We spent last weekend in lovely Lancashire, where my mother lives. Nick and I went up with my (other) son George and his wife Bianca.
I mentioned that Mum had had a nasty fall. Thank you for all your kind words, and I thought you might like an update.
A fortnight ago Mum’s carer arrived to find her unconscious on the kitchen floor, in a pool of blood, with a head injury. It must have looked like a frightful crime scene. Everyone thought it was the end for my 88 year old Mum. Luckily, very luckily, she wasn’t badly hurt – no broken bones and no brain damage. Despite her face being black and blue for a week or two, a scan and a blood transfusion during her precautionary hospital stay, she is back to normal already – this cat with nine lives (she had previously crashed her car into a wall and come away with a little cut) recovers fast. At the weekend she looked amazing and was back in business, with only a rapidly-healing wound on her forehead. Bianca and I did her hair and makeup before we went out for dinner.
The car journey up there and back takes around nine hours, so I had plenty of time to press on with my current knitting project – the Heavenly sweater from Ankestrick.
I really like the simple T shirt styles presented by young Berlin designer Anke. According to Yarn Stories:
Anke has always been a knitter but, for her, the turning point to making it her profession was discovering the Contiguous Method developed by Australian Susie Myers, where a jumper is knitted in one piece without sewing up and with a superior fit. She spent time focussing on this technique, always in search of the perfect cut and fit and has developed it further to the so-called Slanted Contiguous method.
Hmm. That is beginning to sound both interesting and scary. Something to investigate, experiment with and learn from as we go along.
What I have discovered is how much I like the all-in-one approach – knitting a jumper in one piece so that when it is finished, it is actually finished rather than looking like several pattern pieces that need sewing together. The smooth finish of seamless appeals too – like a pair of modern tights compared to old fashioned seamed stockings. To my mind the point of knitting, as opposed to sewing, is that it can achieve a seamless finish. Also the top down approach allows you to judge the finished length by trying the jumper on while it is still on the needles. Then you can use up the remaining yarn rather than having lots left when you could have been more generous.
The Heavenly is knitted from the top down – otherwise the construction is rather similar to the Lorelle (bottom to top) in that it has a fairly wide open neck, (albeit higher at the back due to short rows), a yoke, raglan sleeves, and an absence of ribbing. Some of the most challenging shaping is done at the start. You can see the little holes caused by the radial increases in the front chest and the back (whereas the sleeve increases are introduced both sides of the raglan “seam”). Then the boring, but for me rather enjoyable, stocking stitch – which is mindless with circular needles. The plain jumper is decorated at neck and hems with eyelets which can be threaded through with narrow velvet ribbon. I don’t have any but like the idea of a toning or contrasting colour.
With the Lorelle, because the jumper comes up from the hem up, the sleeves are constructed separately and attached and integrated into the yoke. With Heavenly you create a place for the sleeves to go on the way down and then knit them, also from the top down. This way is just as good but it does get a little bit twisty as you knit the relatively short rows of the cuffs. I did try using the double pointed needles, but I found them very awkward and a few stitches slipped off the ends as I struggled. The Magic Loop works better for me. But all’s well that ends well and I really like this sweater.
I knitted the extra small as the jersey has a fair amount of ease but I didn’t want flappy. Also I resisted the A line flare.
I ordered 7 balls of Lang Cashmere yarn which was a stingy reaction to the pattern, but I ran out on a Saturday evening. As we were in Lancashire, I reordered one additional ball online at about 6pm on a Saturday. And, blow me down, if the solitary ball wasn’t waiting for me on our return on Sunday evening! Excellent service Love Knitting. I stepped out of the car having just run out of yarn, unpacked our bags, joined the eighth ball and finished while watching a film on Sunday night.
I popped into playgroup to meet Esme and the children, wearing my new jersey.
So glad to hear your Mother is in the mend!
Wow….your sweater looks terrific. I love the colour! Lovely job kate and I really appreciate your description of how it has come together.
Joyce from Sudbury
So pleased your Mother is fine and well. I buy all my wool from Love Knitting and I find the service great. I love the colour of your latest garment .
Having bigged them up I am having lots of trouble with my next order. They sent me the wrong thing and are slow to communicate and sort it out.
Your mum looks great, such a relief that nothing major was broken, you know they say that northern folk are gradely folk, you come from good stock.
I love your sweater and am going to have another little think. I started my sleeves but my needle cords are too long and stretched the stitches too much, magic loop is too faffy for me, I should get my 12″ circulars today. I’m not sure which craft costs the most but this knitting malarkey isn’t cheap. On the plus side, the socks are done, yay!
I’m glad your mother has recovered well. I’ve never managed to read or work in a car, sadly – all that wasted time! Your sweater looks good.
glad your mother is on the mend – I tend to crochet in the round if I can as I like to try on as I go (could never do it while on a car journey though)
What a scary event for your mum. She looks wonderful and fully recovered. I haven’t knit in awhile but your knitting projects are inspiring me. Working on the round and from the top down makes so much sense and what a terrific way to make use of those hours in the car. The fit is perfect on you.
Glad to see your mum is on the mend.
Great jumper, I like the idea of the all in one jumper.
I can’t quite get how you are doing the sleeves though?
Do you get down to the armhole level then knit one sleeve then the other before returning to the body?
