FO: Christmas Jumper

Happy New Year to everyone!  Um, about a month late.

I had a wonderful holiday season.  I went home to Camas, Washington (near Portland, OR) for over a week and enjoyed my two weeks off from work!  I had some knitting goals set for myself while I was at home.  I kind of succeeded.  Fortunately I didn’t really plan on knitting any gifts.  I did have the dream of finishing up my Christmas sweater before Christmas.

And it got finished!

(wow, I thought this picture was in focus until I put it in this blog…)

Pattern: The Perfect Christmas Jumper by Susan Crawford

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in Indigo Heather (5 skeins) and White (about 1/2 skein)

Needles: US 3

Start Date: November 14, 2014

Finish Date:  December 26, 2014

Okay, so I didn’t finish it for Christmas.  I made a valiant effort.  I stayed up until 2am a couple nights and it still didn’t happen.

I didn’t make many modifications to the sweater.  I did the front first and I cast on provisionally at the waistline and worked upwards.  I did two extra decreases for the shoulders because I wanted the puff to land at my shoulder and not hanging off them.  After finishing with the front, I picked up my live stitches at the bottom and did the ribbing down.  I wanted to be able to check the length.  I ended up making the ribbing about an inch deeper than in the pattern.  This still ended up being fairly short on me.  At least, ending closer to my hips than below them.

Working stranded colorwork flat is a bit of a pain, but you get used to it.  And it always goes pretty fast when you can see your progress on a chart.  (Must. get. to. end. of. repeat.)  I did the sleeves next and they went quickly considering the fingering weight yarn.  I went with the squared shoulders like in the original pattern.  I didn’t put in any shoulder pads.  I like the slight puff to the shoulders.

Here’s where I went off book.  My Mom has a knitting machine and I have never used it.  She doesn’t use it that much herself, as she is much more into handknitting.  I decided that since I was going to be at home and I didn’t feel like knitting a plain stockinette backed sweater in fingering weight yarn that I was going to machine knit the back.  This seemed like a marvelous idea.  I just had to get the ribbing done by December 22 when I got home.  What I didn’t anticipate was the learning curve.

Here’s the machine:

I think it’s a Brother, but I didn’t take note.

We did a gauge swatch just kind of guessing on tension.  After we decided it looked good, we had to hook up my ribbing to the machine.  Then you just zip along knitting row after row in minutes.  One problem I had was that it was difficult to measure the height of the piece while it was on the machine.  It was extremely stretched out on the machine, especially since I was using thin yarn.  I tried to just go by number of rows but the row gauge didn’t match my front piece.  And if something wasn’t aligned perfectly, a bunch of stitches could pop off the hooks and boy do they run when the piece is stretched and weighted!

I didn’t take any pictures of any of the disasters that I had.  Mostly because I was trying not to freak out and cry while they were happening.  A lot of laddering back up and getting all those stitches onto the little latch hooks used by the machine.  I learned how to do decreases and short rows on the machine.  There are seed stitch plackets at the back neck.  I tried to do these on the machine but got fatigued of manipulating the stitches while I went.  I ended up just knitting them in stockinette and afterwards dropping down and changing them to seed stitch later once the back was finished.

The knitting was probably done on Christmas, but then it took another day or so to do all the sewing up and finishing work.  And finally, my Christmas Jumper was done!

It was apparently hard to take flattering, in-focus pictures in any of our Christmas settings. We went snow-shoeing on Mount Hood a few days later and you better believe I was kicking myself for not bringing my sweater for the snowy photo opportunity!

Ultimately I am very pleased with how it turned out.  I love vintage styles but then I sometimes feel uncomfortable in them.  I felt a little like I was wearing an 80’s child’s sweater.  I just need to embrace it.  I wore it out for New Year’s Eve with a little pleated mini skirt and tights.  And now I think it will be put away until next holiday season!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  I am still working on getting rid of the last couple pounds that I gained!

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