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…gingerbread sweater…

Back in May, 6 weeks into isolation, none of my existing projects were doing a lot to hold my attention. When our days were so very same-old-same-old, to then sit down to the same old project was just a rut too far. Or, well, that’s my excuse, anyway. Let’s just pretend I’m not a compulsive project starter, pandemic or no pandemic.

With the winter months approaching, my insta feed was filling with pretty jumpers being knitted. I’d had a knitting itch for a couple of weeks, and so this felt like the ideal project. I needed something new for my winter wardrobe anyway. After a chat with the very helpful Sarah from Say! Little Hen, I settled on a Truly Myrtle Gingerbread sweater, to be knitted in KPC Novomerino dk in Peacock with an ivory stripe.

The front shoulders took me a couple of attempts to get right, while I wrapped my head around how the construction and shaping worked. I have never knitted a garment more complicated than a Milo vest before, and I don’t always find it easy to visualise how it comes together just from reading a pattern. Knitting and ripping back though? It puts everything into focus for me, so as frustrating as it was to pull out my work a time or two, it was helpful in the end to see how it all shaped up before starting the final version.

Once I managed to work all that out, join the back and shape the armholes, the body was a sinch, though the hem lacework gave me some trouble when the pattern didn’t fit as neatly into the number of cast on stitches as it should have, but figured I’d mucked up a stitch count here or there. I cast off, lay it out, and…yeah, I mucked up for sure. I missed an entire row of increase stitches to bring the hemline up to count. As soon as I re-read the pattern and saw that, I felt so dumb. Such a basic mistake, thanks to rushing through towards the end. Since I was ripping that part out anyway, I decided I would fix another issue while I was going – as I’d worked down the bodice and added stripes with a jogless change, I’d managed to have the changes drifting across the rows, and it was kind of driving me crazy.

As frustrating as it was to pull out and re-do a whole 200 rows, with such gorgeous yarn and so much time invested, the last thing I wanted was to get to the end, and then shove it in the cupboard never to be worn. Once I got back down to the hem, and the lacework fitted neatly in the number of stitches on my needles, I was so glad I had taken the time to fix my mistakes.

Then came the fun of casting on the sleeves, and getting the stripes to line up. In the same way it took me a couple of goes to understand how the shoulders were constructed, it took me an attempt or two to get the sleeves working right – my first attempt ended up with the stripes running down the sleeve instead of around! Yeah, my spatial awareness skills are just that good. But in the end I worked out how to get it working, and by the second sleeve I had it refined even further, and was super happy with how the sleeves turned out.

With all the colour changes, it took me an entire afternoon to weave in the ends. I couldn’t source any blocking mats in town, but I was too anxious to wear it, and so…I did. I still haven’t blocked it, but it’s in high rotation anyway. It is warm and cozy, as you would expect of merino. It fits perfectly (though if I wasn’t working to fit in with the stripe ratio I possibly would’ve made the sleeves a bit longer). I adore the colour. I am already planning another Gingerbread, AND a different pattern as well, in the hopes of a mainly me-made winter wardrobe in 2021.

The Covid Craftapalooza continues apace around here. My blackwork is up to date. I’ve gotten a quilt basted and hand-quilting well under way. Yesterday afternoon saw me get caught up with my 365 ATC project. I am still awaiting yarn for my mandala blanket, so in the mean time I’m fixing a couple of errors on my sunrise stripe sampler. With this jumper bumping me out of my pandemic rut, I’ve got a boost of mojo and am loving finishing things all over the place. Which, as we all know, is also an excellent excuse to start something new…if anyone needs me I’ll be down a pinterest rabbit hole…

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