I am so excited to be able to write this post and triumphantly claim that I have knitted my first jumper!
My creative goal for this year was to make myself garments. I have been knitting myself socks, shawls and hats for several years now and have made a couple of baby cardigans but the step up to a properly fitted, me sized garment seemed like a massive and daunting leap.
You may have seen that I started with crochet as it is the craft I find easier to understand and in March I finished my Isla Top. I have been wearing and wearing it and it really boosted my confidence to have a go at knitting a jumper.
I made the decision about which jumper to choose when I was reading Handywoman by Kate Davies. In the book Kate describes knitting a jumper, with cabled owls around the yoke and then writing it down in what was her first pattern. I felt like it had a chance of being within my skill level and I loved the idea of owls giving a bit of interest rather than a plain jumper.
The pattern calls for bulky weight yarn knit in the round, from the bottom up and can be found here.
I prefer to knit with indie dyed yarn from small UK based producers and am in the privileged position of being able to afford to do so for socks and shawls but when I started crunching the numbers for a jumper I became very anxious about sinking that much cash into my first attempt at anything. I opted for Cascade Ecological Wool in Antique which is a more affordable option and a warm grey colour.
I was deeply invested in making this work out and so not only did I knit a gauge swatch, I blocked it too! And then felt like a proper, responsible grown up rather than my usual seat of the pants winging it style. It’s a good job I did too as I discovered I needed to go up a needle size in order to make gauge and I’m sure I would have been devastated if I had made a jumper that didn’t fit.
Then it was a case of casting on, a little bit of rib and then acres and acres of stocking stitch. Mile after mile of the stuff. It made for wonderfully relaxing evenings in front of the TV but wasn’t very instagrammable! One of the problems I have with ready to wear clothing is finding items with long enough sleeves and so I hoped to remedy that with this jumper. I measured and tried on and measured again, all the while continuing on with my stocking stitch and was really hopeful but it turns out in the finished jumper they still aren’t quite long enough. Maybe they’ll lengthen a bit with blocking (which I still haven’t gotten round to) but its a definite lesson learned for next time.
Once I reached the point of joining the sleeves to the body of the jumper, with the help of multiple, bright pink lifelines, the whole thing flew along and the cabled owls I’d been so excited about took shape in just one evening. The neck shaping was another evening and all of a sudden I had a jumper!
But did it fit?
Yeah it did!
I’m chuffed to bits and so proud of myself. I knitted a jumper for me and it fits!
Next step, a jumper in finer wool. But maybe more socks first.