Given that it is Boxing Day, and I am about to show you a finished project, one might reasonably assume that this project was a Christmas gift. But you would assume wrong! Leah’s birthday falls the week before Christmas, and I knit her a SnowFlower for her birthday.
SnowFlower is a pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier, which is a yoked design using worsted weight wool. One of the interesting features of the design is that the sweater is cast on just above the armholes at the beginning of the yoke, and knit up. Afterwards the provisionary stitches are picked up and the body and sleeves are knit down. This seemed like an interesting technique, and in this case, it worked out great: the yoke was shaped with decreases instead of increases (which I think have a better look to them) but the lengths could still be determined at the end by trying on the sweater.
I knit it in De Rerum Natura Gilliatt, a worsted weight 100% merino wool from France. It is a very lofty yarn with 250 metres per 100 gram ball. The yarn is very reasonably priced, and with this excellent yardage, it comes in at just over half the price, metre for metre, of Brooklyn Tweed. (Note that I live in the UK, where it is likely that Brooklyn Tweed is more expensive and De Rerum less expensive than in the US.) I found it to be a very nice yarn to work with and produces a great, soft, lofty fabric.
I am very happy to put it on my list of great workhouse yarns, as it is nice to sometimes knit things with reasonably priced yarns. The only complaint I have so far of the yarn is that the colour palette is limited. I would have loved to have a bit more choice.
There are many great examples of this sweater on Ravelry. I was particularly inspired by two beautiful examples knit by SmashingPuffin. I am glad that I followed through because it was a delight to make, and very quick.
I wrote a few blog posts about trying to pick the right colour combination for this sweater. I really think I nailed it in the end. I am totally pleased with these colours. I think that it looks very Norwegian. The combination of the cheerful snow flowers of the pattern and the lively pop of red, make for a beautiful winter sweater. It is both warm and cozy, and sunny and bright.
I knit the sweater exactly according to the pattern. The only change I made was to add an additional 4 stitches under each sleeve (picking up 18 instead of 14 stitches). The knitting took no time; I finished in about 5 weeks. I managed to finish it in time for Leah’s birthday, but then she decided she wanted it an inch longer, so I ripped out all of the ribbing on the body and the sleeves, knit an extra inch of stockinette and then re-knitted the 3″ of ribbing.
Doug said “Why didn’t you just make the ribbing 4″ long? That way you wouldn’t have had to rip and re-knit all of that rib.” The truth is it never would have occurred to me to do that. One of the things I like about a hand-knitted sweater is that you knit it so that it is exactly right. If you wanted a sweater that wasn’t exactly right, you could buy it. Ripping and re-knitting, so that your garment turns out exactly how you want it to, is one of the joys of knitting. Call me crazy, but that’s how I feel!
We photographed this sweater today, on a fairly grey, wet Boxing Day in the beautiful village of Turville, which is frequently used as a film site. Can you see the windmill up in the top of this photo? It is the Cobstone Windmill located in the adjoining village of Ibsden, and which was used in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. (It was the home of inventor Caractacus Potts.)
This photo shoot was a family affair (just like old times!). Emma is home and so she took the photos for this post. Here is a shot I took of her doing the photo shoot:
We took some silly shots:
And here is a picture of me, pushed to the sidelines by Doug, Emma, and Leah (in a bid to keep me from micro-managing the process).
Happy holidays! And happy knitting to all!