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.
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.
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.