Several months ago, issue 24 of my favourite knitting magazine Pom Pom Quarterly dropped through my letterbox. If you have never heard of it, I suggest you order yourself one straight away. Anyway, I usually get the magazine, leaf through it for hours on end, decide to knit everything, then not end up knitting anything until the next issue arrives, thus beginning the frustrating cycle again. But I made a decision to pick something this time round and actually knit it. So I did. There were loads of fantastic patterns to choose from, but I ended up picking the Durumi Sweater by Isabell Kraemer which was featured on the front cover. You can get it in the magazine, or on Ravelry here. I ummed and ahhed about what yarn to use, but then decided that since I very rarely make anything for myself, I would go with 100% merino as the pattern suggested. Bodkins, my local yarn shop, is a cosy treasure trove of fibres so I headed over ready to spend. I am not a pink kind of a person, so after lining up various colour combinations (with the enthusiastic assistance of the owners of the shop), I settled on a beige similar to the original, salmon for the yoke, and black. I used Wendy’s 100% DK merino in Corn (2406), and Jet (2366), and Peter Pan Baby Merino DK in Coral (3045).
I love knitting from the top down, and tend to work out my own patterns, but found this one extremely easy to follow. I have learned from previous experience, that despite itching to cast on the second I have the wool, it is best to go through the pattern and circle all of the increases/rows etc. which apply to my size to avoid ending up with a finished garment that would fit 3 entirely different sized people in certain areas, none of them me.
I cast on and began; the shaping at the back used German short rows which I loved. I usually use wrap and turns but found this method really neat and will be using it again. One of the reasons I enjoy top down knitting is due to the fact that a lot of the fussy bits; short row shaping, increases, colourwork etc. are generally done at the top, when enthusiasm for the project is still in 5th gear, then by the time my mind has started wandering onto what to knit next, I am usually past all of that and can just knit round and round and round without thinking about the pattern too much. So I completed the body, then went back for the sleeves. The first one was fine, as was the second. Right down to about 2 inches above where the cuff was due to start. I then realised that my decision to knit the body a little bit longer than suggested had obviously resulted in using up more wool. Which ran out. With the curse of the WIP pile beginning to appear over the horizon, I went back to Bodkins at the first opportunity. I don’t know about anyone else, but once a project’s flow has been interrupted I find it incredibly difficult not to just think ‘Yes, well, we get the idea with that one, lets move onto a shiny new project instead, and I’ll finish it another time’. However, ‘another time’ very rarely materialises and once the project has been relegated to the WIP bag(s), it is unlikely to ever see the light of day again, along with the needles that are still attached to it. I didn’t want this to happen because;
- a) the needles were part of my interchangeable set so I really didn’t want to lose them and I couldn’t bring myself to actually take them out of the project because then I wouldn’t even be pretending I’d finish it, and
- c) I really, really wanted to finish it.
So I went back to Bodkins and bought another ball. Sort of. I actually got there, realised I didn’t have my purse and they very very kindly let me have the ball and said I could come back in to pay another time. I’m ashamed to say that I got home, put the ball of wool down, and then didn’t have time to knit for ages. Some time later, after a sudden panicky 3am realisation I went back to pay, armed with some cream cakes to say sorry and everything was fine. Finally, I knitted the last few rounds of the sleeve and finished the cuff. The pattern showed one cuff finished off with pink, and the other with black, but I decided to stick with the yoke colour for both and I love how it turned out.
The jumper sat for some time in my ‘finished but not blocked’ pile, until I realised that as it is getting warmer and warmer, I wouldn’t have any cold weather left to enjoy my jumper in if I didn’t get on with it. The jumper got blocked and I took it up to Bodkins to show them the finished result. I wasn’t expecting to be cajoled into putting it on in the shop for a Facebook photo (I might have chosen to make myself slightly more presentable had I known!), but nobody died so it’s all ok.
I would definitely recommend this pattern; it is straightforward, easy to read and the sweater is very comfortable and looks great.
So there you have it, the finished soft, warm 100% merino sweater finished just in time for the hottest May Day Bank Holiday since records began.