I'm living in the hope of spring arriving soon, but at the moment this seems like a distant dream. The weather is London is horrible at the moment, as a Norwegian I shouldn't complain - but seriously this is cold! Currently on my needles (those active ones, there is no denying I've got other projects hibernating ...) are two projects I'm absolutely obsessing about - both of them super cuddly, squishy and warm - and you know what, with this weather I'm actually thinking I'll get multiple wear out of them before the warmer season strikes.

Why am I obsessing you might ask. Well, a lot of my knitting time is dedicated shop knitting - meaning the projects have a purpose meant for the shop either as a sample, to showcase a yarn, or feature a designer. Those are of course also beautiful and enjoyable knits, but the difference with the two projects I'm working on right now is that they are both intended for me. I chose them because I can wait to wear them! Both of them involve contrasting textures, which you all know I love, fun techniques, and something 'new' for me to explore. With no further ado, let me introduce you to my current knitting joy!

Autumn Forager by Jennifer Brou

The Autumn Forager (link to Ravelry) by Jennifer Brou was first published as the cover design in Laine Magazine Issue 15, and I knew immediately having opened the box with our magazines delivered that this jumper was meant for me. The jumper is knit in a classic sport weight yarn, featuring contrasting stripes of slipped stitch mock ribbing alternate with stripes of ruching for a highly textural effect. Yes, admittedly, the ruching stripes involve a lot of stitches, but broken up with the much quicker mock ribbing you don't get the chance to become bored, and the effect is so satisfying you just want to keep going.

Autumn Forager by Jennifer Brou

As I mentioned, Autumn Forager is made using a classic thickness, but also, it doesn't have a tailored shape or fit that would depend on your tension being absolutely spot on, meaning the world is your oyster coming to deciding on your yarns. As long as you are comfortable keeping an eye on your measurements, you could basically make this jumper in any weight and / or fibre composition. For my version I chose to stick to the Sport Weight, and I've been using the needle sizes recommended in the pattern, following the instructions to the letter. My only alteration is making the jumper a bit shorter, as I want to wear it under dungarees, so I skipped the last repeat of stripes on the body.

As texture is THE THING - both coming to me as a knitter and to this design - I chose to go full on! Choosing two very textural contrasting yarns, and can I just say, I believe I've outdone myself this time, I absolutely ADORE how this is coming out! For my Main Colour (the mock ribbing stripes) I decided on Stolen Stitches Nua Sport, a Merino / Yak / Linen blend with plenty of oomph and bounce, for my Contrast Colour (the ruching) I went with the super fluffy brushed Alpaca that is Cirro by the Fibre Co. Both of these have slightly heathered colours that I think adds even more depth to the contrasts featured in the design.

Maya's Autumn Forager

Yes, I am super excited about this project, and if you'd like to follow my lead on this one - I've done he maths for you here!
The pattern is graded in 11 sizes, and you want 3–6″ / 7.5–15 cm of positive ease, finished chest circumference being:
31.5 (35.75, 39.5, 43, 47.5) (51, 55.5, 59, 63.5) (67, 71.5)″ / 78.5 (89, 98.5, 107.5, 118.5) (127.5, 138.5, 147.5, 158.5) (167.5, 178.5) cm.
You need 705 (780, 950, 1030, 1205) (1280, 1330, 1410, 1635) (1725, 1935) yds / 645 (713, 869, 942, 1102) (1170, 1216, 1289, 1495) (1577, 1769) m in the Main Colour, so for Nua Sport that equals to 5 (6, 7, 7, 8) (9, 9, 10, 11) (12, 13) 50g hanks.
For the Contrast Colour you need 825 (915, 1115, 1210, 1415) (1505, 1560, 1655, 1920) (2025, 2270) yds / 754 (837, 1020, 1106, 1294) (1376, 1427, 1513, 1756) (1852, 2076) m, in Cirro that equals to 4 (4, 5, 5, 6) (7, 7, 7, 8) (9, 10) 50g hanks.

By The Way - My knitting time is limited and precious, and I've been working on my jumper for a while - back when the design was first published, my friend Tuva of Norne Yarn and I did a small cast-on Kick Off KAL knitting the Autumn Forager. If you're on Instagram, do a quick search on #fibreforaging to see some fabulous projects!

Planet A by Susanne Sommer

Even though I am desperate to finish my Autumn Forager, when Susanne Sommer published this design I simply had to take breaks and cast on the Planet A (link to Ravelry) straight away, because there is no Planet B! I guess we've reached the point where no-one is contesting the fact that our climate is changing, but how much has the climate changed, really? Within the knitting community it has been a topic for discussion for quite a while, and we've seen several designs trying to interpret temperature changes into stitches and rows. Many of us have embarked on Temperature Blankets or Shawls, where you keep track of your local temperature on a daily basis and use different colours to represent these temperatures throughout your project.

Planet A by Susanne Sommer

However, as opposed to temperature blankets or shawls, the “Planet A” project does not represent the daily weather but the difference from the monthly average temperature to the long-term monthly temperature (over a 30-year period) of a region. This visual representation of climate change hopes to make this complex topic more comprehensive and accessible. And by turning complex data into a wearable accessory, it can more easily become a talking point and conversation starter and hopefully not only lead to more awareness but individual action and mitigation of the climate crisis.

Susanne's instructions includes the resources needed to find the statistics you need for your local area, the design features 12 panels each representing the months throughout a year and you will work out a palette that represents the difference between then and now. For instance I went with the average temperatures recorded in Norway over a 30 year period, 1960 to 1990, compared to the temperatures measured in the next period, 1990 to 2020.

Ok, so this might sound difficult, but Susanne makes the process of working out your colours very easy to understand. What struck me when working out mine was how such a strong visual representation actually makes a difference in learning, because I now feel I've gained so much more knowledge, this project really helped me understand so much more about the actual changes over time and made me much more aware of the critical point we've now reached.

Maya's colours

The Planet A (link to Ravelry) design in itself is a simple knit, you can choose if you'd like to do the whole project in mindless Garter Stitch or if you'd like to spruce it up a bit alternating with Brioche. The pattern is written in two sizes - a shawl and a scarf - but basically you can adjust the width with ease. I followed Susanne's instructions, but decided on a stitch number that is between he width of the two as I wanted a wider scarf, but not as wide as the wrap. For your yarns - again the world is your oyster - the original is worked in a fingering / 4ply weight, but with a two-dimensional design like this, where tension isn't crucial for the shape, you can play with thickness and texture as much as your heart desire.

I went for an airy and super squishy texture, something that ends up quite large but that at the same time can easily be wrapped around me many times without it being heavy or dense. I'm doing mine on the needles recommended in the pattern, 4mm / US6, but I chose to use a heavier lace yarn with plenty of bloom to fill in the 'loose' stitches, the Hélène Magnùsson Gilitrutt. Being a 100% Icelandic Lambswool, there's also a more poetic reason for me to choose a Nordic yarn, having based my colour scheme / temperature chart on my home country location Norway.

Maya's Planet A

One final note on colour / yarn choice. Each monthly panel requires approx 25g, so a mini hank or so of yarn, and depending on your temperatures you might end up needing quite a few colours. As you can see from my chart above I'll be needing 8 colours for my Planet A. Gilitrutt are 25g balls in a huge range of colours, giving me more options when creating my palette.