OPP: Other People’s Patterns – What’s just come off my needles

Jimiknits in Garri (modified)

Typical! I’ve always been late to the newest ‘knitting craze’, be it for double-knitting, for fair-isle, for brioche stitch (which I still have yet to master), for modular knitting… and for the love of Stephen West designs!

In this case, I was late to the Lopi party! More importantly, Icelandic sweaters. Lopi by Istex is the standard yarn used for such projects and my local yarn store: www.gilliangladrag.co.uk has been stocking various Lopi yarns in a beautiful range of colours!

I found this pattern in the Lopi Book No. 34 – called “Garri” by Védís Jónsdóttir.

Garri Sweater and Lopi Yarn

I wanted to turn this sweater into a zip-up cardi and the only way to do that would be to work it in the round then steek it down the middle. Most Icelandic yoke sweaters are worked in the round anyway, but from the bottom-up – a new experience for me. I always choose top-down, if I can help it.

My Colours:

A – 86 Beige (main colour)
A (alt) – 0051 White – to be used as flashes of colour in the colourwork.
B – 9964 Yellow
C – 9972 Ecru

February 10, 2017: Quit stalling and get on wivvit!!

OK…, having studied the pattern extensively, having swatched and then re-swatched a few test pieces, I came to the conclusion that this sweater pattern was not going to work for me. It is a man’s sweater after all and for some reason the hem measurement is unbelievably narrow, I wondered if it would even fit my husband!

I didn’t trust the pattern’s tension either. My gauge was way off! This meant that I would not only have to go up 2 needle sizes, but I’d have to follow size XL to make sense of the numbers. I was not comfortable with following the pattern like this, but I really did like the design. I took the decision to reverse-engineer it by working it from the top down. I was going to modify it by making it into a zip-up cardi anyway, but there was going to be some obvious changes to the Icelandic yoke design.

Gah! I’ll just make it up as I go along!

February 20, 2017: I’m on the right track – yay!

Well, who’d have thought that reversing an Icelandic yoke chart would be so easy? I measured my neck circumference and added about 2” of ease. This gave me approx. 65 sts. A great deal of jiggery-pokery was required to make sure the repeat patterns started and ended at the right place – plus, I had to remember that I’d allowed an extra 5 sts in the centre front as my steeking strip.

Garri in progress - yoke view

Where the pattern showed decreases, I replaced them with increases using KFB. By getting the difficult part of the construction nailed down first, it means that the rest will be so much easier. Somehow, by doing it this way, it all made sense. I can’t see why more Icelandic sweaters are not made this way.

March 1, 2017: Looking OK so far, but…

…my tension had gone into ‘ultra-murderous’ mode! The plain stockinette body is looking a little bit small for my liking. This was fine if I wanted it to be more fitted at the waist, but I’ve got no ‘waist’ to speak of, so accentuating a flat panel was not going to work for me! I was thinking I could expand this area when I come to block it. But if not, then I’d have to cut out the stockinette portion and re-knit it, then graft the bottom bit to the colourwork section…. bleh?! (sigh!) Yes, sometimes it seems like I do like to make my life difficult!

garri with body

March 5, 2017: Gulp!

I can see why many people don’t bother knitting ‘on the hoof’ like this because it can be a minefield of errors and pitfalls! In this case my extremely tight tension had lost me about 1.25 inches in the body circumference. In addition to that, I was a little too generous with the sleeve allowance, which may be the main reason why the body circ was tighter than expected.

I am an inventor if nothing else, so I’m bound to find a solution… and this was it: Thankfully the sleeve allowance was not a major problem, so I would simply do a few rapid decreases to get around that. To make up for the loss in body circ however, I picked up and knitted stitches for the front band ribbing and made them a bit longer than I had planned to. The zip would be attached to that, so I would have made up for the lost circ at the front of the body… phew!

garri yoke with ribbing

March 8, 2017: The home straight

My sleeves (at upper arm) were going to be larger than expected so I ripped back and tackled this by doing a few rapid decreases and used 6.5mm needles instead of 7mm as planned. This seemed to work out well. For the lower sleeve, I mirrored the same zigzag design.

garri blocking

Blocking: After weaving in all the ends, I put it in a lukewarm bath to soak. I added a bit of woolwash and hair conditioner, a protein-rich type that should only be used for treatments and should only be used sparingly…. I may have poured in a little too much because the fibres were blooming all over the place! Got to admit it though, the fabric is REALLY SOFT now! I left it to dry directly on the mannequin so that if it DID shrink, it wouldn’t get any smaller.

