If last week was Christmas in August, today it’s Christmas in September. Except that this week I know you’re going to forgive me; because we’re talking about Christmas 2016. Yes, I have finally finished last year’s Christmas knitting.
OK’ it’s not quite as bad as it sounds; this is a knit that I finished at the end of July, packed away to keep it from getting too covered in grass and all the detritus of life in a tent, and then in August neither love nor money would persuade Pip to wear a big woolly jumper with a hood. So yes, I finished the Christmas knitting in July. Whoops.
I did start this knit before last Christmas (unlike Kitty’s!) but rapidly realised that I could either spend a week desperately trying to crank it out, or I could accept that it wasn’t going to get done, enjoy the festivities and make him an apron instead. He loved the apron (and I published the pattern in case anyone else ever found themselves in desperate need of a quick mama-make).
But in the new year I picked it up again and slowly knit along. It would not be a lie to say that I’ve enjoyed every stitch on this sweater; it’s a lovely mixture of nice plain knitting to fly through and give you a feeling of accomplishment, and then the fairisle snowflakes for when you want something interesting to knit, and in March, when I started to realise that I’d been playing yarn chicken in a seriously big way, I just missed having it to knit as much as anything else.
Ah yes, the yarn shortage. Having had to “nip back” to Lil Weasel for a smidgen of blue to finish Pip’s previous birthday jumper, I was certain that I’d bought enough yarn to make this whole jumper without any problems. I did the maths and checked again, and then I started adding in just a little bit of extra length on both body and sleeves, just to make sure he got to wear it for more than 30 seconds before this super tall boy of mine shot up into the next size and that was almost certainly my downfall. Half way up the hood, I looked properly at the remains of the dark grey, and started to worry a little. I was nearly certain at this point that I was going to run out of yarn, but I could see it for sale on Lil Weasel’s website and thought I’d wait until I was certain that I needed it before placing the order.
A week passed, and no, I definitely needed it. I went to the website, and the website was gone. Lil Weasel had their website hacked or infected or something (my French lessons were in the 90’s – we didn’t cover computer terminology), and that was that. Much as I would have loved to, we couldn’t really justify a day trip to Paris just for me to buy one more ball of yarn, and despite our best efforts, something got lost in translation and Lil Weasel and I never quite managed to figure out a way to send a ball to me while the website was down and so this jumper sat in the bottom of my knitting bag, and waited. I thought about trying to add in a stripe, about whether the remains of the contrast colour would be enough to finish it off (it wouldn’t), whether I could just go with a smaller hood (who wants a tiny hood), or whether to try to find something the same colour in the UK, but in the end I just kept waiting.
At the end of June the website started to reappear, and then came the day when Lil Wiiz started to reappear on the site – I ordered as fast as my fingers could fly. It arrived in July and finally I got to sit down and finish that hood and the ribbing around the face. Three little wooden buttons from Ribbon Circus in Hebden Bridge, a quick wash and block, and we were done. Phew.
The pattern is the Winter Hoodie by Annie Rowden, and the only adjustment I made was to add a little more length (but not enough to be knitting to the tunic pattern rather than the sweater) to both arms and body. The yarn, Lil Weasel’s own brand Lil Wiiz, is gorgeous enough to wait for and to justify ordering just one ball to be sent to you from Paris, though if you’re ever in the area I can’t recommend a visit highly enough, especially as their sister fabric shop is just across the arcade! If I could get it more easily in England this would be my go to yarn, it’s as soft as butter and comes in the most gorgeous colours, apparently inspired by the colours of Liberty prints so that might explain the love at first sight! The dark grey is Encre (ink) and the ice blue, Porcelaine. If we’re being very honest here it probably isn’t the first choice for fairisle; ideally I’d want something with a bit more grip to it so that it can hold itself together, but when so little of it is fairisle, and I’m knitting for the kids, soft as butter wins out over perfect choice for fairisle.
But the best bit was bribing and corrupting Pip to try it on the day I finished it (it was hot) and realising that it actually does still fit, and is going to be big enough for this winter. If I’d made it properly to the size he was last winter then it would have fit then and I’d probably have finished it with the yarn I had then in time for him to wear it; because I made it bigger I ran out of yarn and didn’t finish until July, but it will fit for this winter – which one would you rather?