The Yarndale sweater - a sprint, not a marathon

I was at the opening of Frome Yarn Collective the other weekend and I was asked what project I was knitting on. The simple (and honest) answer was swatches for the business. I have lost track of how many helical swatches of varying degrees of complexity I have completed over the last month or so. Each one takes the pressure off Jen, but because I am slow, it leaves me with no time whatsoever to make anything of consequence. The crazy idea of knitting a sweater in 10 days pretty much on the whim of one of our children has been something of a blessed relief. For once my efforts won’t just have their 2 minutes in front of the camera before being filed in a bag for future use.

I have been merrily, and mindlessly going round and round on the sleeves for the last week and I remembered to work the increases in the right place (usually). I may even have speeded up slightly, but I still move my lips while I knit each stitch. After several evenings of beavering away, I pretty much finished the first sleeve and felt a real sense of achievement, until Jen whacked out the second sleeve in a single morning.

So now we’ve joined the sleeves to the body and is all set to begin the yoke a day ahead of the schedule we set.


The big thing I have to take away from this sweater and indeed all of the swatches I’ve made through the summer is this: our aran yarn is great to work with across pretty much any project, be it textured stitch patterns, or colourwork. Ok, I will undoubtedly be a bit biased, but when we started looking at yarn blends, the one we chose performs just as we wanted it to.

In the past I have been tormented by yarns that split easily, or even worse snap under my tension (I am a knitter of dense fabrics). Something to Knit With Aran does not have a great tendency to split.

The Highland Wool content of the yarn means that the stitches hold together well. This is great for someone who tends to put his knitting down only to return to find his stitches have lemming-like leapt from the needles and dropped down several rows. For more competent knitters than me, this property means that cabling without a cable needle is a pretty secure operation. Furthermore, the yarn gives a lovely crisp definition in cables and in textured stitch patterns as Mimi has discovered.

The big question many will ask is: how scratchy is the fabric? As someone who finished weaving in the ends of a Lopi sweater last night, then wanted to tear his throat out when he tried it on, the answer is that it’s not in the same league. Obviously it’s not as soft as merino or quiviut for the obvious reason, but, unless you are super-sensitive, you’ll be able to wear it next to your skin quite happily.

We, and by that I mean Jen, will, barring unforeseen accident, finish the sweater in time for Yarndale. If you want to see and feel our finished Telja sweater, you’ll find Jen on stand L203.


To make your own Telja, you can buy the pattern from Jennifer Steingass’ Ravelry store.

To buy Something to Knit With Aran, find it in our shop.