2016 feels like the year that handknitting became more fashion-forward than ever, and I was helplessly swept along with the trends. I cast on this sweater at the end of October, and I can write a firm checklist of all the directional details that it features:
- Dipped hem
- Split ribbing
- Chunky yarn
- Long cuffs
- Cropped length
- Oversized poloneck
- Basic black
That's SEVEN points of trendiness! And I don't regret it one single bit: I love, love, absolutely love this sweater. I was rather sad to give it away - but alas, it was made as a Christmas present for my sister. I forced her to wear it on Christmas day even though she was sweating up from a viral infection, and in no way would have chosen to wear a woolly jumper in that condition. I think that she sensed she had no choice in the matter (or the jumper would have left the house on my back).
The pattern is Snug by Kim Hargreaves, a pattern from another back issue of Rowan magazine (no. 30) that I've had kicking around for years and never knit anything from. The yarn is R2 Fuzzi Felt, Rowan's short-lived, off-shoot "funky" yarn range aimed at teenagers. I fudged around with the gauge and the pattern sizing, eventually casting on adult size L which came out around adult size S. I did some arithmetic for the sleeve head, so that it came out the same size as the arm hole.
Ages ago, Rowan were selling off lucky-dip bundles of 4 magazines from their back catalogue for not much money, and as I was new to knitting and seeking to build up my pattern library, I ordered a set. I was somewhat disappointed by the selection that I received at the time: the magazines featured upteen stocking stitch sweaters using traditional bottom-up / in pieces construction. The internet knit blogging scene was going strong (this was just before Ravelry) and top-down raglans and in-the-round construction was all the rage. Rowan's offerings felt dull and out-of-date. Now, however, I have the opposite feeling about them. They offer a range of blank canvases, plain sweaters in a range of gauges that I can adapt to my own purposes as I wish, cutting out some of the mathematical jiggling. Lately, I find that I dip in and out of these magazines quite frequently.
I bought the yarn half price around 8 years ago and started knitting a jacket which never got off the ground. I recently frogged it during a de-cluttering frenzy that also led to the release of the red merino for my Christmas cardigan, and a jumper's worth of green Shetland wool that I'm turning into a better jumper. The yarn is a strange blend (58% nylon, 20% acrylic, 16% merino wool, 6% alpaca) that has very little elasticity, and is quite hard on the hands whilst knitting. However, the final jumper is incredibly soft, snuggly, and quite lovely to wear: cosy without being overly warm. I have another jumper's worth of it in a lovely forest green, as well as some stray balls in orange and blue. The green can be a Christmas jumper for someone else next year, and I might just donate the rest - unless any readers would like it? - let me know in the comments!
Poor sis has been too ill to let me photograph her wearing the sweater, so I'm wearing it here instead. Taking photographs of a black sweater in December is not an easy task at all; I ended up using a long exposure time, which resulted in some weirdly 'atmospheric' photographs.
Pattern: Snug by Kim Hargreaves, Rowan 30
Yarn: Rowan R2 Fuzzi Felt, 9 balls
Cost: about £20 but 8 years ago, so really £0