The Winter edition of Knitty came out last week, with a sweater that immediately caught my attention--Helga. It's not the photo of the model in jeans that did it; it's the one on the designer, Emily Nora O'Neil. I think it's the combination of back-to-nature hair, long skirt, cropped sweater, and tweedy aran stitches. It got me thinking that I needed to make an aran jumper right away. And the timing is good. Isabel comes home for the holidays tomorrow, and she's been wanting a pullover.
So, yesterday, I grabbed my stitch dictionaries and graph paper and got to work. I have a LOT of stitch dictionaries, but you know, I almost always end up coming back to good old Barbara Walker's set of Treasuries. Even with the photos in black and white, they're the best. I especially love the way she groups her swatches, explaining their historical development and how they are related.
Next, I cast on to do a swatch on 60 stitches. I wanted to make the swatch in the round, because that's how I intend to knit this thing, or at least most of it. Not sure yet whether I'll steek the armholes or not. You've got to admit it's a lot easier to knit aran stitches when the right side is always facing. We'll see. No need to decide for a while.Turns out there's a use in my knitting universe for the magic loop method. It's perfect for when you want to knit a swatch in the round, and a 16" circular isn't quite long enough to work the cables comfortably.
Here's my setup with my Knitpicks magnetic board holding up my chart. I know I've ranted about the appalling inadequacy of Knitpicks' ball winder, but here's a tool of theirs worth having.
This morning I cast off, soaked the swatch in warm water, then CUT IT OPEN, and stretched it out to block. After all, aran patterns are really nothing more than fancy ribbing.
I'm pleased as punch with this. I love the blue-grey Galway I used for the swatch; it's like carved stone. But, I'll be using a beautiful heathered red in the same wool for Isabel's jumper. See you in a few days...