Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Progress Report

It is now two weeks and a day since I cast on Dad's Fair Isle jumper, having swatched over the weekend and the body of the jumper is now 12 inches long.  I am in the middle of the last "OXO" repeat of the sequence and will start again from the beginning, but with the "OXO"s differently aligned next.


The jumper is somewhat all consuming and has kept me occupied for most of my knitting time and I am enjoying the rhythm of the knitting and the absorption it requires so as not to make a mistake.  It is mindful knitting, which keeps me focussed and in the present.  Meanwhile, the geometric nature of these old patterns cleverly breaks down complicated effects into variations on simple themes of, for example, three stitches of one colour, followed by one of another across one row and the opposite across another.


Without wishing to sound overly self-satisfied I must confess that I am thrilled at how well the colours have come out, I never dreamt they would work so well first time and thought I would have go through a tedious process of changing colours and making several orders to get it right.  It is a real boost to have it go so well.  Anyhow, there is plenty more to do on it so I had better get going again before my Dad notices - I would knit it my every waking hour if he had his way!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Right Time To Begin

You may, or may not, have noticed that this week is Shetland Wool Week, which is being marked in Shetland by a variety of events.  Entirely co-incidentally this is also the week that I have made a start on the Fair Isle sweater my dad has wanted for ages.  He is one of the most knit-worthy people I know, not only wearing the things I make him but also showing them off to all and sundry and taking care of them.  His love of being knitted for is life-long and he has not quite got over his mother switching from knitting for him to knitting for his nieces and nephew when he was in his late teens.  Although he later made up for this by getting his grandmother-in-law to knit for him, a mutually beneficial relationship as she loved having someone to knit for.


After a day spent studying the Jamieson's of Shetland spindrift colourcard, a thing of beauty in itself, until I was in a whirl of colour, I eventually picked out my colours, with some trepidation in case they did not work out.  Mercifully they do seem to work, bright and colourful without being too "in your face" or garish.  I wanted colours that had some tradition behind them, but that avoided the beige background of many Fair Isle sweaters.


I have put together motifs from an old picture featured in Michael Pearson's book Traditional Knitting, which he had helpfully charted, together with a variety of peeries, some from the original sweater, some from Alice Starmore's invaluable Fair Isle Knitting.  Michael Pearson's Traditional Knitting was a library find and the book that first got me interested in the knitting of the past.  For the charts themselves, rather than spending hours hunched over graph paper, I found some excellent software online called KnitBird, which is charting software for both colour work and textured or lace knitting and allows you to flip and repeat motifs among other handy features.  The finished charts look professional and polished too; I'm pleased with it, well worth the money.

So now all I have to do is knit it.  I began yesterday and am something just over an inch through the ribbing.  Here goes... I may be some time.

The Ravelry project page is here and has details of which colours I am using.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Seasonal bewilderment

This unseasonably warm weather has caused the garden to be a profusion of flowers and unseasonable new growth, so that alongside more usual sights there are also fresh nasturtiums coming up, summer flowers still flowering and even supposedly spring flowers putting out fresh flowers.

Next door's apples ripening in profusions

Holly berries ripening, we shall be unlikely to have any left by Christmas for the Christmas pudding given the birds' appetites.

The roses by the pond, although they have flowered in mid-winter before, they have a natural enthusiasm.

Summer flowers and foliage

A hoverfly on a poppy

More poppies in waiting

And lastly some enthusiastic primroses