So it would be super duper fab if you, yes you! would join me at Unravel in Farnham Maltings, at which I will be hosting a workshop on rejuvenating your unloved knitwear on Sunday 22 February. I would really love to see your unloved and unworn knits, and work with you to resuscitate those jumpers, hats, scarves or whatever you may have around that needs a little work and affection.
In the spirit of making do and mending, I thought I would show and tell a jumper I worked on not so long ago.
Inspired by the gorgeous work of the lovely Julie of Knitted Bliss and, of course, Tom of Holland, Master Darner, I was keen to repair a particularly holey sweater I came across. It was one for the bin rather than the charity shop, so I figured there was no risk in trying some visible mending.
I didn’t mind the process, although I hadn’t considered my old eyes when I decided to darn a fine-gauge sweater. It seemed to get finer as the darning when on, and there was always one more hole than I thought there would be.
OK, it’s not the most beautiful craftsmanship ever. I had imagined very neat and beautiful darning, but mine turned out rather more, err, rustic.
Nevertheless, I am pretty happy with it.
I do hope to see you at Unravel. If you can’t make the workshop, it would still be great to see you. I will be loitering at the Kettle Yarn Co. booth–please come and say ‘hi’!
The sweater is knit in pieces, so is great for knitting on the go. Each piece begins with a tubular cast on (a tutorial can be found here), and then the trim is knit with a 2 colour-brioche rib (a tutorial can be found here), and the body in a stockinette stitch. After the sweater is put together, the heart is Swiss darned into the back (a tutorial can be found here).
This is particularly thrilling for me as it is my first pattern published by a magazine, and a fabulous magazine at that! It was really a learning experience for me and I am pleased to say that there are several more patterns being published in magazines in the near future.
The name ‘Heritage Heart’ comes from both the shape of the jumper and adornment: the shape is an updated interpretation of a traditional men’s jumper, and a heart is Swiss-darned into the centre back to create a sweet focal point. This Aran-weight jumper is a quick and satisfying knit.
I used Rowan Silk twist for the main yarn, and an undyed Organic Merino Wool from Coldharbour Mill. These 2 yarns when knit together create a hazy, soft colour palette. Any undyed wool would work well with a dusky-pink or grey/oatmeal type of marled yarn, although there is an excellent version by miyokomeow in the projects-really great colour combo.
In other news, the Naloa KAL is still going strong and there’s still time to win super prizes! Get Naloa here!
In the midst of our Naloa KAL (there’s still time to knit and win prizes! You can get Naloa here), I have made a guest appearance on the Kettle Yarn Co. blog, From the Purl Side, to show & tell a little about finishing the shawl.
Swiss darning, also known as duplicate stitch, is a really easy technique to learn and very handy to know. As the name suggests, it is used to reinforce and mend knitting, but is also lovely for embroidery that replicates the structure of the knitting.
Speaking of structure, here is a little diagram of a row of knitting. When Swiss darning, always begin at the base of the 2 “legs” of a stitch.
*click on any image to enlarge
Top tips for Swiss darning:
use a blunt needle,
plan your embroidery: start at an edge or corner and have a look at the direction of work before you begin,
do not pull the stitches too tightly–keep them nice and loose and then tighten them up a little after every row if they need it,
come at the first stitch from the wrong side of the fabric and leave a 10 cm /4 inch tail of yarn to weave in at the end.
For this example, I use this simple chart with black embroidery on a pink background:
The chart tells us that the embroidery is to be a rectangle 3 stitches wide and 3 rows high. I begin in the lower right-hand corner.
Do let me know if you find this useful! As ever, any questions or comments are welcome, especially if you have any suggestions about how I can make things more clear, more concise–more useful to you!
This was a little diversion from the double knit tutorials as I have a pattern coming out that features Swiss darning and wanted to make sure everyone knows how to.
My second blog post! Two weeks running, and I am sooo patting myself on the back for this amazing accomplishment. It’s not literally winning a gold metal or anything, but I take the little prizes when they come. There is a saying about beggars and choosers, but I had a glass of wine with dinner and am no longer sure of the exact wording.
Anyways, I have news! I have every intention of going to the Outlaw Craft Fair http://www.outlawcraftfair.co.uk on 5 April in Penzance. I say ‘intention’ because part of the rail line between London and Cornwall (aka me & them) has washed away in the recent flooding. Check out the drama: www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Violent-weather-leaves-trail-destruction/story-20631838-detail/story.html
If all goes to plan and I am able to make the trip, I am really excited to be teaching 2 workshops, ‘Revamp Your Jumper’ (a shortened nomenclature: I wanted to name it ‘Revamp that Jumper and Learn to Love Again’ but it doesn’t fit the title space with all that hyperbole) and ‘It’s the Knit! A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting’. I will also have a stand selling ‘Learn to Knit’ kits, and pom pom making kits, among other knitterly things.
Please let me know about your ‘Sweater Saves’! I would really love it if you would share your story of saving a beloved sweater from ruin, or rescued a fugly jumper from a horrible death. I am looking to inspire people to put a little work into something and come out the other side with a garment they will wear! Save Our Sweaters! I am thinking about embroidery embellishments, steeking to make cardigans out of pullovers, fancy darning, that sort of thing.
It will be only my second ever trip to Cornwall. My first was many years ago, and we had a wonderful time with perfect summer weather. I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up, what with the flooding and wind storms, but I can’t help but think of sunshine and holidays when I think of Penzance. Here’s hoping…..
Til next time,
p.s. if anyone knows about how to make proper hyper-links in wordpress posts, and actually put pictures in, I would be totally grateful for the advice.
p.p.s.s. 6 music is playing a Morrissey playlist. I am not listening to it in order to write this. I fear I may be missing ‘How Soon is Now’. I am going to download the Craft now.