March 13, 2017: Let’s cut that sh!t up!!

Cutting the steek wasn’t as scary as it seemed. I didn’t need to reinforce the steek first either, because the yarn bloomed like a crazy thing, there’s no chance in the world of any of those stitches coming loose!

garri steeking

After steeking I hand sewed the flaps to the inside using a tapestry needle and the main colour yarn. The zip was hand sewn to the ribbing – a slow process, but much better and neater than machine-stitching it in place.

Jimiknits in Garri

The Fit

I love it! It fits my frame surprisingly well. I suspect that having dried it directly on the mannequin helped to create the perfect fit. I even expected the yarn to itch me madly, but it doesn’t irritate me at all. The fabric is warm and firm… perhaps a bit too fluffy (due to my over-zealous handling of hair conditioner!), but I’m sure that it will calm down once I’ve worn it a few times.

jimiknits in Garri

Where you goin’, you SuperChunky thing?!!

Well… it’s certainly cold enough to warrant getting out those chunky weight yarns from my stash cupboard – but wait a minute– I don’t have enough chunky yarn to make a sweater!! Oops! 😳

Ha! I’m Just ‘Plying’ with You!

No worries, because I managed to get some help from a fellow Ravster (or ‘Rav-buddy’, ‘Rav-chum’ = a friend on Ravelry.com) called KayGirlsKnitter. He makes these amazing MEGA-chunky sweaters and coats and he does this by plying many strands of yarns of differing weights and fibres together. The result of this is a super-thick strand of knitting that is worked up with needle sizes starting from 10mm upwards.

Taking his techniques on board, I rustled up a quick ‘n’ thick jacket of my own. It doesn’t get nearly cold enough in the UK to need anything as thick as KayGirlsKnitter’s jackets (having said that, it is -3ºc here today, brrr!), so I made my jacket with 9 strands of various yarns using 12mm needles. The fabric composition was a mixture of (in order of quantity): merino, camel, mohair, alpaca, silk and acrylic. Plying yarns like this is a good way to use up your ever-encroaching stash and it creates some beautiful textures and colours. This jacket is so lovely and warm, yet it’s surprisingly light in weight too. I love how it came out – I wear it a lot! 😃

compost jacket by jimiknits

New Pattern Release

Veza = ‘Reveal’ or ‘Show’ in Zulu. I loved knitting this sweater! For me, it was so easy to knit, but I don’t mind telling you it was a b!tch to write the pattern! Size grading maths…Ugh! Anyway, I’m so glad that the pattern and the sweater came out good in the end. My test knitters did a fantastic job on theirs, check them out on the pattern page here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/veza

Veza sweater by jimiknits

veza in blue by jimiknits

On a Lighter Note…

This was a little project I had been working on in the background while I was writing Veza. This is ByeLine… or at least a modified version of it. I’ve simply taken the original design and added a diamond lace pattern to the lower half of it. This modification is so easy to implement, that it doesn’t need another written addendum to the pattern. Just find a lace pattern you like and add it in! I can’t wait to wear it.

byeline in lace by jimiknits

What’s next…?

