ended up with the fabric looking puckered. I noticed a similar effect around the cheek bone. I don’t think its too noticeable to the untrained eye, but I wont be making that mistake again!
For the neck band the pattern instructed to knit about 3 inches and then fold it down to the inside of the jumper and sew to the edge of the neck band. I wasn’t too sure about this, but one of the lovely ladies from the crafty group at work advised that she had finished an item in a similar way and that it looked really good, so I decided to persevere, and I’m so glad I did!! It looks fab, and it made the neck a bit smaller, as it was quite large without this! I tied in the ends as I went along, which I don’t normally do, but in this case I felt it was a necessity! I didn’t think I could have coped with tying them all in at the end!
Overall I’m really pleased with the jumper and I’ve learnt some really valuable lessons, not least of which was working form a chart!! My lessons learnt were:
- Always add new strands for new sections, regardless of how tedious tying in all the ends might seem!
- Never carry strands across more than 4 or five stitches.
- Routinely count how many stitches you have in each section and don’t just rely on the number of stitches around them! Ripping colour work is annoying and I don’t want to have to do it again!
- ALWAYS check the finished sizes before committing to a pattern size!
I have mentioned this last point sooo many times and I never seem to learn! The jumper has ended up way too big. In part this is due to the 90’s styling and batwing sleeves, but it is also because I picked the wrong size to knit. I’m very slowly beginning to understand how important sizing is to the finished look of a garment. This probably seems very obvious, but for some reason its taken a while to sink in!
Anyway, I hope you like it as much as I do! Happy knitting!!!