Finally I can reveal the jumper I lovingly created for Eldest Mudlets’ Christmas present. I loved making this particular garment, although it wasn’t without its’ challenges or surprises and the yarn I picked was lovely to work with and was a gloriously autumnal, burnt red colour. I did have one worrisome moment when on arrival of the yarn, Mud commented that he thought the colour was quite dark but I soon got over my misgivings as I was sure I’d seen Eldest Mudlet in a similar shade not so long ago.
The pattern was by Jenny Watson and was easy enough to follow, although there were a couple of printing errors (purl ‘p’ when it should have been knit ‘k’) but by then I was already familiar with how the pattern panel worked, so just made the correction.
The pattern on the jumper looks really impressive but in reality was straightforward, involving simple increases and decreases, in equal measure across the stitches, over 32 rows to create the diamonds. Mind you, the increasing and decreasing did cause a complication on the sleeve shaping because I had to make sure that I adjusted the pattern so that I didn’t create more stitches across the pattern panel than I removed, or vice versa, whilst increasing/decreasing the overall number of stitches by 2, every 8 rows or so, during the sleeve shaping process. It took some doing and I did have to pull back a painful number of rows at one point but I got there in the end.
My only criticism of the actual pattern itself is that the photo wasn’t clear enough. The front of the jumper is longer than the back and requires a shaping piece at each side of the lower front to join it to the back.
Oblivious to this small detail, I opened the pattern leaflet and prepared to cast on for the back rib (which is pretty standard in terms of knitting jumpers in my experience). I was surprised, therefore, to find that what I was actually instructed to do was cast on a small number of stitches for the lower right or left (can’t remember which was first without digging the pattern out which I may do later) front! I was further surprised to realise that rib had been omitted and I was also starting with the actual pattern. A quick scan through the pattern revealed that I had two of these lower diamonds to do first, the first of which would be kept on a stitch holder and then joined to the second lower diamond and 40 newly cast on stitches which were needed to bridge the gap between the two lower pieces, to create the lower front edge.
The finished front section had an interesting zig zag hemline but this was actually a big help when it came to working out how to evenly pick up and knit the stitches for the rib border. The longer back section was also knitted up without the rib band but did have the complete number of required stitches on the needles from the start. With the front, back, sleeves and neckband completed I should have moved on to the front pockets but I opted not to make them as I personally feel they don’t add anything to the finished garment. In fact I think that pockets only serve to hide the lovely pattern and will only cause the wearer to stretch the jumper in the long term.
The yarn I chose for this project was Wendy Mode DK, in ‘Chilli Pepper ‘. This yarn is a blend of 50% Merino and 50% Acrylic and has a lovely soft feel to it. It comes in 50g balls which equates to approximately 142m of yarn per ball. This wasn’t the yarn recommended for the pattern (Jenny Watson Pure Merino) but I felt that the 50/50 blend would be easier and more practical for a busy young woman like Eldest Mudlet, in terms of garment care, than the 100% wool yarn. What I didn’t take into account was the different ball sizes when ordering the quantity needed (Jenny Watson Pure Merino is also 50g but only 124m) and so I ended up with a couple of spare balls. These have been used to make hand warmers for Christmas gifts, a post about which will be forth coming shortly. So there you have it, Eldest Mudlets’ Christmas present which, incidentally, she loves.