My second Heavenly jumper

posted in: Finished projects, knitting | 20

When I started sewing I would often make a pattern, and then, as soon as I had finished I would make the exact same pattern again, but incorporating my learning. I would make changes to the pattern (using the first as a toile, effectively) but basically I wanted to capture everything I had learnt. Having perhaps struggled with the instructions I thought if I did it again I would figure where it was going, and this enabled me to strike out with confidence. But the chance to get it right, second time around, motivated me.

An architect told me the same thing. What kept him going was a chance to correct all the mistakes he had already made. Each building was better than the last, often incorporating elements he had discovered, developed and honed over the last few projects. Also I had a friend who told me about his dating history. When he chose a new partner he carefully avoided someone with the qualities he had come to dislike in the previous partner. Both these stories made me consider why I make lots of things twice. Even in jewellery making I wanted to make another pendant straight away to convince myself that I could do the same thing on another occasion, without a teacher. And you may remember I made two dolls (and not just because I had two grandsons). For me every first time is a bit rubbish, mainly because I don’t know where I am going. I cannot read the instructions through and have them form in my mind (I know some people can). I somehow can’t envision step 2 until I have done step 1.

So as soon as I had finished Heavenly #1, I needed to do Heavenly #2. I knew I had imperfectly understood how to do those stitches on the raglan sleeve line – large open holes in version 1 (below). I knew this wasn’t right but I didn’t understand the instructions. Also the radial increase stitches left an obvious mark in the fabric. So the desire to do better propelled me.

Ankestrick Heavenly
Heavenly sweater

Also I really like the Ankastrick style – Heavenly it is very “me”. I was keen to discover if I made the same pattern in a different yarn (but same composition and weight) if the sizing would be the same. More or less, yes it is.

So the second version. I used Colourmart cashmere DK. A few people on here and on Instagram have asked for my feedback on this yarn. I have now done three jumpers in it and feel able to comment.

  • It is, as far as I know, the cheapest way to knit with cashmere (not that it is cheap. It is about $40 for 150 grams). This jersey took less than 300 grams, maybe about 250 gms.
  • Colourmart spin knitting wools from woven and machine produced knitwear yarns from well-known companies eg Johnsons, Burberry etc. They do a range of luxury fibres.
  • The yarn comes coated in a kind of oil that makes it feel cottony, and not much like cashmere. Not all the yarns are the same quality – some are softer/fluffier than other types – you can buy a sample first.
  • It needs a special kind of wash at the end. My best result has been to get in the shower, turn it on as hot as I can bear, then wash the finished garment by hand but with washing machine liquid detergent. Quite a lot of colour bleeds out and it need a fairly vigorous wash. More heat and more vigour than you would normally subject cashmere to.
  • Then I squeezed out most of the water and left it to dry flat.
  • I gave it a little time in the sun, just because it was a nice day.
    Cashmere knitting
    Dry flat

    Even though this was my second version I still made a few mistakes at the start, with the short rows and not counting accurately. But i got the increase stitch right and my eyelets are much “cleaner”. It is so nice and simple to finish. Just four threads to be woven in and it’s ready to wear! The yarn I used is left over from the jersey I made for Gus. For some reason I ordered at least twice as much as I needed so I not only have a matching top, I also still have some left! I will have to use it up for a third project. Luckily I really like forest green! Apart from anything else it goes with my no-waste skirt. And our “garden”.

    And finally I can’t believe that Mrs May is serving our Notice to Quit the EU on my birthday.



20 Responses

    • Stephanie

      Forgot to say Happy Birthday!

      I’m kind of funny.about doing things twice. I get the point about improving on my mistakes, but overall I tend to feel bored climbing the same mountain again (and sometimes make more mistakes the second time around, at least in sewing).

  1. Annieloveslinen

    Happy Birthday Kate.

    You look great in your outfit, forest green is one of my favourite colours. I understand the need to have another go right after the first time, I notice that I make three of everything, so indeed in my experience, the third is the charm.

    I’ve stalled with my alpaca because my increases in my sleeve aren’t in alignment. Honestly, sometimes I think I’m my own worst enemy.

  2. eimear

    beautiful sweater – gorgeous shade, and many happy returns, your story reminded me of when I was talking to my tutor at the end of my Foundation Art year – and he was asking what I wanted to do next, and I said repeat foundation, he was horrified but I said that I felt I was only just getting the hang of it…..(at which point he explained that was the whole point of the foundation year!)

  3. ceci

    Yes, I too like to do the same pattern twice to correct my first time around sins of commission and omission. In fact I am somewhat frustrated at the moment because I decided to contrast 2 similar simple summer woven top patterns and really like the first one; now the second one is taking forever and annoying me but I do want to give it a chance, especially as I have some linen enroute that is intended to supply me with some hot day options beyond old tee shirts this summer. Need to remember this is not a fun approach for me!

    Happy birthday; lovely sweater and flowers!


  4. Anita Steiner

    Happy Birthday Kate. I hope you enjoy it despite the Brexit news.
    I love the sweater. Once I’ve finished all my knitting UFOs I will look into Ankestrick. Anita from sunny Basel

  5. Mary

    I have such a sick feeling about the UK quitting the EU. Here’s hoping the legendary fortitude of Brits makes this work. And Happy Birthday!
    I’ve been known to make the same pattern many times in a row. I feel very satisfied when I feel a level of mastery in my work. Perhaps this is why I had three children?

  6. Anne

    I also like to repeat things to improve my technique. Trouble is sometimes I get too blasé and end up making different mistakes!
    Happy birthday.

  7. Su

    Happy birthday. Version 2 looks lovely. Your outfit looks so chic – the slightly different colours, but very similar in shade looks so sophisticated. Envious that you have flowering trees/shrubs at this time of year.

  8. Sue

    I also remake patterns immediately so as not to forget what I learnt, but still do sometimes! Your jumper really is heavenly and I have used Colourmart cashmere quite a bit as it’s so reasonably priced, even with international postage. Your garden is looking so pretty that it lifts my spirits every time you put up a photograph.

  9. Kerry

    Best wishes for your birthday, Kate, but how thoughtless of Ms May to announce (invoke?) Article 50 on your birthday. Boo. Both jumpers are lovely and fit well and look great, so I think you can safely say you have mastered that pattern. As much as I hate mistakes, especially if I am going to wear it, they are part of what is wonderful and so very personal about a hand crafted item. Only you will know and if it’s a gift, the receiver is usually none the wiser. Enjoy your learning!

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