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.
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.