It is with a heavy heart that I report on this guy. I was exceptionally proud of this knit, perhaps in part because I had knitted an amazing jumper to go with it already (and being matching is both ridiculous and ridiculously satisfying) and because it only took 2 hours. None of those things leave one heavy, but the fact that two days after this picture was taken, proudly wearing my hat out for a civilised dinner and a few wines with my favourite ladies it was sadly mislaid, does. Fare the well my gorgeous, we had good times.
Luckily - I probably still have enough wool to make another one, once I'm finished mourning, because it's knitted from Wool and the Gangs Crazy Sexy Wool which comes in luscious 200g balls and this pom pom was made from jumper remains, so fingers crossed!
The thing I was keen to try with this knit was bobbles. I've been seeing lot of chunky knits on the instagram lately with beautiful baffling bobbly bits - and so I decided to unbaffle them. I'm not sure the extent to which I succeeded, but I loved this guy when he was finished, so happy times all round.
To 'bobble' I essentially I:-
0) got to the stitch in question (1)
1) increased the given stitch by 2 (3)
2) turned the work around to purl back across those 3 stitches (3)
(you only purl these 3, you don't go to the end of the row or complete anything else (don't pass go, don't collect £200)
- this is all contained and focussed on creating the one stitch into a bobble)
3) turned the work around again to knit back across those 3 stitches (3)
4) pulled the further 2 stitches over the closest 1 (essentially decreasing/casting off 2 to leave you with one again) (1)
To make a bigger bobble, increase by more, or do more rows in the step - and for smaller, do less.
To make your own bobbly beanie, you'll need a ball of the Crazy Sexy Wool, 12mm needles and a yarn needle. It went a little something like this:-
Cast on 40 stitches
Row 1-5: rib stitch - *knit 1, purl 1* (knitting again, I'd increase this to 7 if you're hoping for the folded over version) (40)
Row 6-9: stocking stitch - *knit 1 row, purl 1 row* (40)
Row 10: knit 4, bobble 1, *knit 7, bobble 1*, knit 3 (40)
Row 11 - 13: stocking stitch- purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row (40)
Row 14: knit 7, bobble 1, *knit 7, bobble 1*, knit 6 (40)
Row 15 - 17: stocking stitch- purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row (40)
Row 18: knit 2, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2),
*knit 5, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2)*, knit 4 (30)
Row 19 - 21: stocking stitch- purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row (30)
Row 22: knit 3, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2),
*knit 3, bobble 1 without increase (so you decrease by 2)* (20)
Row 23: purl 1 row (20)
Row 24: decrease (knit 2 into 1) (10)
Row 25: purl 1 row (10)
Finishing: Cut a long tail, thread onto a yarn needle. Take the stitches off the needle and thread through starting with the furthest stitch from the tail, creating a loop which pulls the stitches together in a circles. Sew down the side of the hat and fasten off.
I added a big pom pom too. I was at my mum's house without pom pom makers and had a pile of left over little bits from my jumper, so I simply wrapped these all around my hand, pulled them off my hand carefully, tied the middle with the thinner piece of string nice and tight, cut the two ends where necessary, rolled the pom pom in my hands and pruned until even (Google hand pompoms for better youtube explanations!)
So - that was Christmas - and what have we done?! Well, I bloody well knitted a jumper.. and it wasn't half as scary or time consuming as I expected!
It's something I've had my eye on for a while. As many of you know, I only came back to knitting in the summer and I've been keeping everything simple and basic. I am always envious of people who have the time and attention for detailed jumper knits on tiny needles - and feel a bit of a fraud for not being one - but I am not one of these fabulous people and that's ok. I like things I can finish, I like big needles with big yarn that develops quickly - and I loved this knit.
I searched for the right kit for a while. I knew it needed to be chunky and I wanted something on straight needles, because it's accessible - and if one day I finally get round to organising a jumper club, everyone can have fun without the mental boundaries of circular needles! I also have a particular taste in clothes. I like clean lines and fitted sleeves, something that fits properly over the shoulders and is without frills and frolics. Pretty boring right? But basics last the test of time.
I was stuck for a long time between We Are Knitters and Wool and The Gang. Both have a beautiful range of jumpers that fit my requirements, but like the Cinderella experiment, when I knew, I knew - and it was Wool and The Gang's Eden Jumper that got me. The only 'downside' was the vast range of colours, this nearly held me back from buying at all, but I spotted some of their 'Crazy Sexy Wool' in John Lewis on Oxford Street and seeing a decreased range in person, I opted immediately for the Ultra Violet.
So, what do you get? If you opt for the full pack, you get 12mm needles, the pattern, a yarn needle and 6-8 balls of Crazy Sexy Wool. I must confess, I purchased mine during Cyber week and got 30% off - but usually this would cost around £120. I had my own needles (the Hoooked needles do just fine), so that made it a little better too.
The wool? The Crazy Sexy Wool has the same size specifications as Stitch and Stories chunky merino but seems far hardier and bouncy. Not quite as soft, which is to be expected, but where the softness of the merino means you have to be quite careful with it, the Crazy Sexy Wool runs with the punches and is reassuringly strong. On their website Wool and the Gang say: 'Crazy Sexy Wool come from happy sheep in South America, sourced with consideration as to reduce the impact on the environment. It happens to have amazing qualities - it’s natural, renewable, biodegradable. Plus, it’s also breathable, stretchy, made to last, easy to care for and comes in amazing colours!' I'd say it's pretty accurate - and as ever, having a mindfulness of sustainability and environmental impact, you can knit with a sound mind.
The knit? It claims to be intermediate, but as long as you can knit and purl, increase and decrease - you'll have this one down. There's some rib stitch for the edges (knit 1, purl 1) and a point where you have to put the body and sleeves piece onto a needle together so you can knit the neck across all sections and bring them together, but that really is it. Stocking stitch and a bit go shaping - sew it together - and done!
The feeling? I managed to get this completed within 54 hours - sleeping, socialising and Christmas celebrations included. The rush of seeing it developing and working through the balls of wool was thrilling (maybe I need more socialising?) - and for the size 2 (UK 10-12) I knitted, I was sent 6 balls and only used 5! - So, not only did I finish before I expected, I also had a whole ball to play with afterwards, which was useful, because I found it very hard to stop knitting at the pace I had done whilst attacking the jumper. A jumper detox ball, if you will. I finished this guy at 1am on Boxing Day morning - stuck it on, jumped on the sofa and danced a little on my own next the Christmas tree. Everyone else was already bed. Amazing. I'm already planning the next.
Then, on Boxing Day morning I knitted an amazing little hat in about 2 hours, and tried knitting bobbles for the first time (see next blog post) - but it shortly got lost on a night out with the girls (perhaps less socialising required hahaha).
And as soon as I have the funds, I will share what I can of it with you all by adding it to the stall stock! Until then, the Company of Crafters is always open if you need some assistance and have bought your own kit from their websites!
Thank you Wool and the Gang - you really made my Christmas.