Saturday, 19 July 2014


Aside from the occasional temperature adjustment I've never really managed my children's wardrobes. I never wanted to fight over anything as trivial as how they dressed and I wanted them to develop their own taste and style aside from approval and rebellion. For girls in particular fashion can be such a poison challis.

I love the way my kids know their own mind and make decisions on their own (they appear fairly oblivious to trends and peer pressure and branding). I get to be a part of it because I make so many of their clothes and I enjoy the collaborations we have choosing patterns and fabrics. They each approach these sessions so differently.

Recently Amy identified that she didn't have something warm and 'nice' - a going out to dinner type over layer - so we set about choosing something for me to make her on the knitting machine. She wanted a cardigan rather than jumper, with snap closure and a high neck and was keen on the idea of fair isle, but hazy on details. She perused my stash and made some choices.

I swatched this design, a sort of Nordic inspired bare branched trees motif from punch cards I'd borrowed (thanks Jules!). I liked that it would make a pattern that wasn't all over, simplifying the raglan joins and neck from a technical perspective but still providing a striking and beautiful feature. Amy approved so I pressed on.

Using the punchcard feature of the knitting machine for the tree design but also the knit radar feature which allows you to knit direct from a schematic I knocked out the sleeves, back and two fronts in about 5 hours. Well, actually I knit 3 sleeves since I made a monomuental mistake in one and had to rip it out and start again.

I washed and blocked all the pieces then joined all the raglan seams using the linker.

I then put all the neck stitches back on the machine and knit the collar, finishing with a turned hem, then seamed the sleeve and underarms. Another bath and block to remove the machine oils on the yarn and then I sewed popper tape to the front opening.

I was feeling pretty pleased with the result until Amy tried it on.

Too small! You can't see it in this photo but the sleeves were a good 10-15cm too short and e rest is wearable but tight. A whole bunch of stuff contributed to the problem, small amounts of inaccuracy on a number of fronts added up to some major size difference. The most disappointing aspect of this was that while I had plenty of the green yarn still (calypso colour in holst garn) I didn't have enough of the silver yarn (Rennie lambswool and cashmere in Apollo colour) left to start again and I can't find anywhere that ships it to Australia.

But Amy was seriously in love with it, so rather than waste time trying to find more of the same yarn she settled for the much scratchier cashmereless lambswool holst garn in a 'slate grey' that I had in the stash. I upsized the schematic, corrected my gauge calculations and set off.

Another half a day of solid knitting, washing, blocking, seaming, rehanging and collar knitting, washing and sewing on poppers and she now has a new version. This one is on the loose side (I'm hoping for 2 winters) and the yarn colours provide for much more impact.

Only problem now is what to do with version 1.



Kathie said...

The smaller sweater would make a fabulous contribution to a special charity event that had a silent auction or raffle. It is beautiful!

Tonya Bernstein said...

I noticed the tree pattern in your last post and loved it. It's (they are) even more beautiful on your beautiful daughter!

Kel said...

Both of them look divine! Talk about dedication to make the second one rather than try a dodgy fix to lengthen the sleeves on the first one.

neki desu said...

lovely sweaters! amy's going to be the envy of her group.

The Shopping Sherpa said...

Would Wil wear it?

Sharon said...

Wow!!!! On both counts.... S, I applaud you in so many ways - I have followed your blog for years and have watched your wee ones grow... Fashion especially for girls is a minefield - it is nice to see that Amy turns to her mum and that you are happy to accommodate her... She already sees the value in what you do - that is priceless... A win/win for each of you.. As for the jumper/s - wonderful - love the design love the color choice of both!!!! I only wish it came in my size!!!!!!

Annie said...

These jumpers are seriously divine! I am new to machine knitting, but would love to make something like that one day. WOW! Great Work!

Katie Daenzer said...

This may be one of my first times commenting. Just a bit shy, yet I'm over here in front of my screen oohing and ahhing over everything you make, but this sweater, !wow! it's amazing!!! I don't have a knitting machine, but now I want to come up with a more rustic, hand knit version in an adult size for myself. Thanks for the inspiration!