I hope you are holding up, managing day by day the impacts that the pandemic continues to have on work, family, and community life. Personally, I chant to myself almost daily, ‘The kids are fine. The kids are happy. The kids are safe.’ And ‘John and I will manage; we will adapt.’ This mantra usually keeps me calm, but as the losses mount up, my sadness about what won’t be possible this year threatens to overwhelm me.
Those who follow us know that the uncertainty of the times put me in the mood to knit everything simple – lovely, easy things that would keep my hands busy and my mind occupied. So the handspun skeins were pulled out to make Beloved bonnets because there’s just nothing cuter.
Even after knitting a number of bonnets, I still had some significant leftovers, and I wanted to get them out of boxes and on to the needles. This little lovely for Neve was the result.
This project was my way of not only staying busy, but also using up ‘every last drop’ of a couple handspun skeins that I loved to bits. I bought this yarn a while back during a particularly difficult time, so it felt like a major luxury – a pick-me-up treat for myself. (So of course, it got stuffed into plastic boxes and hidden from the world like the rest of my precious stash!)
I got started on this simple-but-satisfying project using our free Flax sweater pattern, but I made some minor modifications. First, I striped it to make the precious handpun stretch further, working three rounds of handspun yard and then two rounds of mill-spun yarn. I also used a few more hacks along the way:
- I worked with slightly lighter-weight yarns, so I followed the stitch counts for the 6-8 year size. At my smaller gauge, the sweater came out measuring 24″ around (not 26″), and it will fit my four-year-old for a year or two. (Read our tutorial on How to Knit a Garment at a Different Gauge for more info on this technique.)
- I skipped the garter stitch panels at the sleeves.
- Instead of kfb increases at the raglan lines, I knit ‘under the bar’ – an increase that creates tiny holes in the work that aren’t as large as yarn-overs.
You can make a cute, stripey sweater like Neve’s by downloading our free Flax sweater or free Flax Light sweater patterns. Either pattern will serve as an excellent ‘blank canvas’ for trying out a design idea.
More Flax hacks
This is not the first time our Flax pattern has been hacked! Check out some others below…
Soft, colourful, and ‘made just for her,’ this new, stripey number has become Neve’s go-to sweater this summer. Here in Edinburgh, it can get pretty chilly, even in the middle of summer, so we don’t go out without a jumper just in case!
This, too, shall pass
This sweater, for me personally, has a number of bittersweet memories knit into it. I cast on feverishly and knit away, anxious and uncertain as lockdown here in Edinburgh was just beginning. I photographed it on Neve’s 4th birthday, when we enjoyed a family outing to a nearby park, instead of the party with friends we had hoped for.
I know ‘this, too, shall pass.’ There will be more happy birthdays to celebrate and fun summers to soak in. But I’d be lying if I said this ‘new normal’ we’re all experiencing hasn’t been a daily challenge; I often find myself feeling like I just can’t keep up. So I do what I can do. I focus on today, juggling work and family as best I can. I call a friend. I cast on something simple and joyful – and I get to bed early, so I can wake up and do it all again tomorrow.