Shetland Yoke Cardigan for Autumn

October 27, 2014

Many months ago I blogged about the blue Shetland cardigan I found at a vintage clothing shop. Earlier this year I posted pictures from a Shetland cardigan I was knitting myself. Today I'm finally able to show you the finished garment!

This cardigan has had quite some setbacks. The projects was set aside when I went adventuring in the highlands. Later it was put aside again as I lost my DPN's and had to order a new set. Finally, when everything save for the button band was finished I ran out of yarn. Luckily I was able to order new yarn in the same colourway, but the package got lost in the mail. When trying to solve this issue with J&S, the internet thought it would be helpful to eat some of our email correspondence. So... Given all of that, I appreciate the miracle that the cardigan actually got finished at all.

Traditionally, Shetland yoke jumpers are both hand and machine knitted. The body is knitted on machine and the yoke is knitted by hand. I was quite surprised when I learned about this earlier this year. For a hand knitter, it is a bit odd to think about machine knitting as traditional. Kate Davies has done a cardigan in this traditional Shetland way of knitting for her forthcoming book Yokes. I'm keen to learn more about this way of knitting. My version is entirely knitted by hand, as I can't machine knit to save my life, but it is something I'd like to know more about.

Pattern: Hairst Cardigan
Designer: Sandra Manson
Yarn: Jamieson and Smith 2 ply jumper weight

The yarn is Jamieson and Smith 2 ply jumper weight, and it's the first time I've used it for a garment. After the package with all the yarn got in, I spent about a week admiring all the colours each time I passed the box. Jamieson and Smith sell this pattern in a kit. It came a bit short for me due to my gauge, yet the kit was very useful nevertheless. You get the pattern printed on durable thick paper (it kinda feels like a short paperback novel). With your order you usually get the standard colours, but if you add a comment to your purchase, you can get the kit in any colour you'd like.

Hairst means Autumn in Shetland dialect so I opted for colours that reflect this season. Autumn is my favourite season, and I've always liked autumnal colour palettes. This combination was meant to be. I haven't made a cardigan or jumper in this colour combination before, and I wonder how I've been able to live without it! The only change that I made, apart from the colour palette, was knitting button holes instead of using popper buttons.

Despite the few setbacks I enjoyed knitting this cardigan immensely. I can see a couple of more Shetland yoke cardigans in my future!



Sweater surgery: The Chrismas Jumper

October 02, 2014

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you plan a project, no matter how much care you put in knitting the pattern, things just don't work out. I'm sure most of you have been in this situation before (if not...are you a knitting wizard? I want to be your sidekick!) Anyway it has happened to me before. Some long-time readers might remember my blog post about my Christmas jumper (if not or you can read about it here).

The shaping of this jumper came out all wrong. Instead of ripping it or throwing it away I held on to it, with vague plans to "do" something about it sometime. Well, "sometime" became this week and the "something" became sweater surgery. I did some major sweater surgery on two knitted sweaters. First I tried this on a store bought sweater to practise, and then on my Christmas Sweater. The problems with both were roughly the same, thought the Christmas Sweater had some side issues that I wanted resolve during the process as well.

What I did was the following: I opened up the seams. After the cutting open of the seams I was left with four sweater parts. Next I picked a sweater from my wardrobe of which I do like the fit and I traced the outer lines on the sweater parts. When I had marked out what I wanted to cut off I reinforced the stitches with a strait stitch on my sewing machine. I could have done this earlier, but as woollen knits don't ravel that much (and as I was going to cut a lot of fabric off, I didn't mind a little bit of unravelling), I hadn't done it earlier. Then I cut of all the excess fabric. Finally I sewed a zigzag stitch over the newly made edge of the fabric just to be sure.

Another thing that I did not like about the sweater, was the box sleeves.To get rid of them I simply cut of the box part of the sleeves. This was not a problem as the sleeves were to long to begin with.
Finally I sewed the  pieces back together. While the whole "cutting your sweater to bits"  might not be the most elegant solution to a knitting accident, it is definitely the fastest. I started and finished the whole business in just one afternoon. Its not perfect, but a lot more wearable than it was. I'm glad that I finally took to the scissors with this one. I think I really got the hang of it after this sweater, as I performed sweater surgery on a couple of more sweaters after this experience.

Well I'm glad I got my act together just before the start of the season. Have you ever cut into your sweater to modify or to save it from the back of your wardrobe?


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