(I guess you’ve found this. Beware all ye who enter here! Not really, but the title should be all the warning you should need. I’m sorry and you’re welcome.)
Hiya! I haven’t been able to come up with a way to start this off that doesn’t sound like the beginning paragraph of a CV but here we go anyway. I’m Catriona, a twenty-something student living in Edinburgh, Scotland and studying mathematics when I’m not knitting.
But I’m getting distracted. Please, make yourself at home. May I get you a cup of tea and a biscuit? It’s shortbread fingers today but they’re delicious when dunked. Lunch involved dunking things too, I now realise. It’s a theme for the day but the ice is thick outside and it’s a day for cheese toasties and tomato soup if there ever was one.
I can be found with either a cup of tea in my hands or a pair of knitting needles. It’s usually one or the other, and if it’s neither it can be generally assumed I’m asleep. I am not aware of a time where I fell asleep with needles in my hands but it’s probably a matter of time which feels a bit tragic.
I’ve been knitting for years but I only discovered the joy of wearing what I’ve knitted last year. From that you might assume that I’ve not been knitting garments before then and I almost wish that was true. The first jumper I ever knit, I love immensely but I grew out of it a few years ago which is an odd thing about being a child when you learnt to knit. I knit a mountain of socks because they are so much fun to knit before I realised that I don’t really wear them. The same was true of shawls. I have all these beautiful knitted goods and they’re not being used.
This didn’t bother me all that much. I’ve had so much fun knitting them and that’s what I wanted to get out of the experience, why should their lack of use bother me? A lot of what I’ve made is valuable to me for how I learnt from it. I wanted to learn the effects of different sock constructions, so I made seventy billion socks. Shawls have so many possible shapes and I wanted to know how to construct all of them. Even more so with jumpers; it seems like the possibilities are endless. So, I knitted, and knitted, and knitted and it didn’t occur to me that there could be more.
This changed with a KnitPicks sale and a beautiful cardigan pattern. The pattern came first, a find on Ravelry from when I was deep down the rabbit hole, and it was cabled and had deep ribbed collar. It was lovely, and there was an email in my inbox about a sale so I bought yarn intending to knit it. I sat there after and dreamed of how the cardigan would turn out. However, the person whose cardigan I had coveted had knit the garment out of very different yarn. When I later stared at the yarn I had bought, I realised that the yarn and the pattern wouldn’t fit.
Some yarns have been made with some extra twist to the yarn which can give depth and crispness to cables made from it. I had picked yarn for a jumper I wanted to wear not for the pattern I had in mind. KnitPicks Stroll DK is a soft, 100% merino yarn. I could knit cables in it, but it wouldn’t add something extra to it. The short staple length of merino would mean it would be liable to pill and fuzziness doesn’t help make the cables pop. It didn’t get me down for long. I like the yarn. Jumpers pill, it’s a sad truth of knitting jumpers, but I could still enjoy knitting this yarn into something beautiful.
I didn’t knit Gin & Tonic by Thea Colman just because the name, I promise. I think it was the side cables that won me over. I was in a mood for cables, it seems. I hadn’t had the best of luck with seamless jumpers before either as they had a tendency to ride up but the cables at the side could add some structure to the jumper and prevent that. It worked too, especially as I knit a size that gave me some extra ease and allowed the jumper to drape. I’m getting ahead of myself though.
I knit the sleeves first and then tackled the body. I got to where the sleeves would be joined for the body and raglan shaping would be worked, and stopped. I so nearly just followed the pattern and ignored that little voice in my head that was asking questions about whether I would wear it. Instead, I asked my mum. She laughed at me. Apparently, I’ve never been a fan of having my neck covered by a jumper. We talked through the jumpers I actually like wearing (that aren’t hoodies because they shouldn’t count according to her) and then I tried to make a jumper which fit what I wanted to wear.
Instead of the raglan shaping, I knit the front and back separately with my own (dodgy) modifications to make a sleeve cap fit. I knit the sleeve cap on the sleeves and seamed it all together. I picked up for the neckband, did it all wrong and ripped it out to do it over again. Suddenly, there was a jumper in front of me. I put it on and started wearing it. There was a problem in that I hadn’t woven in the ends completely but that got fixed pretty fast when it became clear that I actually liked wearing it.
The jumper whose yarn cost me half as much as the previous jumper I knit was the one that I didn’t want to take off. It made no sense. Except, it did because I wasn’t waiting for a special occasion to wear it. I’d wake up in the morning, and it was there looking soft and warm and practical. If something happened to it, I’d get to knit another one. Perhaps this time, the sleeve depth would be less mental. It still looked good but it wasn’t something I was worried about when I wore it.
That is what I want to knit more of, the beautiful but practical patterns. And now I’ve rambled for a bit on a topic, I’ll bring it back to what I’m knitting now. This is Snawheid by Kate Davies which is being knit out of Jamieson’s & Smith 2 ply jumper weight in Shade 1 and Shade 132. I bought the yarn from my local yarn store on a snowy day this week and it’s already nearly done. Colourwork can be so soothing and I lose hats so quickly another one is always practical.
Have a good day!