Ah, it is good to have the time and space again to come back here. Many small things have changed and developed since I last wrote, all positive, but the knitting has remained constant. I am now halfway through my doctorate and submitted a large part of my project for the degree’s halfway assessment just before the Christmas holidays. I had been working towards it since the summer and am now grateful for some downtime. I have some finished garments to share with you over the coming days that were completed since the Autumn. November and December were taken up with gift knitting, a synopsis of which I will share when I have collected photos.
- Pattern: Treit by Kate Davies, from the book, Inkling.
- Yarn: Gems by West Yorkshire Spinners, 3 skeins.
- Needles: 3mm for the body, 3.25mm for the sleeves.
I bought the Inkling book in the Autumn as I found all of the patterns and essays within deeply inspiring. I love the colour palette, and the mixture of lace and colourwork designs. What I don’t love, however, is the fact that most designs are worked from the bottom up. I can’t do that anymore. I would go so far as to say that it is absurd to me. I can understand if, for construction purposes, the simplest method would be to work from the bottom. But for a yoked or raglan garment? I just don’t get it.
If you work from the top down, you can check that the yoke is the right depth, and easily amend the length of the sleeves and body. It makes it easy to go back and adjust these aspects when you’re finished as well. If you pick up and work the collar upwards at the end (as opposed to casting on with it), you can adjust that too. I just don’t see the logic of working it any other way. OK: I can understand the portability of being able to bring separate sleeves and body around with you until you’re ready to join them together. But for me these days, as I work and study at home, that is not a strong enough motivator to knit something from the bottom up. (The exception to this are hats, because although it is still optimal to work from the top down, because you can try it on, working a really nice tubular cast-on is infinitely preferable to working a tubular cast-off. If anyone knows how to work a tubular cast-off without having to work kitchener stitch, I BEG YOU to let me know.)
Anyway, they’re just my thoughts, having knit many jumpers over the years. Everybody has their own preferences. For this design, it was imperative that I knit it from the top down, although it was written from the bottom up, because I only had 3 skeins of the yarn with no prospect of getting more. I bought it at The Constant Knitter‘s closing down sale, and the yarn itself has been discontinued. I had a good idea that I could get a full-length sleeved jumper out of my 3 skeins (only about 720m), but it was going to be close.
So…. I made a provisional cast-on at the bottom of the yoke, before the division for the body and sleeves, and I worked the yoke upwards towards the neckline. Then, I undid the cast-on and worked the body, and then the sleeves. I was really to the wire with the sleeves, and opted for a 17″ sleeve to ensure that I at least ended up with two sleeves the same length!
Actually, as it turned out, I had about 10g of yarn leftover. You possibly could have guessed from the modelled photos above that the sleeves are a bit short. Or were, I should say, as after I took these photos, I opened up the cuffs again and added 5g of the yarn to each cuff. This made them twice as long.
Despite all of my opinions on construction and sailing close to the yarn, I am delighted with the project. The yarn was a beauty to work with and I am in love with its rich, vibrant colour. The yoke was demanding to knit, as there were few rest rounds in the lace pattern, but the result was worth the effort. The other adaptation I made was to include additional short rows at the back of the neck, which you can kind of see in this photo here. I have narrow shoulders and find that short rows typically included beneath the yoke design are not enough to give me the amount of coverage at the back of my neck that I like.
My knitting has started to move in a different direction in the last year or so. I feel as though the many years of design experimentation, trial and error with new tools and techniques, as well as vast quantities of comfort knitting have been assimilated in a way. Aesthetically, I have new, and very strong, motivations towards colour, texture and composition. This has been an overall artistic development and is tangible in all of my creative outputs, from music to weaving (yes! weaving! so many thoughts on this). In terms of knitting, I notice that I no longer collect patterns, rather I collect ideas. Small things that percolate. I often wonder about writing knitting patterns again, but I am uncertain.
The world of knitting has experienced so many positive developments since I first wrote knitting patterns, and understandably, the expectation from a paid pattern is now extremely high. I don’t have the time or energy to expend on the development of products for (in my mind) an already quite saturated market. Even the idea of constantly having to fight against algorithms is exhausting. However, the idea of sharing some ‘recipes’, a basic step-through of how I made something so that you could adapt it to something you might like to make, is very appealing. Thoughts and comments always appreciated! If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and for sharing in my mulled thoughts (like wine, but soupier).