I’ve been hampered with tendonitis in my wrist since August and it doesn’t look like I’ll be doing much heavy-duty knitting for Christmas. If anything, I’m going to have to do something inventive with my Addi Circular Knitting Machines! Projects like this:

pj monster muncher by jimiknits

This little monster is a Pyjama Muncher! A 30cm x 30cm plump cushion with a zip-opening to stow away your PJ’s! I made him using both Addi Prof (22) and Addi King (46) machines, a sewing machine and a pompom maker (all the tools, man!). There’s been quite a few requests for these… particularly from adults, hmm…! 😅

Yarn Whispering

Light Hearted by JimiKnits Before I start a design project, it’s often the case that a dialogue will happen between myself and the yarn in question. While talking to yarn, I would listen carefully to what it’s telling me. Mad? Yes, but it’s not uncommon to find me staring intently at a skein of yarn having some kind of telepathic conversation with it (you ought to see it in action – it’s quite a picture!).

Yeavering Bell 4ply by Whistelbare Yarns is a Mohair/Wensleydale yarn that is fluffy, shiny and comes in a lovely collection of subtle colours. It was difficult to pick just one when I bought it at the iKnit Fandango in May 2015. Generally, I’m not used to working with fibrous yarns like this, so the conversation with it was a little unclear – I couldn’t quite understand the language of this yarn. Things seemed to get lost in fluffy translation!

So here I was, with no idea what I was going to do. I worked some quick numbers and drew up a provisional format for the construction, then dived in. It was going to be a jumper… but how?

Light Hearted by Jimenez Joseph

I found a cute heart motif stitch pattern in Wendy Bernard’s book “Dictionary of stitches – up, down and around” and I thought it would be great to use it in this sweater. The yarn however, was proving to be quite interesting. While knitting, the subtle sheen and the halo of fluff appeared to open up nicely, giving the knitted fabric a ‘fairy’ dress look. After a while, the mohair began to fly off in all directions, like microscopic fairies and attach themselves to clothing on contact. But despite that, the softness and sheen was giving the piece a lovely appearance, so I carried on.

Verdict

It was a Love/Hate relationship with this yarn.

I hated it because the fibres flew everywhere! It stuck to furniture, it stuck to clothing and it also got stuck down my throat – many times! On occasions, I’d find myself hacking and retching in an effort to cough up a hair ball like a cat!

I loved it because I loved the look of the yarn, the halo of the mohair and the sheen of the Wensleydale. It gave the fabric a luxurious quality. It’s different from what I am used to knitting with – an alternative look and feel perhaps. In some ways it was almost worth the respiratory upset just to get a result like this.

Light Hearted by Jimenez Joseph

If I were to do it again, I’d opt for a yarn with less quantity of mohair. And so the hunt begins…! ♥

I CAME. I SAW. I DESTROYED!

The title says it all, really.
My teenage daughter came to me with a photo of a sweater that looked like whoever wore it had stepped on a land mine!  Yes…. anyway, I was delighted that she finally wanted me to knit something for her.

The conversation went like this:

DD: Mum, can you knit something like this for me? (pointing at photo)

Me: Hang on, let me get this right, you want ME to knit you a jumper, BADLY???

DD: Yes! (nodding head enthusiastically)

Me: But this jumper is messed up in so many ways, why don’t YOU make it?

DD: Because I can’t KNIT!!!

Me: Does that really MATTER??!!

Well, I gave in and hunted through my yarn stash to see if I could find something fluffy and annoying.

I dug out a few balls of Soft Alpakka from Sandnes Garn that I had put aside for a “Killing” jumper. It had been sat there for well over a year waiting for me to get on with it, but never did. In fact, the yarn is not as annoying as it looks. It is INCREDIBLY soft! It has 80% baby alpaca and 20% acrylic. Most alpaca yarns have a slight prickly edge to it, but not this. Normally I would stay away from anything acrylic too, but this one had won me over.

The Destruction

I was a teenager of the ’80s, so at least I could channel my inner punk and be creative while I knit. Apart from taking down measurements and a quick sketch, all the design was done on the needles. Every now and then I would deliberately drop a stitch and allow it to run. In most cases, the run would only go for about 3 rows, so I had to force it down to get a proper run.

I only had 2 balls of black, so to economize, I added light blue intarsia block. I don’t know what I was intending to achieve with this shape or method, but as I said, there was no planning… just doing!

I really enjoyed knitting on the fly like that. It was fun!

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iCSD