Grown-up knitting

A couple of Christmases ago, I spotted something I really, REALLY wanted: a knitting pattern book. Although I own many of these (and hold many more from the library to ransom), this one was different. Rowan magazine number 48. Here’s the cover:

I mean, come on! Look at that beautiful woman, with her gorgeous scarf and those pretty flowers in her hair and that dreamy expression. When I first saw this magazine online on the Rowan website, I sat and gawped my way through it. There are some seriously cute patterns in there, my favourites being those in the ‘Russian Doll’ collection, featuring the lovely lady up there. It’s all about romantic fair isle and traditional folkloric designs, which basically means lots of interesting patterns in dreamy hues of lilac, ivy, teal, ochre and plum. Just my cup of tea! I immediately put the magazine on my Christmas list, and my brother dutifully bought it for me. He’s a good egg!

There was one particular pattern that caught my eye out of all the others, the Dominika cardigan. A stunning draped cardigan, very elegant and featuring all manner of interesting patterns such as checks, scallops, flowers, hearts and moss stitch stripes. And the colours! I was smitten and itching to make it, so right after Christmas I spent an insane amount of money on wool and set to work…

This first bit of one of the front panels probably took me a good few hours to figure out, while I got the hang of the pattern. There were a heck of a lot of little squares to follow! But once I got it into it I was away. The chart changed so often that it kept the knitting varied and interesting, and it was lovely seeing the pattern and colours come together. The sheer size of this project did seem very daunting at first but one step at a time I chipped away, finding the rhythm of the different patterns rather relaxing. I must admit that over the months I did have a few breaks, taking a breather to work on something else when I felt a bit cardigan-ed out. But sure enough, it grew…and grew…

And ten months, two front panels, a back panel, two sleeves and a very fancy drapey moss-stitch collar later, it was time to block and sew the pieces together…

And then it was DONE!

This is a pretty advanced knitting project, but perhaps the one I feel most proud of to date. Funny how that works, huh? I learnt a lot about pattern-reading (fair isle, intarsia and instructional), tension and gauge, but also about how far I will go to make something I love. At the beginning I half-expected that I might give up at some point and decide to “come back to it later”, but I surprised myself with my determination.

Next from Rowan magazine #48 I have my eye on a beautiful calf-length navy housecoat designed by Martin Storey, with checks and flowers and roses on the collar. Sounds a bit scary, yes, a proper Grown-up Knitting Project! But then again I guess I’m a proper grown-up knitter now.

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