Saturday, 6 February 2010

Cables and Mohair

I said in my first post that one of the things I made before I stopped knitting was a Patricia Roberts design that I still wear.  When I wrote that, I realised that in fact I have not worn it this winter, even though it is a very thick jumper, and this was the coldest January since whenever.  So I went to find it in the clothes-I-am-not currently-wearing trunk in the attic.  The clothes I am not currently wearing are mostly summer clothes at this time of year, but also include clothes that I made myself (e.g. a Clothkits quilted jacket) or keep for sentimental reasons (my daughter's Cub Scout sweatshirt).
Cream of the Crop

 The design is called Cream of the Crop and has thick cables separated by panels of stocking stitch in mohair, using intarsia (and has a matching hat that I didn't knit).  I used the recommended yarn - the cables are in Jaeger Naturgarn, a chunky single-ply wool, and the mohair is also Jaeger.


It appeared in a book of Patricia Roberts knitting patterns published in 1975.  Later, she opened a shop in London to sell  her own range of yarns, as well as pattern books and hand knits.  The later pattern books used her own yarn, but in 1975 she was still designing patterns for other companies' yarns. The shop still exists, although it seems that she no longer publishes pattern books.

The main change I made to the design was to twist the cables in opposite directions on the left and right sides. The cables on either side of the v-neck have to somehow absorb the decreases, and I thought that it would look awkward if the two sides of the neck did not match, which would happen if the cables twisted in the same direction.  The structure of the jumper is otherwise very simple, and with straight seams for the shoulders and armholes.

I knitted it at a time when I had a long commute to work, including a 70 minute train journey morning and evening.  You can do a lot of knitting in two hours a day, although this pattern wasn't ideal for a train journey.  The front and back each had 9 balls of yarn in use on every row, and they inevitably got very tangled after a few rows. A train carriage is not the best place to sort out tangled yarn. Even so, I persevered, and I think it turned out very well.  The finished jumper is still very wearable (30 years later) and very warm.  I'm very pleased that I reminded myself to wear it again.

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