I have had an all consuming secret for the last few months. I have been making my first jumper
I have made toys, rugs, mittens and scarves…however for some reason the elusive knitted jumper was a real mystery and scary challenge. I challenged myself just after my Christmas projects were over and I had nothing else to do to get through the Christmas days at my parents and my parents-in-law and I wanted to take a project with me that was easy to pick up and add to and one that I could still watch the Downton Abbey Christmas special without losing a stitch. I was challenged to make a jumper with the promise that even if it was rubbish it would still be an achievement to have made a garment at all.
I picked a jumper out of a magazine, ‘Let’s Knit’ gave me this with a pattern by Sian Brown called ‘Moloko’. It is a jumper for beginners and promises to be a an ‘incredibly simple sweater to make’. It is only made using 2 types of stitches; stocking stitch for the body and sleeves with 2×2 rib round the collar, bottom and cuffs. It is technically an easy knit and was relaxing at times to just sit and stocking stitch a few rows. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer volume of stitches and rows it would take.
I usually make very small pieces the odd teddy and little heart so to suddenly be asked to cast on 94 stitches seemed ludicrous and the rows at first took ages and ages to knit and move along. It is knitted on 5mm and 5.5mm needles and I used a really lovely blue Moorland Aran wool by King Cole, I had read in a magazine how tweed style fabrics and knits were back in style so I like the blue with the flecks of brown and dark brown through it. and it was a lovely wool to work with, but you do need a lot of it I bought 5 skeins of 100g, but I do still have some left.
The jumper started growing really quickly and by New Year I was onto the sleeves and had put the front and the back on stitch holders. The sleeves although smaller rows were much longer and it was tricky making sure they were equal lengths. I finished the sleeves mid January and then all of a sudden I lost my bottle. I couldn’t get my head around how to connect them all together and I put it in a bag and forgot about the whole thing until February. In fact the January blues kicked in and all knitting got put away till February until I decided that I wasn’t going to be beaten by a load of blue tweed yarn and I picked up my needles again. What the pattern asked me to do was to put each piece on one needle by picking up the sides of the front and back and then stitching 2 together on the first and end of each piece until you have all 4 pieces on one needle and can knit across all 4. I am probably not explaining it properly but it was possible and I was very proud to have all 118 stitches on my needle, although the needle did bend with the weight of it. Once I had ribbed the collar it was then just a matter of stitching it all together which was another evenings work but once done, I have to say, I am very proud of it.
It is not the most beautiful jumper I have ever seen or the most stylish or the most complicated, but it is wearable and it is cosy and I did make it myself and I can now say I have made my first jumper. One of the best tips I was told was also to press each piece under a damp tea towel so they don’t roll up too much and then you have an easier time stitching them all together.
Since making my jumper I showed it to a much more advanced knitter, my Auntie, gave me a handy tip, who told me that it is always better to make the arms first and then the body so that the gap is more suited to your body. The body is a little smaller on my jumper than the arms it has to be said, but then cropped jumpers are all over Topshop this season. 🙂