Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Joseph And His Amazing...

Let me introduce you to something special....

The Joseph Jumper. (Yes, I know you might prefer that be 'sweater', not 'jumper', but it's a jumper, OK? And clearly a Joseph one at that.)

Amazing, isn't it?

It's funny, but since we only meet in blogland (mostly), there's a lot we don't know about each other. This is one of the interesting things about blogs, I find, the getting to know someone over time, through what they reveal about themselves, and what they knit/craft/photograph/paint create etc.

And of course, knitting blogs in particular yield people we are likely to be friends with - since we already know that knitters are fab. Cos they just are.

There's a story attached to this picture of course.

The Joseph Jumper is an integral part of my knitting heritage. I consider myself to be fairly unusual in that I have not one but two knitting parents. Both my Mum & Dad have knitted all my life, and most of theirs too. I can include sewing, dressmaking, quilting & rugmaking in this too, but that's besides the point for now. Let's just say that they're pretty crafty.

The upside of this (and there is no downside) is that I have seen them knit practically everything you can think of. And they are fearless knitters indeed, who baulk at nothing. Watching them knit has instilled a number of things in me, the sheer love of it for instance and the endless possibilities. Also the philosophy that something has to be done 'right'. That doesn't at all mean perfectly, or even nicely, but right according to the spirit of the thing.

If there's a mistake somewhere's and you notice it...just face it early and go back and fix it before you're miles on. Don't knit on just because you can't bear to stop...or worse, start over, muttering 'Ah sure it doesn't matter'. If you get a mis-twisted cable, or a knot, or a dropped stitch in the wrong place, or it's too long, short or doesn't sit right...and it bothers you....you MUST fix it, or forever be haunted by it. You may choose to be haunted of course, for lots of perfectly good reasons, but just be aware that it will never go away.

This attitude leads to a certain amout of pain in the short term, tinking and frogging, but it leads to more contentment in the end. You could see it as a good philosophy of life too, but I'll leave that up to yourselves.

Anyway, I have strayed a little from my story.

Many years ago, my Dad, as I've said, an utterly fearless knitter, decided to make a jumper for himself out of rag wool. All the bits 'n 'pieces left over from years of knitting projects - perhaps a lifetime of them. So, he knit himself a Joseph Jumper - after he of the amazing technicolour etc etc. This jumper is a thing of wonder, with more colours than you can count, not in stripes as one might expect, but in many blocks and shapes that wander about the fabric, sending out fingers of colour in diagonals, snaking around corners and crashing into other colours in a wonderful way.

The Joseph Jumper shown here isn't his, by the way, it's mine.

The original jumper was such a success, that it spawned a whole family of them. Each of my siblings has one, as does my Mum of course. Her's is special, in that it has cables made from different colours twined around each other. As we siblings found ourselves in couples, each son- and daughter-in-law got one too. In vain did friends beg for a Joseph of their own. No, they had to marry in to qualify.

By now the designs were getting very adventurous, with piano keys up the sleeve for a musical person for instance, letters and other motifs. My DH has one with an Alfa Romeo symbol on the front, which is toasty warm and he wears all the time when he's working outdoors. There are some child ones in the collection, and a few hats just for fun.

I should mention that they're knitted without a safety net, I mean, a pattern, it's all done on the fly. When sleeves get too short on growing boys, just rip back the cuffs and knit in an extension. Too tight in the torso? Just unpick stitches under the arm and insert a gusset. Didn't I say this is a fearless knitter! Many's the time I've seen crafty and intriguing knit-fixes on the internet or in books and thought...Ah, sure my Dad can do that!

Anyhow, I wanted to introduce you to the Joseph Jumper. Watch out for others coming your way.

By the way, if you're wondering what colour love is, it's Technicolour. And it's Amazing.

I've said it before.

And I'll say it again.

Lucky me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sailor Girl

This is a modified version of a little girl’s cardigan which I saw knitted up as a sample at the Knitting & Stitching Show at the RDS, Dublin, in 2006. I just HAD TO MAKE IT!!!! It's in Sublime Merino Silk Aran with a lovely drape and sheen.

Sidebar: I got the pattern and yarn from the Sadly Missed Wool Shop in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Sniff! A moment's silence please....


.....the original design was for plain stocking stitch all the way, and I knew it would drive me nuts and I might not finish it….horrors! As well as that, I thought Little Monkey would be more likely to wear it if she had a part in it, so we picked the edge pattern from Nicky Epstein’s book of edgings.

It was the hardest one in the book and it took a few weeks before I mastered it. (It’s also LOADED with bobbles - yeuch!) I added the vertical stripe of yarn overs just for interest. It might be a bit overkill, but I like it. The yarn is lovely, silky soft and no pilling at all. A bit splitty, but worth it.

There were some tricky moments. As I was missing the moss-stitch edging from the original, I improvised a cable edging to run along the sides of the collar and turn into the ties. Works well I think.

A friend supplied the perfect buttons. See, you should look in other people’s stashes more often. And yes, she does wear it…sometimes. Little Monkey that is, not my button friend. Thank Goodness Little Mouse (DD2) can wear it too so I’ve an excuse to keep it when Little Monkey grows out of it! Any day now...

(Yes, I know the photos are dreadful, sorry, I did me best.)

On the other hand, don't ye like my Habitat tablecloth? Makes a nice backdrop methinks.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Manos del Uruguay

On Friday I paid a visit to The Yarn Room at their HQ in Moneystown Co. Wicklow, which just happens to be only 3 or 4 miles from where I live. I had a lovely visit with Stephanie, knitter and proprieter, which included tea, toast and lots of knitting talk. Fab.

I had a happy hour or so fondling and oogling soberly assessing the yarn and naturally, I came away with more for the stash. It's this baby, above. Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in Red. Scrumptious. It looks like a really good weight for a lace wrap/scarf that I'm planning.

And besides then there's this...

Believe me, I don't do hats...and they don't do me. But Stephanie had this little beauty made for herself (in green) so I was able to try it on. It looked and felt lovely, and I think it's not the worst hat style for my particular head. And yes, I've cast on already and I'm 2 or 3 inches into it.

(I did have some problems with the pattern, but that's for another post.)

Funny enough, that was the same day that Aileen posted her very own beret pattern. Must have been something in the air. Go check it out. Doesn't it and she look just beautiful? Think I'll have to make one of these sometime also.

I got some of these also, and I'm delighted with them. I don't know if they're tough enough to live in my house however, since Little Monkey used one to open some (light) plastic wrapping yesterday and it snapped like a twig*. You should have seen her trying to hold both pieces in the same hand in a straight line so I wouln't realise what had happened. Very funny.

So...new project...new yarn...new needles. What's not to love?

(Yes, Ed. I know I have other projects to finish. Just shaddup! You want me to tell the people what you were doing Saturday night? Yeah right. I didn't think so.)

*Edited to Add: HAH! Of course it 'snapped like a twig'. It IS a twig!