Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Loving the Lovebirds 

Or how I lost my mind and decided to knit a picture jumper.

Bestway 2063, or the Lovebirds jumper, is a 1940s design, which I bought as a PDF from Etsy having seen some lovely versions around the inter-web and falling for its charms big time.

Now, this is only my second attempt at garment knitting, which is I can see with hindsight is really quite ambitious.

Here is my first garment, a very respectable effort which gets worn a lot. It is from the book Vintage Knits made up in Rowan 4ply Soft (Sandalwood). It used stocking stitch, ribbing, moss stitch, and some eyelets, all quite straight forward. After only ever having knitted cushions I was looking forward to making my first ever garment, but was rather hampered by a frozen shoulder which meant I had to stop knitting altogether. So this took 4 years to finish!

The yarn is exactly what it says, very soft. I was so pleased with it I bought another batch, this time in a spicy orange (Tandoori), which I am using as the main yarn in my Lovebirds jumper.

And here is the progress thus far.
The garment back.

The garment front,  halfway up the chart!

Back view of the front.
Otherwise known as the portal to madness.
As with any new project, the trick is to break it down. I watched two films about intarsia on You Tube, one of which included how to roll new yarns up in a figure of eight, allowing them to hold themselves together (without using any annoying plastic holders). That was such a simple and incredibly useful piece of information!

Following a chart is not hard, but I think I have got confused about what line I am on more than once! Colouring in the chart means I can see what colour is going where. I also did a quick sample, which helped me to practice my intarsia. I had never tried any colour work before, and this pattern calls for "Fairisle" but the technique it describes is actually closer to intarsia. Holding new sections in tension and releasing others when you have lots of yarns, and trying to not let the whole thing bulk out is challenging to put it mildly. My tension isn't perfect, but this was always going to be about learning rather than results!

The coloured sections all come from the same beautiful yarn, again by Rowan. This time it's Edina Ronay Silk and Wool. I got a selection of colours from a seller on Ravelry quite some while ago. This stuff is superb, so soft and light, it is 4ply but has more loft than my main yarn. The colours are a bit on the 80s spectrum, but I quite like that!

Intarsia isn't hard, but working with this many colours is decidedly tricky, I have tried it late night in front of the TV but I only ever manage a couple of lines before conking out! It's best to do it during day light if possible.

I fell head over heals for this pattern, and frankly I would say you need to be in love to put yourself through this! It will get lots of love and use and hopefully it will still be cold enough to wear it when I finish! And despite it driving me crazy right now, I bet I will be making another one!