Jumper Jeopardy

27/01/2019 · 2 comments

in Craft,Knitting,Style

granny-square-jacket-emma-varnam

Oh what to make…what to make? I know if you are like me, you will see something in a magazine or instagram and think, ‘I REALLY want to make that!’ do I have the yarn already….no….ok, I’ll order some now…actually could I pop into my yarn store and start it this evening?’ We can be an impulsive lot. Hey, when the mood takes us, we just have to cast on. Having something manageable and do-able is definitely an attraction. We don’t need guilt in our hobbies and are keen to actually finish what we start. The mounting numbers of ‘WIP’s’ (works in progress) drive us to distraction.

granny-squares-weekend-emma-varnam

The zeitgeist items for makers tend to be accessories or blankets. Smaller items or things you can make for the home. Don’t get me wrong, people are making garments, but they tend to be complex and heritage pieces and not made for necessity. I am perhaps part of the last generation who wore school uniform knitted by my grandma. Bottle green cardigans which swamped me in Autumn and looked tight and pilled by early summer.

cornwallis-rowan-emma-varnam

The heartbreak of starting a jumper or cardigan and it looking….’all wrong’ seems to loom large in our minds. In 2018 – due to promising not to buy any new clothes, I made many more clothes than I had done in years. The experience certainly taught me a few do’ and don’ts. There is nothing worse than devoting weeks and months on a project and then just hating it when you finally try it on.

1. Measure up

I say this knowing I sometimes shy away from it. But to ensure your garment is really going to fit you, it is worth measuring yourself. I’m going to be honest. I have made a few things that have either swamped me, hanging off my shoulders. Or more likely, I have been a bit optimistic in terms of my size and the end result is unflatteringly tight. Just being honest. The big danger area is obviously the chest. You can easily measure this yourself and honestly if you have an accurate idea of what that is then you can save hundreds of pounds of woolly mistakes. Worth saying though that to get the perfect garment you should have an idea of your body and arm length. I have slightly shorter arms and torso. This means for a jumper to really work I should take a couple of centimeters of the length and it saves me rolling up the sleeves. Lots of people don’t do this…but you know why wouldn’t you make the best you can make.

granny-square-jacket-emma-varnam

2. Swatching is kinda worth it.

Seriously I know how you don’t want to make a sample square to test your tension. But for garment making it is worth it. I made a really beautiful tank top recently. It is a tad too small because my tension is a bit tighter than the pattern…silly girl. I didn’t swatch the fairisle pattern. Just a short cut too far and now I won’t wear that tank as much as I could have.

granny-square-jacket-emma-varnam

3. Have a small practice.

When I first became attracted to fairisle knitting again, I knew I need to improve my stranding technique. I actually attended a workshop with taught by my friend Juliet Bernard. Those few hours were well spent. I made quite a few hats using this technique before I embarked on a cardigan or jumper. The process helped me iron out the problems and when I did get a bit stuck, the project wasn’t too big that I felt daunted.

fairisle-teacosy-blue-yellow-emma-varnam4. Make it interesting.

Rows and rows of stocking stitch 4ply knitting look utterly glorious, but they do require commitment. Who hasn’t made a rib hem just a few rows too short, because they couldn’t bear going on any further with knit 1, purl 1?

fairisle-teacosy-blue-yellow-emma-varnam

It is no surprise that for garment knitting the complex patterns are becoming popular. Knitters need something to keep their interest. I know that even a stripe can help motivate you through the pattern. That is why fairisle can be so intoxicating. It wrings the changes to ensure that you interest is maintained. The ideal make has enough interest to keep you going, but is not so complex to incite a migraine – or indeed the urge the throw your work and needles across the room.

fairisle-teacosy-blue-yellow-emma-varnam

5. Don’t give up

Finally don’t give up making, be brave, commit to knit or crochet. There is nothing more thrilling than making a gorgeous homemade garment and someone stopping you and saying. ‘where did you get that…I love it!’ You smile and say (beaming) I made it myself. What ever you do…stay strong, so strong….when they reply, ‘Will you make me one?’ – ALWAYS – BUT ALWAYS REPLY.s

‘No, but I will teach you how….’

marius cardigan- emma -varnam

What have you planned to make this year?

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