I’ve been so busy working on and talking about the Moments Journal recently that I haven’t shared any of my personal projects for ages. It’s actually been quite nice to keep these things to myself and have something to do that’s separate from my work and business, but I’ve shared a couple of photos on Instagram that got some really lovely reactions so I thought I’d talk about a couple in more detail here too.
My rainbow striped jumper was a project that I worked on and finished back in the summer, but obviously with the lengthy stretch of wonderfully hot weather I didn’t get a chance to wear it until more recently. Now though I’m wearing it as much as I can get away with because I just love it and it makes me happy!
The idea to knit this one came first from finding the pattern - it was featured in a ‘technique’ focused issue of Knitting magazine as a simple introduction to top-down knitting, with the pattern written by Jo Allport.
In the past I’ve usually knitted jumpers and cardigans in pieces and then sewed them together to complete the garment, but with a top-down pattern you knit the whole thing in the round on circular needles which makes a totally seamless jumper (except for a couple of very short sections at the underarm).
I’d done a couple of ‘in the round’ items before - socks and mittens - but they have been bottom-up and obviously a lot smaller than a whole jumper. In theory I didn’t see a problem with working out the technique, and I could see the benefit of being able to check the length of the jumper more easily as I went along, so I wasn’t too worried about trying it, except for managing a huge number of stitches on my needles all at the same time!
The other neat little feature is the picot cast-off at the sleeve cuffs, another technique I’d not tried before, but it looks really effective and makes for an interesting detail.
As for the yarn, I’ve been trying not to buy too much this year as I already have quite a significant stash, but I didn’t have anything in enough quantity to make the whole jumper in one colour. But as I was looking through, I found that I’d got a load of leftovers from previous projects that made up the whole spectrum of the rainbow!
The two yarns I ended up using are Rowan Revive and Rowan Wool Cotton DK, both of which have now sadly been discontinued. The Revive colours (purple, red, blue, orange and neutral) were left over from other jumpers and cardigans, and the Wool Cotton colours were all from the Santorini jumper I knitted several years ago that has a huge floral picture on the front - this was a massive labour of love and took many months to complete!
As they are both DK yarns from the same company, they work well together, and all the colours and shades blend nicely too, so once I’d figured out the order I wanted to use them, I was away.
Now, having not attempted a top-down jumper before, adding in the complication of changing stripe colours made it a bit more of a challenge, especially when it came to dividing for the sleeves and making sure I’d got enough of each colour left to do both sleeves and the body to match. I just about made it.
Rather than using the colours in traditional rainbow order with red at the top, the quantity of yarn ended up dictating the reverse order - I had more of the red left so I could just keep going until the jumper reached the right length. It actually means that the colours work more in the order associated with the energy chakras of the body, from red at the base and up through orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. I ended up loving this fact because I feel like I can wear the jumper when I’m in need of some re-aligning and an overall energy boost.
In the end, either the size I chose to knit, or my tension, meant that the finished jumper is a little on the big and loose side, but I don’t really mind at all, it means it’s extra comfy and relaxed. I’ve only washed it by hand so far, but I may give it a gentle machine wash at some point in time which might possibly shrink it a little bit (I’ve washed my other jumpers in these yarns in the machine without too much problem), but I’m always a bit scared about ending up with something tiny (as has happened on a couple of occasions with jumpers I loved in different yarns, they ended up like felt!).
This jumper has become an absolute favourite in my wardrobe, and it makes me smile and feel good every time I wear it. It’s also become part of my business branding as I’m wearing it in my latest profile photo, which I also love. And it’s helped reduce my yarn stash quite considerably by using up all those leftovers.
I would definitely knit the pattern again - perhaps in a slightly smaller size - and I think it would be fun to do it in both a single colour, or perhaps a yarn that it multi-tonal, and to try other different coloured stripe sequences, or maybe knit the sleeves in a different colour to the body, or try a more intricate colourwork pattern like zigzags... Ooh, lots of possibilities!