Many years ago, I read a newspaper interview with Bob Hoskins and the subject of how he decided which jobs to take came up. He would take the script with him to the toilet in the morning and if he was still reading once his bottom was cold, he knew it had gripped him sufficiently for him to call his agent.
I was reminded of this when Strange Brew by Tin Can Knits came into the office. I had time for a quick flick through so I could write something informed about it and add it to the shop before heading off on the school run. I was still in my seat reading when I realised I was very late and that the school run was going to be more than a figure of speech.
What spoke to me so strongly throughout the book was the idea that, with the guidance within the pages, I could design and knit my own yoked sweater. The Strange Brew recipe gives clear step-by-step instructions in three yarn weights to put together your own sweater. Being Tin Can Knits, you can work in sizes from baby to big. Furthermore, you have a choice of two ways of designing your yoke and the choice of working either top down or bottom up. That’s a whole load of information, but it is presented in a clear and logical manner so you shouldn’t get mixed up at any stage. The tutorial section is followed by patterns for 9 sweaters with the yoke already designed and 3 accessories based on the same colourwork motifs.
I have done nothing but work knitting this year and needed a change. Also, all of my handknits seem to have gone through at the elbows, so I was a man in need. I did momentarily consider going the whole hog and designing my own charts, but since I only knit after the children are in bed, and at the point in the day cannot count up to 10, I took the easy route. I chose Mountain Mist as it has the shallowest yoke colourwork. This wasn’t down to me questioning my competence in, or patience for colourwork, but rather a question of how it would look. The Jòn we collectively finished earlier in the year has a deep yoke design that rather swamps my slight runner’s frame. It’s not a question of fit, just that I think it suits someone with broader proportions better.
Mountain Mist is a top-down design, something I have not previously tried. As someone with a short attention span, I think it suits me better than bottom up as it grows quickly initially and I finished the yoke in very little time. Of course it did help that it’s an aran weight design.
The yarn is our Something to Knit With Aran in Mist (appropriately), Sky, Cornflower and Storm.
I needed a bit of help in dividing for the arms, mostly because that evening I had lost the ability to read, or speak in words of more than 1 syllable. From there, I raced through the first part of the body, then started on one of the sleeves. You might wonder why I didn’t complete the body beforehand. Quite simply, it reduces the weight while working in small circumferences and prevents any number of irritations.
It looks a little puckered in the photo, but this will settle down once it has been washed and given a good block.
My aim is to get it finished by EYF in March, which seems like a really long time in view of the progress so far. However, having told friends and colleagues that my career change didn’t mean I would be knitting as part of my job, I’m back to work knitting for the next few weeks.
And if it’s not finished in time, I might have to cast off at whatever point I’ve reached and claim to be starting a new fashion trend of ultra-cropped one-armed jumpers. You never know - it might catch on.