Back in October, with Christmas only 2 months away, I began searching for the perfect yarn to use for Eldest Mudlets’ Christmas present. I had already found an unusual pattern that I wanted to use and, as an added bonus, it was available as a free download from the Deramores website (pattern here) but I wasn’t convinced about the choice of colours in the suggested yarn. Eventually I found a lovely James C. Brett Marble Chunky yarn, which came in some really nice colour ways, in one of our local shops and chose a beautiful blue/purple/aqua, simply called shade 8. Handling a ball of the yarn in the shop, I was taken with how soft and warm it felt to touch, just right for the chunky top I was planning to make. It was 100% acrylic, was available in 200g/315m balls and so I purchased the amount needed for the project and went home.
The pattern also called for a 6mm circular knitting needle and so I assumed that the pattern would be knitted in the round which made me hesitate to start it but once I actually read the pattern, I realised that this wasn’t actually the case and that the reason for the circular needles was because the top is worked in two main sections: the front and the back with both sections incorporating the short sleeves as well. The sheer number of stitches worked for each main section meant that working the usual right side/wrong side method on single point needles simply wasn’t an option.
And so I cast on the stitches and began with the waistband which was knitted in a trinity stitch which created a lovely bobble effect along the bottom of the work. This stitch was also used on the sleeve and neck bands and was very effective and extremely easy to do.
Then I moved onto the main body of the pattern and it was here that I initially had a couple of problems which resulted in my having to frog back about 12 rows of around 180 stitches. I have worked many cable patterns in the 30 odd years or so that I’ve been knitting, all of which have been written in the same way, making it blatantly clear how I was to progress through the pattern panel. This particular pattern was written differently to any I had seen, or could remember seeing and it took me a little while to work out exactly what I needed to do, especially as not all of the abbreviations appeared to be in the key and some that were in the key didn’t exactly tally with what was written in the pattern. It was a tad confusing but I worked it out in the end and was absolutely delighted with the design that appeared as I worked.
By the time the garment was completed (3 weeks or so before Christmas), it was obvious that it was going to be a definite comfort piece and so I called it ‘A Warm Hug’, carefully folded it up and popped it away, ready for wrapping up at a later date.
As it happened, comfort was absolutely what my poor eldest child required this Christmas, as her boyfriend terminated their relationship unexpectedly just days before Christmas which broke her heart and sent her into a freefall of pain and sorrow. Added to this traumatic event was the unappreciated arrival of a major cold and it was a very downhearted, despondent and lack luster child which spent Christmas day with us. Unwrapping the ‘Hug’ that I had knitted her, she immediately slipped it over her head and wallowed in its’ warmth and softness and I sent a silent prayer of thanks to whichever spirit had guided my choice of pattern and yarn.
All in all I am very happy with how this project looked when completed and though it was a challenge to start with, once I had gotten my head around the different writing technique of the pattern designer, it was easy enough to follow ….. but probably not one for an absolute beginner!