Thursday, 19 September 2019

The 2019 Shetland Wool Week Jumper

This summer I have been working with natural dyeing  reds and now have 40 sample skeins (1). I initially thought my wool week jumper this year would be red based. I even dyed the yarn a good shade of red. 

However a key criteria for the projected jumper was that it co- ordinates with my Harris Tweed skirt. This particular colour of of red did not. Somehow this imagined red jumper was not to be this year. All sorts of hiccups had happened along the way to getting to this red and the fact that it was too red for the Harris Tweed skirt was the final straw. 

(I have actually found an idea for the red wool garment.  I am already working on it in my head and have different material for a skirt as well have plans for 2020 to work on post wool week organised is that? ) 

I wanted to knit another yoke jumper as the meadowsweet one had gone so well and it is still a favourite jumper. So I started knitting swatches for the yoke, initially I was determined to include some of the red.
This is the second swatch, still too much red dominating

Reluctantly I had to let my head rule my heart and agree even a tiny amount of red was not going to work out well, so on my 5th trial of putting colours together I was happy with the colours but then tweaked the order.......
This is swatch 4 at the bottom and 5 at the top. The bottom is some different madder but still too red and dominant to my mind. I like the top part of this swatch.

In the final sample - the grey of the jumper in the yoke pattern  is not working well nor the middle green but these can be sorted.   I thought I could improve on this and here is the final wrapping
This contains a combination of my Meadowsweet and Ground Elder yarns. 

I decided to use a cone of Shetland wool, this one from Jamieson’s for the base. I knitted a sample and liked it a lot with the skirt and the final jumper will be very different from the meadowsweet one. The grey will showcase the yoke. 

Part of my problem with the red as the base of the jumper, was that the jumper base colour was competing with the yoke for supremacy. This is rather strange as it did not seem to happen with the meadowsweet jumper where it all co-ordinated well. Another confirmation that trialling colours to go together, to go  with clothes you will wear to accompany the garment and for the whole set up to compliment your own colouring takes some time but when it works that is when you love your clothes!      

The final order of colours in order from outside in 
Grey base
Ground Elder and Logwood to give dark grey 
Natural white then for the motif colours:
Ground Elder and Madder
Ground Elder and Copper
Meadowsweet and Iron
Ground Elder and Iron
Ground Elder and Logwood
Meadowsweet for the central row of the motif 

The main posts showing the Meadowsweet  jumper are 3May16 and 17August16 and for the Ground Elder Cardigan 4April18 and 6April18 

I was interested to know how much time a jumper like this takes, so made a note of knitting times, very roughly

Drawing out the pattern and doing the calculations over size and stitch sizes - 2 hours

Knitting the jumper on the knitting machine, 4 pieces - 5 hours

Washing and blocking each piece 2-3 hours 

Tacking and stitching the lower part of each of the 4 raglan settings on the sewing machine - slight stretch stitch used as I always do 1 hour 

Yoke knitting - 
Planning where the stitches fall in relation to the centre front and centre back is key to getting a good look. Both the edge wavy pattern and motif pattern on the yoke need to be arranged around a centre stitch. The actual ‘join’ stitch for the round is situated somewhere on the left back shoulder. Checking and rechecking this works takes time. An hour would not be an underestimate.

Initially, to knit each round was taking 30 minutes, but this decreased to about 20 minutes. As got the pattern in my head and the stitches started being decreased. However, changing the colours and checking carefully meant it was still about 20 minutes. I used 3 dpns and used a knitting belt. There are 35 rows in the pattern- let’s say 11 hours! 

Whilst I was hand knitting the yoke, I found time to stitch up the main seams of the jumper. I do not include the ribbing and start machining about 1 cm above the ribbing to allow an invisible junction with the hand sewing.  I start joining  ribs ( eg front rib and back rib at side seam) in the middle and do a near invisible join like this. It is this sort of detail that I enjoy doing and I find makes such a difference to the overall look of a garment. (2)  I didn’t time this , let’s say an hour to include all  4. 
One of the completed  ribs

After the yoke I needed to insert some decreases as I wanted a close fit and ribbed neckband to go up my neck.  I chose points of the pattern where I would line up the decreases and using right or left sloping decreases centring  these on the centre front or centre back. This worked well. I did the  first half of the rib in the same size needles as the stocking stitch above the yoke and then went down a needle size to complete the ribbing. The final cast off was very stretchy bind off (3) 

I will let you do the final sums for time.. and then multiply that by a sum for a wage....
You can see how knit jumpers are expensive.... never expensive enough in my mind. 

I do not knit for sale, just for my own pleasure but I do appreciate the many who do knit for money and hence think everyone who does sell their work should respect these people and charge enough for their own work. 

(1) I will write about this project when the time is right- the project is not completed yet. 
(2) No names being mentioned here, but I have total respect for knitting colleagues who ask if they can look inside my completed garments). 
(3) Jenny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off. Fall 2009, 

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