Well, you can have fantasy football, can’t you? (Or you could – don’t know if you still can, but that’s me for you: up there with the zeitgeist.) In view of my inability to knit, spin, write much or do anything with my hands apart from swear at them and type a little, I’m going for the fantasy version, planning what I would like to knit if only I could.
Plus – and this is really insane – I’m going to a workshop next weekend at Rowan in Holmfirth. It’s the delayed ‘Design your own Knits’ workshop with Sarah Hatton, and I’m hoping it will be fairly theoretical, or in my case very theoretical. I’m not completely bonkers; I have checked. And it’ll be a weekend away, anyway.
This has licensed my fantasy, because we have to take ‘…a garment – handknit or shop bought – that you like the fit of, or an old Rowan design that you would like to bring up to date / alter the shape of…’ Well, I ask you – if that isn’t an incentive to cover the sitting-room carpet in old patterns, what is?
Now, I tweak patterns all the time. I fiddle about with tension and sizing and stick in shaping where there is none; I combine aspects of two patterns to get what I want. Sometimes it really works,
as here, an amalgam of two old Rowan patterns, knitted in a completely different Rowan yarn (Kid Classic, I love you). Sometimes it doesn’t, but we won’t go there. And sometimes I give up in the face of intricate cables and whacky yarns. I’ve started doing my own shawl patterns, and I’ve always fiddled with Fair Isle designs, but the idea of working out a whole garment from scratch – hm.
I’ve come up with some options and, I think, a possibility.
First, blokes’ patterns. I could do with a replacement for my second skin, my big winter knit, which finally went so bald in – ahem – certain prominent places that it looked like something from Ann Summers, only with a woolly twist.
I like this, which is Beau from Rowan’s Vintage Knits. One of my most successful knits – or it would be if the yarn hadn’t pilled horribly after one wearing, Debbie Bliss Cashermerino, I name and shame you – comes from this book.
But Beau would need a lot of attention to get it to work on me. I’d need to add some shaping, amend the width of the shoulders and the length of the sleeves and I think it would work with notches at the lower edge of the side seams, so I’d need to get rid of any welt (wouldn’t want it anyway). Hm. Actually, maybe what I really want is the model.
Following on with the ‘big sweater’ theme is Fir from Rowan Magazine 32. It’s certainly big, and those shoulders need lifting about six feet. But I like the sweet fir-tree lace pattern around the base, and it’s also echoed on the cowl-like collar.
Maybe it would need more attention, though, for it not to swamp lil’ole 5-foot me. And it would – apart from the lace pattern – be really, really boring to knit. All I’ve been able to manage has been plain vanilla knit and purl, so when I do get the use of my hands back – are you listening, Ysbty Gwynedd? – I want something more challenging to test them on.
Like Fair Isle. Gentle Fair Isle.
This is Harper. It’s a kids’ pattern from the Rowan website. It’s also in my best-beloved Kid Classic (yo!) and I love the pattern on the sleeves and above the welt. I’d need to size it up, lengthen it, give it some shaping – actually, I might be able to do that without going to the workshop; time to break out the calculator. And working with Kid Classic would motivate me.
There’s a significant problem here, though.
Stash. Stash. Stash. STASH. Must not buy more yarn.
So I really need a pattern which will motivate me, encourage me, be interesting to knit, not involve so many changes that I’ve destroyed what appealed to me in the first place and which will use up a significant amount of yarn from my stash.
Welcome to Celtic:
It’s a Martin Storey pattern from Rowan 40, and I’d discounted it – even though I loved it – because it’s too boxy for me. But one of my favourite shop-bought sweaters is roughly this shape, though longer and with shaping, and I think it would be interesting to see if I could adapt this complicated cabling to a more-flattering-on-me form. It would certainly be a challenge and I’ve not cabled for years – well, since the onset of the hand trouble last year. Cabling, generally, can be unflattering – but a lot depends on yarn and garment shape. And it would be an interesting intellectual challenge that will keep me quiet when everyone else is knitting up luscious samples…
and I’ve got the yarn.
Boy, have I got the yarn.