Alexa’s been the one to go ‘epic’ in her personal knitting projects in the past. This has had some unbelievably inspiring results, but I always saw it as impractical for me personally. That is, until now!
I decided to use this year’s #strangebrewKAL as an impetus to really ‘go big’ with my holiday sweater plans for this year. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but my sweater production has really skyrocketed this year! This is because I’ve been experimenting and gaining skills on my knitting machine. It’s a fabulous tool that I’ll share more about in a future post, but the long and short of it is that by zooming through some of the stockinette portions of a project I can get to the part that I love most (the colourwork! The design challenges at the yoke!) a little bit faster.
As such, I have decided that this year is the year for an epic family photoshoot from the Edinburgh side of the business! I pulled out my stash, and looked at some various options for me, John, and the kids.
My overall vision was a Christmas sweater palette that featured greens and pinks. My parameters were as follows:
- Work from my stash as much as possible, mixing yarns fearlessly!
- Make a colourwork yoke sweater for myself, my husband John, and my kids Neve and Max following the Strange Brew recipe pattern
- Document my design process, in order to provide learning support and examples for knitters!
A coordinated palette of sweaters
One sweater I was instantly certain of was John’s. I have been saving this lovely sweater amount of olive green Studio Donegal yarn. It’s super soft and exquisitely tweedy, and a great match for John’s beautiful green eyes. I have (gasp) NEVER knit my husband, father of my two kids, a sweater. To be fair, since we’ve been together I’ve been pretty busy building a business and then producing two beautiful children, but is that really an excuse? Yup. It is. But very good excuses notwithstanding, I think the moment for me to complete a sweater for John is NOW.
So that was the body colour for one sweater nailed down; and as you can see in the photos above, I’ve got a few ideas for palette options for the yoke colourwork.
Next, I had recently become obsessed with some soft pink yarn dyed by my friend Nina at Rainbow Heirloom. She dyed this colour ‘birthday suit’ on a base called Brit Light, which is 100% superwash British BFL. It’s a plied sock-weight yarn, so it will be durable but soft; perfect for a kid’s sweater. I took the plunge, bought the yarn, and got started selecting colours to coordinate at the yoke.
Third was the sweater for me, and I struggled to choose among several options for a body colour. I have this exquisite ‘vintage green’ from Rennies, a deep blackened red DK weight from Green Mountain Spinnery, and this voluptuously soft deep red custom spun 4-ply which I made at The Border Mill in the summer.
Looking at the colours together, I decided that the best option to coordinate with the other two body yarns was the Border Mill Alpaca. Possibly I was also seduced by its opulent drapeyness and outrageous softness? I can’t wait to get this on the needles!
Last I had to fill in the blank, and choose a body yarn for Max’s sweater that would coordinate nicely with the three already chosen. I thought perhaps a mid green would be best, but then I found a sweater’s amount of this grey tweed that had been languishing in my stash boxes, and decided it had a delicacy that would round out the palette quite nicely!
I’ve made the body and sleeves for Max’s jumper working bottom up. I did the sleeves by hand. I hand-knit the body rib, and then worked the stockinette portion on the knitting machine. Then I joined it all together, adding in a few stitches for the steek (they’ll be lost when I cut and pick up the button bands).
So the decision about the main body yarns made, I’ve been slowly chipping away with the process of working from idea to completed sweater for each of us! Will I finish before the end of the KAL? Hmmm I’m not holding my breath. Will I finish before Christmas? Hmmmm still not certain! But I’m enjoying the process nonetheless!