Many thanks to everyone for the purchases, kind tweets, Ravelry favourites, Facebook likes and all of the other ways that you have spread the word about Cross-Country Knitting! Kate and I are overwhelmed by the response. You can pop over to Kate's blog, to read more about her design, Machrihanish.
Today I'd like to talk a bit more about my design, Bruton...
© Jesse Wild
The twisted stitch cable panel comes from a stitch pattern in Maria Erlbacher's wonderful Twisted-Stitch Knitting book. I love this book, and could happily work through the stitch patterns in turn! All of the right side knits are twisted (and wrong side purls), which gives a particularly well-defined snake-like appearance to the cables. It has the added interest of crosses on wrong side rows, which requires a little bit of concentration, but since these only occur on 12 rows in the hoody (and another 12 in the swatch - where you can practise), it's not too onerous. I really wanted this pattern to be interesting, but not too challenging!
© Jesse Wild
I love it when a pattern has a clever trick or two to teach me, and I hope that some knitters may find this to be the case with Bruton. To create both the pocket openings, and the sleeve holes, you work on fronts and back separately, but I've used two cunning tricks to enhance things. Firstly I've incorporated TechKnitter's handy trick to avoid a weak point where you separate the fronts from back. I've searched for the precise link, but my search-fu is for once failing me. Never mind! There are SO many amazing hints and tips over there, that it's worth a proper visit, if you're not already familiar with her work.
Secondly, you don't have to break and rejoin the yarn when you finish one section and start again on the next. I know that many people aren't too bothered about weaving in ends, but this is such a clever technique as it also saves you some time later! I first came across a similar process when editing a Courtney by Nick Atkinson for The Knitter, and I've taken the idea and reworked it for my design. In Nick's pattern, once you've knitted a strip, you crochet your way back down the side of the strip to return to the next set of stitches. In the Bruton Hoody, you pick up the stitches ready to work the pockets (and later sleeves). This enables you to work your way back to the next section, without having to break and rejoin. And better still, you then have your pocket and sleeve stitches all set and ready to work once you have finished the body!
© Jesse Wild
Excelana DK is a brilliant yarn to work with. The yarn was developed by Susan Crawford and John Arbon. What a team! Susan and John created the yarn for Susan's vintage designs, but it's equally amazing for modern designs too! Here is some information about the wool from their website:
Excelana is a 100% British wool, spun from the fleece of the Exmoor Blueface, which live on the moors of North Devon. A cross between the Exmoor Horn and the Bluefaced Leicester, the fleece of the Exmoor Blueface creates a lustrous yarn with a soft handle, great stretch and excellent stitch definition, affording the knitter a pleasurable knitting experience.
I can but agree that it really does have wonderful stretch, stitch definition, and softness. Jim (aka Veuf Tricot) has been wearing his hoody non-stop since we finished the photoshoot in April last year (I told you this has been in the works for a while!), and it's wearing REALLY well too. Just what you want if you have spent time knitting a garment for someone special!
© Jen Arnall-Culliford
You will notice that I've slipped in a few pictures of me wearing the Bruton Hoody... I'm resisting the temptation to outright steal this from Jim. But the temptation is STRONG! So if you find that once it's knitted, you can't bear to part with it... Just don't let on that I said you could!
© Jesse Wild
To purchase Cross-Country Knitting volume 1 for £5.95 head over to Ravelry, or just click on the buy now button:
I have been bursting with excitement about this project for a LONG time, so without further ado, I present to you Cross-Country Knitting Volume 1.
Kate Davies and I have been knitting friends and colleagues for a few years now. We work at opposite ends of the country, but through the wonder of the internet, we have bonded over our joint love of knitting, cake, birds, TV shows and many other things. In fact there is really only one topic that we won't ever see eye to eye on... She's a tea lover, and I can't function without coffee. These are the differences that cement a friendship, I'm sure you will agree!
We decided that it would be fun to do a design project together. Something to work on together, where we could showcase our different, but complementary, design styles. We set ourselves the brief of designing a men's garment (Tom and Jim both being fans of knitwear!) that we would want to knit and that they would want to wear. These are not always compatible desires, are they?
This pair of garments is what we have come up with. Kate has designed a magnificent Fair Isle Tank Top, with a contemporary sleek shape, and beautiful traditional OXO motifs: Machrihanish
And I designed Bruton Hoody, knitted using the delicious Excelana Luxury DK (more on that in a day or two...). Jim has a few well-worn zipped cardigans, and I wanted to design something slightly more interesting, but still wearable. I've long had a love affair with Maria Erlbacher's beautiful Bavarian twisted stitch patterns (more on that soon too...), so I settled on a panel running up the front, with the cable just below the shoulder. The construction of this hoody uses some cunning picking up stitches to avoid having too many ends to weave in! It's knitted in one piece from start to finish, with the pockets and sleeve stitches picked up as you go. Tricky to explain, but very, very simple to do! I've named my hoody Bruton, after the Somerset town where Jim was at school.
© Jesse Wild
Many thanks to Corben Storey for modelling my hoody, Kim Hobley for knitting the sample, Susan Crawford and John Arbon Textiles for providing the Excelana DK for the sample hoody, and Jesse Wild for photography!
In Cross-Country Knitting Volume 1 you will find patterns for both hoody and vest, plus a feature article by Jim (aka, the inimitable Veuf Tricot) on the perils of giving and receiving hand-knits, and a cut-out-and-keep Cross-Country Knitting gift tag to attach to your finished work (if you can bear to part with it!). The eBook is now available for £5.95 via Ravelry , and the print booklet will very shortly be available via MagCloud.
Kate and I will be blogging in further detail about our designs tomorrow (or thereabouts), and if you come back at the end of the week, there will be an interview with Kate for your enjoyment! To keep track of our Cross-Country Knitting journey, you can also bookmark our website: www.crosscountryknitting.com