No. This is what happened. I got to the try on stage and had two balls left. I moved on the do the first sleeve with one ball. It wasn’t sufficient to finish so I ordered an 8th one. I finished the first sleeve and half the second with the remaining yarn. The 8th ball was used to complete the second sleeve and then I used the remaining yarn to make the body as long as I could.
So glad to hear that your mum is doing well after a scary fall.
Kate, while I agree that it may make sense to knit a stocking stitch t-shirt in the round rather than flat (though something like this can also be seamed beautifully, with good technique), I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss flat knitters as old-fashioned. There are circumstances and styles/techniques that have a natural fit with flat knitting (e.g. intarsia) and you will notice as you progress in your knitting that there are many great designers who create modern and beautiful patterns that are meant to be seamed or partly seamed (Kim Hargreaves comes to mind, as does Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed). Again, there are great techniques for seaming beautifully. Most experienced knitters mix the two, depending on the style of garment they are aiming to create.
In terms of the top-down seamless raglan, this has been around for a long time in different variants and a lot of new designers start with this type of knitting because of the fitting that you can do as you go along. Not to take away from whatever innovation has gone on here, but the style of knitting is not a new one.
This simple knit is elevated by the luxe yarn you have chosen. Enjoy your garment.
That shows me how much I have to learn! I appreciate so much your knitting advice and knowledge. It is so helpful to me.
This is a perfect sweater. I am also drawn to the easy style of this and this is not a style found easily in shops. Also, the petrol blue is such a winning color on you and will be so versatile. Your speedy needles have done it again Kate! Relief that your Mum is well. She looks great.
Sweater looks great, I have been puzzled as to what color “petrol” is as gasoline is sort of gold-ish clear. A Britishism perhaps?
Wonderful news about your mom’s recovery, what a fright you all had!
Yes! It’s a British expression alright. Deep blue, navy really, with a bit of dark green in it. I would say petrol is this sort of shade, but can’t say I have ever had a good look! I really like petrol and the deep gray blues too.
Your cashmere sweater looks wonderful and must feel just as wonderful. Were they able to send you the same dye lot for your final ball?
I just hoped for the best and it was the same batch – it is not selling out as fast as I can knit!!
I am from India and will be visiting London in May. In India we have a lot of fabrics available. However, to find the right quality of fabric we have limited choices and it turns out expensive. I was looking for some nice wool suiting fabric for men’s trousers and jackets and may be some cotton fabric for shirts. Could you please let me know where can I find it in London for a good price?
Hi Pratish – try Simply Fabrics in Brixton or Woolcrest in Hackney. Search this blog for fabric shopping in London for details and options.
Looks good! You were clearly ready for a knitting project ;). so glad your mum is better too. You can breathe a little easier now.
Yes, Wendy, you are right. Pent up knitting love…. I have started another one too….
I’ll echo others’ comments- so glad to hear that your mum is on the mend and there are no long term damages.
Your sweater is divine. I think it’s a beautiful color and will be able to be dressed up or down. What a great addition to your travel wardrobe. Hope your trip is a fruitful one!
Good to see your mum out and about. I tend to knit ‘mindless’ stuff in the car – it makes the journey feel quicker – but I couldn’t cope with anything complicated where i had to look down a lot. Your jumper looks great and I agree with how useful it is to be able to try on before finishing off.
(I visited Colour Mart yesterday. I suspect I will be spending lots with them in the future! Thanks for alerting me to them)
So glad to hear your mum is doing well. Love the sweater too. Stunning colour.
Good to hear that your mum is getting better and that your sweater is finished, I’m sure the cashmere feels luxurious!
I just finished my first sweater, it was bottom up, I love how it looks apart from the yoke, I don’t like the look of the drastically decreses and the points of the short rows, I see that you had a similar issue with you top down. My mum is a flat knitter and what I love about it is that the decreses are done on the edges and there is no need to do short rows for rasing the back these means the finished garment is clean and nothing distracts the eye, I’ve been thinking that unless I manage to solve those two issues I had I would really prefer flat knitting better!
Thanks for sharing your knitting journey Kate!
Hi – I’ve just started knitting this jumper and I have to say it is by far the hardest jumper I have ever knitted! Can you suggest where I can get some tips on how to interprete the pattern. I am starting on the yoke but really don’t know what to do 🙁 It will be such a lovely jumper when done but I am not sure I will ever work out how to get there! Thanks in advance for any tips you can offer me.
I found it quite tricky too. I made quite a few mistakes in the collar area. You are basically going back and forth and turning the knitting around to create a higher back than front. This means you create a crescent of knitting and then come round to the front gradually. My only suggestion is to keep going even if you are not too sure of the exact shape, because once you separate for the sleeves it is plain sailing. A website I like is Fringe Association by Karen Templer. Look up her standard top down jumper and you will understand the method. Maybe even try it first? Let me know how you get on. I am such a beginner myself I am nervous of giving advice. The other idea is to take the pattern to an experienced knitter friend and ask for help.
How do you stop the bottom of the sweater curling.
The eyelets help it to stabilise Lydia, but there is a tiny little curled bit at the base which looks quite nice.
I have been knitting all my life… but this pattern is the most difficult thing I have ever done…
I also found it really hard to get started and someone suggested I wrote out each row on a sheet of paper before I started knitting. It really helped me get my head around what I was trying to do and then it was quite straightforward.