I've been treading water lately.
Trying to make the days bearable, until the next thing I have to look forward to.
Late July and August were such difficult stretches. Lonely, searching...but September showed up and I feel like I have footing again, even if just a little.
During the summer months when I was banging around trying to find something or someone to help me figure stuff out, I wrote this:
It's simple. Nothing to call home about, really. I prefer constancy and safety to flash and dazzle anyway.
I wrote about this sweater earlier, but after more than a few moments of disillusionment with knitting pattern design in general, I lost the plot and decided to just write a little about the yarn, and a slap dash pattern here instead of putting out some fancy PDF with no soul.
What is the point in a hand knitted garment anyway if it doesn't have a story?
This particular tale begins in Ireland.
In 2018 I had a 2 week holiday with my daughter, traveling the country side and spending time in a small apartment we rented in Dublin's center. It was one of my favorite get-aways to memory, because my daughter and I spent a lot of time knitting together. We sat in cafes, she drank cocoa with heaps of marshmallows on top while I watched the rain. It was drizzly and kind of miserable a good deal of the time, but I think one really understands the value of a woolen garment in weather like that, so I didn't mind.
As per usual I did a lot of yarn shopping, and I visited a grand little shop called "The Constant Knitter". The owner and I had a lovely visit and I went home with a large shopping bag full of local yarn from Cushendale Woolen Mills.
This mill started producing yarns in the 1700's, and in my mind, they are probably the most talented color blenders in the entire world. Just looking at it all lined up in the little cubbies brought the "yarn tingles"...
On handle: It's not soft, but if that's all you're looking for in a wool, what the hell are you doing reading my blog?
Irish wool has great character, and while it might nearly saw your finger in half if you are trying to knit quickly, it's hard wearing, long living and keeps shape better than any yarn I've ever met.
Enough of that.
On we go.
Later in the year I spent time in Scotland. When I was in Dublin earlier that year I knitted one of my first X and O traditional Fair Isle sweaters. I decided it would be a fun exercise to try to add a similar theme to this sweater... The X and O motif is probably my favorite regional theme, as it is just a constant, and gentle reminder that we are all connected, and whether we like it or not, our lives are intertwined.
So, on to a pattern.
This sweater comes in a whopping 1 size. It's free, so do with that what you'd like. Use your creative genius, and your amazing knitting skills to make it fit, if it doesn't.
The finished measurements are about 120cm around the bust, it's plenty roomy for a gal like me, and might just fit up to an XL.
What you need:
4 balls of MC (slate) Cushendale Irish wool DK (more if you want to make the body or sleeves longer)
1 ball of White Cushendale Irish wool DK
1 ball of Red Cushendale Irish wool DK
1 ball of Dark grey Cushendale Irish wool DK
1 ball of Silver Cushendale Irish wool DK
1 ball of Blue Cushendale Irish wool DK
4.00mm and 5.00mm 100cm circular needles
a needle for sewing in ends
I started this sweater on size 4.00mm needles. I cast on 96 stitches using the italian cast on (tubular 1x1)
After the initial cast on is finished, place a marker, join in the round, and work 12 rounds of 1x1 rib.
Change to 5.00mm needles and begin working the chart.
After completing the chart, 288 stitches should now be on your needles.
So, lets do some arranging.
Knit across the next 80 stitches.
Turn, slip one, purl until the marker.
When you get back to the marker, slipping the first stitch of each row, do that 6 more times (for a total of 8 rows knit back and forth.)
These 80 stitches form the back of the sweater.
On the next row, knit across those 80 stitches again, put the next 64 stitches on a spare cable, a bit of waste yarn or an extra circular needle you have laying about, and cast on 10 stitches (I used the cabled cast on). Continue knitting the next 80 stitches on the original needle. This is the front of the sweater.
At the end of the 80 stitches, put the next 64 stitches on another bit of waste yarn, cast on another 10 stitches, and continue to the back of your sweater. You should now have a garment that is starting to take the shape of a sweater, with a neck hole, two sleeves, and a spot for your trunk.
Continue knitting until the sweater reaches the desired length. I knitted a total of 48 centimeters. You can put an ornamental 2x2 red chain at the bottom of the sweater, or just leave it happily blue.
Change back to the 4.00mm needles and knit 5cm of 1x1 rib.
For the sleeves:
Using the 5.00mm needle, and Starting at the center of the under arm, pick up 5 stitches closest to the front of the sleeve and start knitting around the 64 stitches on the waste yarn. When you finish knitting those, pick up the last 5 stitches on the under arm.
Knit without decreasing for 22cm.
For the next section of the sleeve, decrease 1 stitch at the beginning and the end of each row every 6th row.
do this 9 times, for a total of 18 stitches decreased.
When the sleeve is deemed long enough, change back to the 4.00mm needle and knit 5cm of 1x1 rib.
Repeat once more on the opposite side.
Wash your sweater, because it's probably dirty from all the places you dragged it around to...
sew in the ends,
Do yourself a favor, and Iron block the living daylights out of it. The yoke will lay much nicer and any rippling will fall away.
Here's to an autumn that doesn't suck, and to keeping direction, my sensibilities, and my feet where they belong.