I have been really looking forward to starting this particular project because I loved this Bergere de France pattern the first moment I saw it and I haven’t knitted anything so intricate and delicate looking for years. In fact, to be honest, I don’t think I have ever knitted in 4 ply and certainly 3mm needles are the smallest size needle I can ever remember working with in my entire knitting career.
Choosing the yarn was next, as I didn’t particularly like any of the colours that the suggested yarn came in and as it was 100% silk, I wasn’t that taken with the price either, a snip at just £13.99 per 50g ball. So I had to choose an alternative …… once I’d figured out what size I needed to knit the sweater in because the pattern only stated S, M, L or XL. There were no inches, centimeters or dress sizes listed in the size guide and so I paid a visit to the Bergere website, found their size guide and determined that ‘L’ (UK 16/18) was the correct choice for me.
I know I’ve said this before but it is worth mentioning again: if you are going to use a different yarn to that specified in a pattern, then working out the quantities you will need, isn’t a simple as just choosing a same weight ball and assuming that if you get the same number of balls as stated for the specified yarn, you will have sufficient for the task at hand. No, the strand weight of individual yarns is different depending on the materials used in the manufacture of the yarn.
Instead, what you need to do is work out the yardage (or meters required).
In my case, for example, a 50g ball of the Bergere de France Soie yarn specified in the pattern is 165m and I needed 8 of them which makes 1320m in total. However, the Scheepjes Sunkissed 4 ply which I had chosen has 170m per 50g ball and so I divided 1320 by 170 and realised that I still needed 8 balls to complete the project but the actual amount I would be buying would be 1360m. In this instance the difference wasn’t too great but in the past changes to the choice of yarn for a project has meant that I’ve either needed 1 or more balls of yarn than stated which, had I simply ordered on the weight of a ball could have proved disasterous, or I’ve needed less than stated which has saved me from expending more than I needed to.
Along with the pattern and yarn, I ordered a new pair of 3mm Addi bamboo needles. I love the feel of the Addi needles. They are so smooth and tactile and I have several pairs now, mostly in what I would consider the common sizes: 3.75mm to 5mm. Having used the cheaper Milward bamboo needles before, I can say with conviction that it is worth paying that little bit extra because the Addis’ make for a much nicer feel during a project.
I’ve made a start on the back section of the sweater and have finished the first section of Lace Pattern A (the diamonds) and have just begun Lace Pattern B. This pattern is so easy to follow, especially as the different sizes are colour coded, so I know, for instance, that I need to follow the instructions in blue. Another thing I like about the Bergere de France patterns, is that if you find a pattern you like and you go and have a look at it on their website, you will see that it has been graded according to skill required, so you can choose one to suit your level. This one is intermediate, so I know it is well within what I consider to be my skill set.
My only niggle at this point is actually to do with the yarn. The Scheepjes Sunkissed 4 ply has a lovely soft feel and I thought the choice of colours was pretty good and there are a few colours I would like to work with but, bearing in mind that I’ve only completed a small section of the back so far, I have already had to deal with no fewer than 3 joins in the yarn! This is not ideal and certainly not what I was expecting and I’ve had to pull 2 of the fluffy ends through to the wrong side to try and hide them from view which isn’t the easy to do with a lacy pattern. I hope this is a blip and that the rest of the yarn proves to be end free.
This project is proving a nice one to work with at the moment and is just what I need whilst waiting to get back into the garden which, with any luck, should be sometime this weekend, once we’ve collected the manure I need that is!