Friday, 10 April 2015

Foxglove Cardigan



The Foxglove is a flower I associate with my childhood. I grew up, knowing it as 'Vingerhoedskruid', the Dutch word for Foxglove. 'Vingerhoed' is Dutch for thimble, which is a very apt name I think. 

I associate the flower with home, bumblebees and with my mum. My mother is a garden person. When I think about my childhood and my mum, images of her making a mess in our garden spring to mind. She wanted a garden where birds had trees to sit and make nests in, where hedgehogs had woodpiles to crawl under, and where bees and other insects had flowers to feed on. My dad used to joke about our garden and how wild it must have looked to our neighbours' eyes. My mum spend a lot of time in that garden, as did we as children for we had lots of grass to play on and trees to climb in. I made my first modest Treehouse in that garden.


 My mum planted specific flowers to attract bees, especially bumblebees, which she is very fond of. One of those flowers was the foxglove, a flower bumblebees are apparently especially attracted to. From late spring to early autumn these flowers coloured our garden. Incidentally, I was born and grew up in one of the few places in the Netherlands were the wild variety of the foxglove can still be found. Beware though, while these flowers look beautiful, they are also incredibly toxic, and can be fatal when eaten by humans.



When Kate's book arrived at the Treehouse, it was not hard to decide which project to make first. I loved many of the designs, but I thought it fitting to knit this one first. The design asks for 2ply Shetland yarn, which has become one of my favourite yarns to knit with since first trying it. I've used a similar colour scheme, but not exactly the same colours as Kate. I used Jamieson & Smith Jumperweight colour FC55, which from afar is a purple shade but when surveyed from up close it is revealed to be a complex mix with purple, pink, blue and even yellow fibres. I simply love such a complexity of colour. I've shoved my work-in-progress under many a friend's and family-member's eyes to  make sure each of them got to see the explosion of colours up close.


I knitted the sleeves first and then the body, as to save the best for last. While I was knitting the yoke, I noticed that the last row of the chart was different from the pictures of Kate's Cardigan. Incidentally, at the same time someone on Kate's Ravelry forum noticed it as well, and mailed Kate about it. I'm not sure if this is an actual errata, or just something Kate changed her mind about. In accordance with the project photos it should be an entirely white row, instead of a purple and white row. It does not make a huge difference in the yoke, so do whatever you like. I went with the photos and knitted an entirely white row. Other than that I had breezed through the pattern.


Not to long now, and spring will cause foxgloves to colour our gardens, forests and fields again. Can't say I'm looking forward to warm temperatures, having to pack away my woollen jumpers and the accompanying hay fever, but even I can't deny the joys of more daylight and more colour outside. 

Enjoy the weather!

16 comments :

Heather said...

Oh, lovely! I also love complex yarn shades, so I'm pretty excited about your choice. :)

I feel in love with this pattern as soon as it came out, but because the flowers reminded me of our Territorial flower here in the Yukon, the fireweed. I'd forgotten about this pattern though, and now I'm itching to make it up!

Margot said...

Dat heb je weer mooi gedaan muis, Een erg mooi vest prachtige patroon en kleuren combinatie. Echt een juweeltje waar je veel plezier van zult hebben, het is echt een vest dat goed bij je past! Mooie sfeervolle foto's.
Groeten Margot

Kat Riddell said...

Beautiful! I love seeing little spots of color in yarn-the yarn you used here is absolutely gorgeous!

missingneedle said...

Lovely cardigan and beautiful colours!

Nisse said...

@Heather To be honest, I had to google 'fireweed', but you're right: it looks gorgeous and similar to the pattern! Curious to see your results if you decide to start it!

@Margot, Kat & Nadine
Thank you! I'm really pleased with the end result. :)

Becca said...

Wow! This is seriously beautiful. Loved reading your foxglove musings. They always make me think of bees, too. I remember my dad telling me not to poke my fingers in them when I was little. :) x

Mim said...

Lovely knit! Foxgloves are beautiful flowers, and your mum's garden sounds brilliant - much better than something too tidy and dull.

Margot said...

Hey Nelson, de eerste hommels en insecten zijn al gesinaleerd in de tuin. S'morgens zitten ze of vliegen ze sloom van de nog koude nachttemperaturen door de tuin. Als ze zijn opgewarmd gaan ze aan de slag. In het najaar heb ik nog een berg bloembollen geplant zodat ze nu in het voorjaar kunnen overleven en smullen van de eerste voorjaarsbloeiers. De vroege amandelbloesem, camelia, kerstster en magnolia wordt druk bezorgd. Over een week of twee zal de boerenjasmijn en daarna de seringenbloesem hun de overgang naar de zomerbloeiers mogelijk maken. De hommel trekkende zomerbloeiers zoals stokroos, ijzerhard, zonnehoed zijn mijn lievelingsbloemen. Heerlijk om in de zomer te genieten van de hommels, beien, libellen en vlindersoorten de struiken zonnehoed te zien bezoeken.
Ik verheug me weer op de kevers en slakken in de zomer. Leuk dat jullie als kinderen daar ook nog fijne herinneringen aan hebben.
Op naar de zomer!!! Margot

Nisse said...

@Becca Thank you! And, that is good advice!

@Mim Thanks, and I agree!

@Margot Bwoah, klinkt alsof het al helemaal de goede kant op gaat. Mooi :)

Jen said...

Hi, I was snooping around Kate Davies forum and checked out knitters blog feature, yours popped up. LOVE your setting (and yourcardigan as well) what great photos you've taken!

Nisse said...


Hi Jen, Thank you! It makes me happy that you think so! :)

Diy said...

Patent vest heb je gemaakt en dat met dat mooie weer.
Hier vliegen de bijen en hommels ook weer in de tuin en de rabarber is nu 40cm hoog.
De munt en citroen gaan heel goed net als de lava.
Groeten aan iedereen.
Daaag.

Paul.

Nisse said...


Bedankt Paul! Wat leuk! Terwijl de natuur toen de lente begon nog een maand achter liep las ik. Maar sinds het mooie weer is ingezet heeft ze dat snel ingehaald.

Waren de bomen een week geleden nog helemaal kaal, beginnen ze nu al aardig groen te worden. Groetjes!

valentina said...

wow i wish I could buy this as I know i'll never be able to knit it myself. Well done!

Nisse said...

Hey Valentina,

Thank you for your kind reply. Don't worry, with a bit of practice and patience you can! Do you knit?

Atelier Ullizee said...

Super mooi!