Men’s Grey Shawl Collar Jumper

DSCN7541Here it is – at long last! The ‘pouch’ is still missing, but I cannot resist showing this off already. I started on this jumper for Patrick in August, inspired by this picture (below).Knit......                                             I am pleased with the result! DSCN7543A few words about the collar:

I picked up the stitches along the V-neck and knitted in purl st, increasing  1 st at the beginning and end of every 2nd row. I also increased the needle size from an initial 3.5mm, then 4.5mm to a 5.5mm to widen the edge of the shawl as much as possible. Finished with a 3 st i-cord.

And here a few technical remarks about the “set in top down fitted sleeves” a la Elizabeth Zimmermann:right shoulder front and backFor demonstration purposes I left the invisible cast on thread (maroon) in the work: shoulder sts are cast on (A in picture below) and front and back pieces (incl neck and armhole shaping) are worked up to the point that the sleeve head stitches can be picked up (B in picture below).

Section A – B: The picture above has been taken just before the sleeve head sts were picked up (2st for each 3 rows knitted). In this section I performed some short row shaping in the middle of the sleeve head (twice) to give the sleeve head some roundness.

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Section B – C: In this section I increased the sleeve by M1 on the sleeve side every 2nd row; so front, back and both sleeves were all knitted at once in the round (back an forth until front V- neck shaping was completed).DSCN7547

Section C – D: Here sts are increased on the sleeve as well as on the body (front and back) to shape the scye of both armhole and sleeve.DSCN7548

At D: The remaining body sts are cast on and the sleeve sts are left alone… from here the body is knitted in the round. When the body is completed, the sleeve sts (under arm sts) are picked up (same amount as cast on at D for the body) and the sleeve is worked in the round.DSCN7549

Peace at Last!

I have worked out all the issues… and I think now I can anticipate a calm and quiet weekend! I jumped out of bed early this morning and felt like screaming Eureka! In my sweet half slumber, while the birds were tuning up, it came to me how the sleeve heads are done! Much unraveling has occurred to get to this stage of this project and there are two things I’d really like to go on record: (1) I am not one for easily giving myself credit, but I am almighty proud of this jumper, having solved all the issues and problems with the design, matching the stripes to the size and design and so forth… (2) Even when the going got tough and I was in states of frustration, exultation, passion or flow – I did write a comprehensive pattern of those sections, this is a first! I usually get carried away and just get it done somehow and then cannot remember how on earth I did it.DSCN6570

Neckline challenge: I wasn’t sure if the neck really was going to sit nicely, being so square… I altered the Kangaroo Pouch Jumper pattern by starting the neckline of the front a stripe lower than the beginning of the shoulder.

Shoulder challenge: Uh, I didn’t take a picture of the back shoulder, hm. Well, in the above picture you can see a red stripe finishing the back piece. That stripe has got short rows on the side to shape the shoulder – and it was tricky to match the short rows with the stripes.

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Armhole challenge 1: This picture illustrates  the name Kangaroo Pouch Jumper fairly well – an unusually big amount of stitches is put on hold (they look like kangaroo pouches, eh?); then one knits around the entire armhole (picking up stitches along the steek and along the ‘pouch stitches’) and then the top down set in sleeves are worked, starting up at the shoulder. A steek, YIKES! I did have a good look on google for steek information, but then decided to take Elizabeth Zimmermann’s instructions on face value: I stitched two rows of short zig zag along the opening, which I had basted carefully and then…DSCN6578.

… I cut it open!

Armhole challenge 2: I followed EZ’s instructions to the dot here, picking up the ‘pouch’ stitches that were on hold and then picking up around the armhole 2 stitches to every 3 rows, which resulted in a really nice and smooth finish.

Sleeve head challenge: I tried and tried, followed the instruction to the dot but couldn’t get it to work. EZ’s method is starting the sleeve head at the shoulder seam and then increasing the one st at the end of each row (short row shaping) as well as decreasing the armhole stitches. I couldn’t get the decrease to look neat with the stripes and all… so I hoped for the best that a solution may come to me.DSCN6599

Collar challenge: I wasn’t sure if the collar was going to sit nicely, being so square – but hey – looks good to me! I used the same method as for the hem, just in reverse (knitting lining last and then hand sewing it down.

I saved the best for last – the Eureka Moment. Instead of decreasing the armhole stitches, I decreased stitches within the sleeve cap! I thus had no issues with stripe colors from the sleeve head colliding with the light grey stripe of the armhole and making a mess. And an additional bonus was (which I didn’t know until I did it!) that my sleeve head stripes match the ones on the body!

Have a great weekend!

