The Winter of the Jumper*

Given that the last few garments i’ve knitted have been more jacket-y/outerwear-y type things – see my origami bolero, my kid silk haze wrap/cardigan (which I’ve been meaning to post about!!), my one button jacket and my cherish bolero – I have decided that, given i have a lot of sewn coats as well, what i really want to make this winter are JUMPERS! nice, warm, snuggly jumpers that actually fit, are long enough, have nice neck lines, in gorgeous fibre that i LOVE.

So, with this in mind, I have bought the yarn to make Fay and Prudence by Kim Hargreaves.

For Fay I’ve chosen a beautiful purple (called Damson) in the most luscious Pear Tree Superfine Merino 4ply. huzzah for work discounts. It is almost cashmere like this yarn! I’m REALLY hoping my boss continues to stock it as it’s just wonderful. I like Fay because of the interesting stitch pattern, the little button details and the scoop neck – very flattering on my shape!

For Prudence I’ve gone my signature teal, ordering a darkish shade in Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk. NOM NOM NOM. This pattern was originally designed for bamboo soft – a gorgeous yarn to look at and touch, but by all accounts a BITCH to knit with and it drops so drastically that it can grow up to 3 or 4 sizes! I got the idea of substituting alpaca silk from the lovely mooncalf at make do and mend, who has very similar tastes to me :). In theory it should work, since the alpaca will have drape (though without the ‘growth’ of the bamboo) and the silk will have shine :). Prudence has a great boatneck (the kind that actually suits since it really shows off my collarbones) and is nice and drapey for days when i want a more comfy look. also lookit the adorable sleeves!

I also already have the yarn for this intarsia pullover from Jo Sharp. I’ve loved this since i bought the book since it’s such a challenging, old fashioned form of knitting (and birds are so in right now – pity it’s not owls lol) BUT, i would definitely have to scoop the neck a little more. I might even look at changing it to a v-neck. If I really decide it’s just not going to suit, I can always resell the yarn as a sort of ‘kit’ for the large size! Lol.

I also have 10 balls of Rowan Alpaca Cotton in black . I toyed with doing Emily in it, but i think i want to do that in either the original yarn, or something with a touch of silk in it and i’m pretty sure i want to do it in colour. Instead I like the idea of doing Thea in this, since it’s an outerwear type garment, which black always suits and the alpaca cotton should have a nice feel for this. hopefully it won’t drop too much!

I think that’s a good start for jumper and cardi plans (although I also have the yarn to do this just lying around waiting for me to learn stranded knitting – now accomplished), plus i’ve got a mountain of sock yarn to work through, some plans for some lace work, including working with some of my handspun, present knitting and of course far too many other things i want to get done! bah! can anyone say ‘high expectations’?

*A jumper in Australia is a sweater/pullover.

The Christmas Spirit

It is now only 20 days til Christmas and apparently, statistically today is the most popular day for putting up decorations in Aus (although not in my family, my family are slack and i tend to have to put them up when i arrive at my parents – often 2 or 3 days before christmas!). Not having a place i really call ‘home’ right now means i’m not particularly interested in decorating my space. Since i moved from SA I’ve tended to satisfy myself with decorating at my parents and having a token decoration at my own place.

But lately I have been aching to have my own place (which i will by next christmas I hope) so that i can start fresh with home made decorations! My good friends penelopewaits and redwren have both been posting tutorials for handmade garlands and buntings and other decorations and I helped PWs and her partner put up the tree this year and discovered her ‘colour theme’ system, where each year they pick a theme – usually a collection of colours, sometimes something else – to use only a selection of their many tree decorations. I’ve always just crammed ALL our decorations on the tree 🙂

I also had the pleasure of putting the christmas decorations up at the Wool Baa yesterday. What a great day at work! There’s definitely a pink and gold theme going on in the store :). Once I’d hung all our baubles and stars and stockings, I had the brilliant idea of going through our scrap yarn and making decorative pompoms. I found some red marled yarn and moss green mohair and created some ginormous pom poms and also some pink and purple novelty yarns to make one pom pom and some gold/yellow yarns to make a gold pom pom for the windows. I have never been a big pom pom fan generally, but as decorations i LOVE them! They’re like fuzzy baubles and they don’t break!

I’m also dreaming of felt stars, material birdies, crochet covered baubles, knitted mini stockings and australian bush garlands (although that would take a whole new set of skills :)) When I was little we used to use tree seed pods from a tree at my grandmothers and red dyed cotton wool to create little red robins for christmas cards. I only just remembered that writing this post! and pine cones to make owls!

So next year – watch out. There will be many many christmas crafted items! in the meantime, please, leave links to your favourite tutorials or handmade decorations – I’d love to see them!

and the obligoraty inspiration mosaic! (all from flickr)

1. navidad adelantada, 2. Reindeer Brooch, 3. Christmas tags #1, 4. Christmas Garland, 5. HOLOGRAPHIC CARD, 6. Christmas Stitchette pillow, 7. Little Bird Tree Decoration (Peach Sorbet), 8. Christmas Bunting (close-up), 9. stock1

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys