Matryoshka at the Fair

Well hello there first post of February! I’m sure I’ve already seen this on other blogs lots since the start of the new year, but can you believe how fast 2016 is flying by? My birthday is in less than a month, ack! I have been adjusting to a new semester, with brand new courses. The workload is brutal, but the courses are amazing. Which helps a lot, when you have to pour so much of your time, and yourself in things. Some of them basically have my name written all over them, and I had been looking forward to starting them for months. As you can imagine I’m very pleased that so far they are living up to my expectations (huzzah). That said, I’m glad the weekend is here and I can catch my breath somewhat for the new week. Enough small talk though, nobody is here for my uni ramblings. Instead let’s have a look at my latest make!

I have a new cardigan to show you! The project has been a long time coming, but I found she was definitely worth waiting for. The pattern is Jenny at the Fair by  Mary Jane Mucklestone. When I saw this pattern it was love at first sight, I wanted to cast on right away! But…since I tend to have that with more patterns *ahum* it had to wait a while. But now it’s done and ready! The pattern is part of a collection, ‘the Rhineback Sweater’, edited by Ysolda Teague. Initially the patterns were only available in this collection, but later they were released as individual downloads. Admittedly I was not as sold on the other patterns in the book as I was on Jenny at the Fair. Many designers worked on the book, the patterns reflect this and are very different in style.  Most of them are not garments I could see myself knit or wear. So instead of buying the book, I waited for the single patterns.

 The yarn I used is Drops Nepal. Incidentally it is the same yarn I used to knit my very first sweater with, which I still wear and which holds up pretty well. Working on it, I sometimes had these waves of nostalgia, thinking back on how much has happened and how much my skills have improved since that first sweater way back in the day.

The cardigan is knitted in the round, with a steek at the front for the opening. I use steeks regularly in my knitting, but often with a sticky yarn, such as Shetland or Icelandic wool. Drops Nepal is a smooth yarn and I was eager (and a bit wary) to see how well it would hold a steek. I’ve steeked superwash yarn before, so I wasn’t too scared to put me off doing it. Steeking smooth yarn is entirely possible, but I will say that I’d recommend reinforcing before cutting. Once you start cutting the yarn next to the cut, that isn’t reinforced, stitches will swiftly disappear before your eyes. I steeked, and knitted the button band before blocking. With these types of cardigans it is impossible to block them to certain measurements before the steek.

The cardigan was as fun to knit as it looks (which is a lot!). I loved working the colourwork borders and breezed trough them while knitting. The colourwork motives made for very addictive knitting and I couldn’t put it down before knitting “just one more row”. The cuff and border have slightly different patterning, presumable to make the chart and numbers add up, but it gives extra interest to the patterning.

The colours remind me of Matryoshka dolls (In Dutch we call them ‘baboesjka’, an all together different Russian word, for some reason). The bold colours, particularity the combination of dark blue, red and yellow brought them to mind while I was working on the cuffs. My grandmother gave me such a doll when she came back from her travels in Russia when I was about eight years old. The doll has lived on my shelve ever since, looking down on my knitting progress.

I think this cardigan will get a lot of wear. Even though it is a heavily patterned cardigan, the colours are those that I wear a lot. I think the navy and red will tie together with the rest of my wardrobe quite smoothly. I own a similarly (but store brought) heavily patterned cardigan which I have worn to bits, this was the final nudge to start this pattern. It has certainly wet my appetite for more all over colourwork projects. First I have to finish what I’m working on now, and then I’ll see what my knitting hearts wants to make next. Might make it into my summer project, when I’m not sucked up in uni work.

Have a great weekend!

7 thoughts on “Matryoshka at the Fair

  1. Oooh! I love the color combo. So bold and colorful. And fits you like a glove.

    I have bought the whole rhinebeck sweater book mostly for the stories. Reading about peoples experience on this special yarn event and how they decided on their own sweater, and the stories of the people who sell yarn there was well worth it to me. But I can see how, if you are already swamped with reading for school, being able to only buy the pattern you want, can be a blessing.

  2. Love the colours you used for this! As a knitter that has never steeked in her entire knitting life, the story about steeking smooth yarns absolutely terrifies me! Good to keep in mind though that once I find myself ready for my first steek it might make sense to use some stickier yarn.

  3. @Kat Thank you Kat!

    Thanks šŸ™‚
    You make a good point, there's some collections which I've bought mostly because of the essays or personal stories that came along. I guess the Rhinebeck Sweater book didn't speak to me enough. Glad to hear that it's good reading material though, so who knows, maybe one day…. šŸ˜‰

    It is enormously cosy!
    Thanks a lot, I'm glad you like it!

    Yeah, Icelandic yarn or something similar is really a great place to start with a first steek. It just makes a huge difference!
    Thank you!

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