A perfect location for the Shellseeker

I have been working on Heidi Kirrmaier’s Shellseeker (call this part of my pattern writing research…) and now that I am in the final throws of knitting the sleeves, I had the longing to smell the sea! Nobody wanted to come with me to one of our lovely surf beaches… so this is where we ended up, for more than one reason…

Call it serenity…DSCN6513DSCN6515

Call it safe…DSCN6517DSCN6522

Call it heavenly for dogs… who were not sure which part of the beach they were allowed to roam off-leash and had fun trying to score some of the fishermen’s bait…DSCN6521

But let’s look at my Shellseeker… here it is. It is such a wonderful classic shape! DSCN6526

I have performed a few changes: first of all, I used different yarn, some lovely natural stuff I bought in Tasmania in January. I had 450gr of light, 250 gr of dark – and thus I changed the stripe pattern (it is supposed to be 2 rows light, 2 rows dark – I have 4 rows light, 2 rows dark). I added a rib at the neck and at the edge of the pocket, I felt that gives it a bit more of a finished look. I also used a stripy rib (k2 dark, p2 light) – so the interplay of different stripes adds another dimension to the jumper. Finally, I shaped the waist, though I am a tomboy who lives is jeans and doc martins throughout the year… I start to discover a feeble feminine side in my personality and thought this may help to bring it out.
As part of my serious research into knitting set- in top down sleeves I had ordered Barbara Walker’s ‘Knitting from the Top’ which now has arrived.DSCN6527

Oh what a wonderful book! Just like Elizabeth Zimmermann and Maggie Righetti – she talks about principles, proportions and relations, it all makes sense to me. Now what?
Well, I have started something very feminine for myself – I firmly believe of starting a new project before finishing and existing one… Why? Well, because that gives me time to carefully swatch, plan, design a new project. If I wait until the old one is finished, I am too tempted to rush to get something new on the needles.

Here is a sneaky preview, this is a Japanese adventure which warrants a lot more explanation another day…DSCN6285DSCN6287

New Inspiration

I have been lying low, and since this blog is a MFZ (moan free zone), I have been thinking whilst doing the hoovering this afternoon what positive there is in being so busy like I am right now (and now I surrender to the idea that it will not change) – see, not that I am unhappy with life at all, but the work – knit balance has been totally out of whack since this year kicked off. I came out of my little reflection thinking that if this is my only problem, then I am doing really well.

What is really positive about being so busy is that I get a nice paycheck, have lovely colleagues, interesting and stimulating work that I am largely in charge of and that I am being very organized fitting all manner of things into a tight schedule. Another really good thing is that everybody around me is picking up tasks that I am too busy to do… the kids are very much pulling their weight with chores and dog walking. So – what problem???
DSCN5881This arrived in the post this week – lovely yarns from Zigo Zago… and I guess that’s when it hit me that I have not knitted anything for myself in ages, even though this year was going to be all about me in the knitting department. And all I wanted to do is take to my bed for 3 weeks and knit something amazing for myself. But there are projects in the cue…

As I tidied the house, I thought that meeting my frustration head on would help coping. So I got all my yarns that I have accumulated (against all good intentions) over the last year in a vacuum bag – to look at, to acknowledge that they will really just be on hold until further notice (until I have finished my current 3 projects).DSCN5886 Not bad, eh? From left to right, let me introduce you: Merino yarn from Zigo Zago, I am dying to make a Twin Set (yesss!!!) or a lovely longish tunic, then gorgeous Shetland yarns for a wonderful Fair Isle jumper, then cream and dark brown yarn I bought in Tasmania, then bright red for a nice something or other and a lovely charcoal for another something or other… And then look at this, I sucked the air out of the bag to keep the yarns nice and clean and moth free!DSCN5887 I also thought I should put a photo of ‘the other’ baby jump suit on this post, just to realize that even though I have not been able to dedicate as much time to knitting as I would have loved lately, I am still getting somewhere, if but slowly… this one is of the stripy variety, and it is actually great to do another one to really check the pattern details!DSCN5888 And then I just got on with it. Knittathon galore. I watched 3 movies straight: one with my daughters, one with my son, one on my own – and the Bull Jumpers’ intarsia is just about done, I cannot believe it myself! What was all that agro about?!?!?! Another thing I have done over the last few months, being short of time, I have relocated the shed into a wonderful trunk that serves as a coffee table in our lounge room. It has all I need, right there, no need to even leave the armchair (once I am in it…), tough I will need to lift the wine glass for access…DSCN5885DSCN5884Uh, with all this under my belt for achievements on a Friday night, I am ready to take on house hunting, basketball matches, weekly food shopping, soccer trials and the rest of it for the weekend. No worries.