Disclaimer: the pattern for this jumper has been gifted me in exchange of my review of the instructions, the yarn I purchased privately. All comments and views are entirely my own. There are no affiliate links on this page.
The end of the year is inevitably a time of reflection and tallies.
And this year I feel late on everything.
Especially, I’m very late on sharing with the world my latest knitting adventure: the Vintertid Sweater.
Frida, the designer behind Fleur & Franckie (@fleurandfranckie) called for testers sometimes in September and I distinctly remember discussing deadlines and stating in no unclear terms that mid-October was not going to work for me. Sweet, patient Frida, immediately put me at ease explaining that as long as I had time to work on it and join in the conversation with the group she did not expect release at any particular time.
I really, really wanted to knit this sweater so, even if I had just finished a project and had already casted something else on, I put everything else aside and focussed entirely on this one.
The first reason to be so excited about this project was the yarn. The pattern is knitted in one strand of linen and one of silk mohair from the wonderful colorinaturali.eu (colorinaturali). Maria, the owner of the shop and talented dyer, hand dyes 100% natural fibres (sourced from ethical farms) using only botanical ingredients.
I promise you, readers, I have never seen more beautiful yarn. The linen has a subtle lustre, there’s almost a sheen to it, that I have never seen before and it’s probably the strongest thread I have ever held. It might be lace but this yarn ain’t no fainthearted sissy. As I mentioned, this sweater is knit holding one thread of linen and one of silk mohair together. Here the linen provides strength, durability and beautiful drape, whilst the silk mohair plumps it up in a cloud of softness and warmth.
The one thing I immediately thought when I started browsing on Colori Naturali’s website was that firstly, this thread ain’t cheap. It’s very fairly priced considering the sourcing, quality and craftsmanship involved; but not something I could purchase lightly. This made it all the more a dear project to me and I started carefully pondering what colours to invest in to knit up a garment I would wear proudly for years to come. In this Maria has been an invaluable ally. She’s a true lover of colour and extremely respectful of every choice behind a purchase. She held my hand ever so gently at every step and became one of the biggest contributor to this project.
As you know very well by now, colour is my thing. I knew from my own colour analysis that purple is by far my best colour – one that will always, always flatter me. So, even if I was dazzled by the many stunning options on the shop, I pretty immediately zoned in on that. The next question, working with two threads, was how to gauge which colours to pick to have a resulting vibrant, intense purple. This blog post from Tin Can knits has been extremely helpful in understanding how to layer mohair on other yarns and allowed me to be able to envision the result of different colour combinations; but it has been Maria’s help that has made possible to navigate truly exceptional choices.
We chatted at length about what I wanted to achieve, and she sent me many, many different combinations once I had set my heart on the purple shade of Mohair I wanted. In one stroke of pure genius she sent me this picture:
I hummed and aaaah-ed for a little while, but I knew we had hit the mark. The purple of the mohair is vibrant and bright; the deep muted ocean blue of the linen was exactly what I needed to “ground” it and intensify it whilst enriching it with a colder hue. I was beside myself with excitement, placed my order and counted the days to hug the postman.
KNITTING IT UP
No telling of this sweater story would be complete without a mention to the wonderful ladies of our tester group. I got stuck many a time due to my inexperience with knitting lace and without Frida and the other knitters this would have been one very lonely journey.
The sweater is not at all difficult to knit and Frida was right in telling me it knits up very fast. The texture of this little “clover” pattern is airy and benefits from a loose hand, and it’s simple without being boring. It’s a clever combination of knit togethers and yarn overs which one gets used to really quickly, and if you are able to read your own work you will soon find yourself “feeling your way” around rather than counting – which for me means very few mistakes and a knitting project I can pick up any time and everywhere, as I don’t have to really think about it.
The construction is a little different. I’m used to raglan shaping when knitting in the round, whereas the dropped shoulder and boxy shape means there is no shoulder shaping at all… with most of the work being done when shaping the neckline to set up the turtle neck.
The instructions are detailed and clear, so be sure to read them carefully beforehand to know what to do when and you will be perfectly fine. This pattern is filled with lovely little techniques – like for instance the long stitches in the seam lines (providing both protection against stretching and a truly lovely detail!), the use of tubular ribbing for very stretchy ribs that don’t flair out of shape, or the short rows in the back to provide a slightly longer back piece.
SIZING & BLOCKING
One quick side note on sizing:
This jumper is provided in three sizes. I’m currently a 86cm/34in bust, so picked the smallest size. Whilst fitting perfectly should I be able to knit this jumper again (and wouldn’t a summer version be utterly lovely? I’m thinking short ribbed sleeves and a “mandarin” neck, possibly taking out the short rows in the back and give it a slightly elastic ribbing rather than stretching it out), I would go one size up to have a more similar result to what Frida wears in her pink sample.
Also worth noting is that when I finished knitting this it was teeny. I have been fairly stressed out recently so not sure if my tension had shot up the roof or if it’s normal in lace, but it looked like it would fit a child not a grown woman (albeit petite). I have to admit I was really dreading finding out I had botched it, and that I needed to knit it again going one, possibly, two sizes up, and having to buy more yarn. Back to the group of wonderful tested everyone cheered me on, reassuring that lace can withstand some pretty aggressive blocking and that I need not fear.
Well, you should have seen how this poor thing was stretched when blocking it. I am pretty sure it gained about 10 cm width. Unfortunately, as I was pretty much drying this with a hair drier in to wear it that very night, I forgot to take pictures.
OUT AND ABOUT
Readers, what a success.
After all is said and done (the snags with knitting it, the sweater being a little small, the terrible delays in finishing it) – what a delight is to wear this number.
At first I admit I was confused. This jumper’s name means “winter time” in Swedish, but I could not believe I was seriously going to be able to wear it in winer, all holey and thin and made 50% of linen. Oh how wrong I was! I mean, surely, my Diesis Jumper is warmer (seriously, it’s like wearing an actual sheep) and I can pretty much leave the house in the dead of night without wearing a coat in it; but this one has a gentle warm to it that isn’t stifling and whilst light like a cloud is only deceivingly impalpable. This sweater has the all grace of silk, the full warmth of mohair wool and the subtle strength of linen – it’s a wardrobe warhorse (that will need very gently washing), that will see lots of wear in many, many seasons.
did you know I’m on Ravelry? I have just realised my profile there is incredibly lonely. Let’s make friends! Come find me here.