I don’t often knit the same pattern twice. Certainly when it concerns garments, it is a rarity. I have often professed “I´d like to knit this again at some point”, or “This pattern would be so cool in a totally different colour palette”, but you know how it goes: The world of knitting is a vast place, and the knitting queue is. so. long. There are always new patterns coming along vying for their spot on the needles. This is just to say that while, when I finished my first puffin sweater, I immediately knew I wanted to make another one, I also knew that it would be a while before I’d actually do it. All good things are worth waiting for however, and some good things are worth waiting for for a very long time. Eventually, it was time to cast on.
I have couple of different approaches to my colourwork knits: Sometimes I meticulously plan out a project, sometimes I throw myself into it and just pick whatever colour I’m feeling like when I’m getting to it, and sometimes I follow a colour palette according to a broad inspiration. Sometimes I like the original colours the designer chose for a project so much that I can’t see any other colour combination beating it. And sometimes I want to be a parrot. I had the idea for this project pretty close to when I finished my first puffin jumper, possibly even while I was knitting the original jumper.
I started preparing for a parrot version of the jumper pretty early on too. I can’t remember when exactly I decided to buy the yarn for the main colour, but I know it had been sitting in my stash for quite a while when I got to it. This bright green cone of J&S might actually have been some of the deepest buried yarn stash in the house. The green is so deliciously bright and parrot-y that once I had seen it and matched it to the idea of a Puffin I really couldn’t get it out of my head any more. I only started thinking about the yoke colours after I had cast on for the body. What followed was a careful study of different varieties of parrots (I wouldn’t want to mess up this part!).
Now, there are some 402 species of bird that make up the Psittaciformes family of birds, what we call parrots. 15 of them are extinct, the other 387 are each of them remarkably beautiful. (Fifty-five of them are endangered or critically endangered). Although quite pretty, the African Psittacus are uniformly grey and not that suited for a colourwork project. The beautiful Blue-and-Yellow Macaw and Scarlet Macaw are, as their name suggest, blue with yellow and scarlet respectively, so did not match my vision and yarn choice. The Grey Breasted Parakeet from Northern Brazil does have a vivid green coat, but so many contrast colours that it would require marled yarn to do it justice. Eventually my eye fell on the Great Green Macaw and the Military Macaw. They both have a beautiful green coat accompanied by clear red and blue markings and white facial fluff. Their similarity in both appearance and distribution range makes them easy to mix up, but one can keep the two apart as follows: The Great Green Macaw is slightly more large than the Military Macaw while the latter is slightly… er…. better armed?
I actually found the print-out of the pattern of the time when I made the original puffin. I couldn’t believe I still had it! I had made quite some notes on that one as my gauge differed quite a bit from the pattern at the time. Miraculously, when I measured my gauge on a recent project using the same yarn, it was the same as back then, so I could just follow the notes I made to myself back then. There is possibly a lesson in here about note taking and organisation but I’m still trying to distil that bit.
Knitting this sweater was a great. The pattern was, again, awesome to work with and especially after the huge undertaking that Windermere was, I breezed through this one super fast. I couldn’t even remember I was capable of knitting fingering sweaters in a shorter amount of time anymore. But it was of the needles before I knew it -and was ready for it t.b.h., as yarn for my next project was yet to arrive!
If you follow me on instagram you might have noticed that I mentioned and posted pictures of this sweater back in autumn when I was knitting on it. And it is true, when I actually went back to check, I saw I finished this in October. Which was a surprise, even to me. I can’t exactly pin point a reason why it took me so long to take some pictures of this sweater, and I’m quite puzzled about it myself.
When I finally decided to go out and take some photo’s of this sweater about a week ago or so, it was actually one of the coldest days of the winter. It may not look the part, but it was way colder then any of the pictures I ever took in the snow for example. It might have felt colder because of the springlike weather we had in the days before. Just to put it in into perspective: while we were out on our walk we hardly saw anybody save for an occasional someone forced to walk a dog -where usually those woods are very crowded on weekends. I almost chickened out, to save it for another day, but then I remembered how long this sweater was waiting for its pictures and I just had to do it.
So there you have it, quite possibly the coldest photo shoot for any project ever. All of this is just to say that I am so glad for the existence of wool. At that moment in time, I was particularly happy for the existence of bright coloured Shetland wool, to make cheery jumpers with that you can pretend to be an exotic bird in during frozen days. Even onlookers, who might think that you’re a little barking for taking of you warm coat and layers, can’t help but smile at the cheery brightness of it all!