Entering a yarn shop, approaching those walls covered in woolly loveliness, sometimes it can be hard to visually imagine how a yarn will look like knitted up as a garment. You are just so completely surrounded by colour it can be hard to mentally distinguish between them. I find it particularly difficult to choose multicoloured yarns, although they look pretty neatly rolled up in balls, I hardly ever dare to buy them because I'm just too unsure about how the final result will look like. I believe this is why most of us feel more comfortable approaching those shelves with a particular pattern in mind. However a few, very dedicated, knitters I know enter the yarn shop in a different manner.
One of my regulars, and I have to say a very skilled knitter, comes in to browse the shelves to see what grabs her attention. She will pick up a ball that strikes her and study it closer. It might sound weird but it is like if she lets the yarn 'speak' to her, and you can see she is quickly brainstorming alternative uses for the yarn. She will normally leave with that one ball of yarn, and take it home to experiment. A few days later she'll be back with a certain project in mind.
This early spring she knitted two jumpers in two completely different yarn qualities, yet they are both so very much 'her'. She kindly agreed to let me take some pictures to show you all. I think it is pretty amazing how the designs of her garments perfectly compliment the yarns that she originally picked up. To give us some insight into how she approached and created her jumpers, she also generously gave us a brief description of her knitting process. I don't know about you, but I find these notes incredible fascinating. Now that I've seen these beautiful results of her work, I feel inspired to widen my own comfort zone and maybe allow myself to choose yarns for future projects in a more immediate and playful manner. And maybe, so will you.
Jumper 1 in Pure MILK Fiber
by Viking of Norway
The black and white first: it is an adapation of Kim Hargreaves's pattern 'Paloma' from her collection of designs 'Whisper'. For a softer drape I have knitted it in the round and I have cast on the body in a cream-coloured milk yarn that I had left from a past project as I didn't have the thinner size needle I would have needed for the bottom bit. Originally, I wanted to use the preliminary cast on to be able to knit the bottom bit downwards once I had bought the thinner needles but then I found that the cream line actually accentuates the bottom of the garment very nicely, and so I left it as it was.
Another way in which my top differs from its inspiration is that I shaped the shoulder by short-row-wrapping and then joined the shoulder seams by crocheting the live stitches together, for a very neat and firm seam. Lastly, I picked up stitches for the sleeves at the arm holes - as the top is so wide that the armholes are reaching onto the 'arm' and therefore no sleeve cap shaping was needed, but I could just diminish the width of the sleeve as I went downwards, in increasing intervals. Finally, I sewed the lower edge of the sleeves together - and before I did so, I went through the row of picked-up stitches at the armhole edge and tightened them backwards so the first row looks now nice and tight.
Jumper 2 in Eco-Baby
by Debbie Bliss
The red sweater (which turned out a tee): I wanted to use that yarn because the colour hooked me. The pattern is my own idea and I did it because I liked the geometric, open fabric pattern of the black and white sweater, and wanted to continue to experiment with open fabric, but in a geometric way, not going into floral laces. I thought about ways to create an open fabric with vertical stripes. First I thought about going across, so that I would knit horizontal wrap stitches and they would appear vertically in the finished top. But I had seen ladder stitch in a store bought garment recently and I liked the straight lines as opposed to the zig zag lines in the wrap stitch I had just used for the other top.
I again knitted the body in the round, but this time I decided to take the short-row-wrapping a step further and shaped not only the shoulders but also the neckline that way, finishing it off with 3 rows in single rib. To finish off the piece I picked up stitches around the armhole and knitted 6 rows in single rib, as 3 rows looked too narrow