Over the last few years the only thing I have knitted is socks and I not even started a pair this year. A while back I found a jumper in a suitcase in the attic that I had knitted about 20 years ago which I had forgotten about. I’m amazed I ever had the patience to knit it. I can’t really remember knitting this but I do remember knitting a long cardigan with a simpler cable pattern.
I wanted to challenge myself again and earlier this year I bookmarked this site selling vintage Aran patterns and I would keep going back to it. I didn’t get a pattern from this site in the end but I was in John Lewis and picked up this book of patterns, £7.95 for a good selection of Aran styles. 30 patterns in total for men and women. JL did have a single pattern for an aran cable roll neck jumper by Erika Knight but at £2.95 for the one pattern didn’t seem good value when you looked at the prices of the pattern books.
Once I had the pattern it was time to get the yarn. I spent ages on this. I was needing approx. 800gm of yarn. I didn’t want to spend a fortune but neither did I want to buy too cheap. In my price range the Aran yarns I was looking at would have around 20 – 25% wool with the rest being acrylic. You can by large 400gm balls or Aran for about £11 with 20% wool but in the end after a lot of procrastinating about quality and colour I opted for a recycled yarn from Bergere De France which was £1.95 for 50gms. What swung it was that it was the same company as the pattern book and the fact 50% is recycled ‘other fibres’ with it also having 20% wool and 30% acrylic. Straight after I bought this on-line from Love Knitting I clicked on to a story on the Guardian all about how damaging acrylic fibres are to the environment……
In my planning I had also found a book in my local library all about Aran knitting. It spoke about the history and as gave details of a wide number of cable pattern as well as patterns for jumpers and cardigans.
Both the book and the pattern magazine pointed out home important it was to do a tension square and the book also advised practicing the cable patterns separately. So I did both, I cheated on the tension square and just did an oblong . I needed to size down my needles by half a size.
The jumper I’m knitting is a bit made up. I’m taking the pattern from one but altering it to have normal sleeves rather than raglan and then instead of just a round neck, adding on a roll neck.
For the design of the cable I’m following this men’s jumper below. It has a honeycomb panel in the middle with a plait either side. It does have another design at the side but I’m leaving this out and just having moss stitch. For the size the men’s small chest measurements will work for me and I’ll follow the length for the body from women’s jumper further on in the book.
So far, so good. I’m half way up the front body. I’ve also ordered some more yarn as I’m not sure I’ll have enough. I had ordered 17 balls, 16 = 800gm and then decided on 1 extra but looking at what I have already knitted I’m thinking it’ll take 5 for each of the front and back, one for the roll neck which would only leave 3 for each sleeve. I’ve ordered another 2 and was able to check with Love Knitting that I would receive the same dye lot number.
The men’s jumper in size small requires 16 balls but I now realised that not all 50gm balls are equal. There is a handy chart in my pattern book which tells you which quality of yarn takes what size needles and how many metres are in the ball. My chosen yarn has 85mts where as other 50gm balls could have up to 120mts.
I can get a bit obsessed about how long something is going to take me to make. I do this with sewing and note out what parts will get sewn each evening and when I am likely to finish. It’s taken me about 10 evenings of knitting for 90 mins to get half way up the front, if I go on like this I think it’ll take about 2 1/2 months but then it’s already taking up all my free time….( I should be knitting not typing….). I even timed myself knitting a cable row, 12 minutes! 120 stitches. A normal row is taking about 5 minutes. A pattern repeat is 8 rows and I can just about do one repeat an evening.
Back to the pattern repeat, both the plait and the honeycomb are 8 rows with the cabling on row 3 and row 7. Luckily spending a lot of time planning this in my head I realised that having the two patterns working like this would make it much easier. I just need to have one row counter, otherwise I’d be sure to get muddled up.
Sewing seems to have gone out of the window. I do have a few things ready to start. One being a new striped Renfrew for my daughter. The one I made earlier this year was from scraps and just a bit too short in the body and arms so I’ve bought the same fabric and will now make one that fits. I’ve already sized up the pattern I made but before I can start I need to sort out the tension on the overlocker which is putting me off.
I need to ease off on the manic knitting, I’m not sure it’ll be completed by Christmas but maybe in January. Note to self, if you want to knit a complicated jumper for winter start in July not October.