A while ago I blogged about some patterns I had found in a charity shop (Charity Shop Pattern Finds). One of these was a set of Raymond Briggs Santa patterns. These caught the eye of J, and a request was made for me to knit a face-palming Santa in time for Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.
I bought the wool (Bonus DK) from the Sirdar stall at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show. The staff at the Sirdar stall were REALLY lovely and helped me select the best colours for the patterns, which I really appreciated, as I was feeling a little overwhelmed after a day at the show! I wouldn’t normally choose pure acrylic yarn to knit with, but I was really impressed with how soft it was, and how well it knitted up. When I wore it to work before Christmas, I was also impressed (and surprised!) with how warm it was, and it wasn’t sweaty at all!
I had done a really small piece of colour work before and at that time had researched how to change colours etc, but I’d never worked from a chart, and as the yarn was DK and with the deadline of Christmas Jumper Day on the 12th, I knew I had to get a wriggle on so started straight away (literally that night when we got back from the show! I’m such an addict!!)! Part way through I did a brief calculation on how long it would take me to knit the jumper, and realised I needed to increase production, so ended up knitting on my commute to and from work. I was dreading this in case it prompted awkward conversation, but apart from a briefly embarrassing episode when I had to rush off the train to catch my stop and then almost got my trailing ball of wool stuck in the doors (fastest way to rip knitting??) my knitting commute was without comment, phew!
I was fairly pleased with the progress of the pattern, but I noticed a definite decrease in speed as the number of coloured sections increased. The pattern gave the advice that each different section should have a new strand of yarn, and I wish I’d stuck to that more rigidly. For some areas, such as around the ear, I tried to ‘borrow’ a black strand from a different section, which didn’t really work, and ended up with the fabric looking puckered. I noticed a similar effect around the cheek bone. I don’t think its too noticeable to the untrained eye, but I wont be making that mistake again!
For the neck band the pattern instructed to knit about 3 inches and then fold it down to the inside of the jumper and sew to the edge of the neck band. I wasn’t too sure about this, but one of the lovely ladies from the crafty group at work advised that she had finished an item in a similar way and that it looked really good, so I decided to persevere, and I’m so glad I did!! It looks fab, and it made the neck a bit smaller, as it was quite large without this! I tied in the ends as I went along, which I don’t normally do, but in this case I felt it was a necessity! I didn’t think I could have coped with tying them all in at the end!
Overall I’m really pleased with the jumper and I’ve learnt some really valuable lessons, not least of which was working form a chart!! My lessons learnt were:
- Always add new strands for new sections, regardless of how tedious tying in all the ends might seem!
- Never carry strands across more than 4 or five stitches.
- Routinely count how many stitches you have in each section and don’t just rely on the number of stitches around them! Ripping colour work is annoying and I don’t want to have to do it again!
- ALWAYS check the finished sizes before committing to a pattern size!
I have mentioned this last point sooo many times and I never seem to learn! The jumper has ended up way too big. In part this is due to the 90’s styling and batwing sleeves, but it is also because I picked the wrong size to knit. I’m very slowly beginning to understand how important sizing is to the finished look of a garment. This probably seems very obvious, but for some reason its taken a while to sink in!
Anyway, I hope you like it as much as I do! Happy knitting!!!