I'm sitting balanced on the arm of the chair beside the range and I'm dreaming of the dress my Mum is knitting for me: a soft fawn colour, with a band of bright pattern worked in. Later, there were others: a spring yellow pleated skirt and a top with daisies on, a smokey blue sweater dress with cables stretching up the front, but the first one was always my favourite. That pattern, the Fair isle.
|Yoke sweater Nordic Summer (a free pattern from Drops Design) knitted in Drops Alpaca|
I'm sitting on my bed, now: a teenager flipping through the pages of a Christmas present book : Vogue: More Dash Than Cash, which I read and reread in place of spending any money at all, for I have very little. I'm stopping again at the page I always linger by: a spread of linen and crsip cotton outfits, with a delicately patterned cardigan arranged on top. Fair isle.
Now I'm a grown up and I receive a message from a friend, who points me in the direction of a blog she thinks I might like (Kate Davies Designs. Thank you Julie). I scroll through screen after screen of beautiful knitwear. I learn about colourwork and I long to be able to reproduce the patterns I see appearing, one after the other, for sweaters with yokes which frame the face with bands of colour and pattern and neat, firm stitches.
More than a year later, I make a start. I have been knitting socks, not realising, when I begin, that the techniques I gather will push me on to where I've always wanted to be..
..knitting those stitches, feeling the fabric firm up under my needle as the yarn weaves along the back with a satisfying pattern of its own. This sweater teaches me more about what I need to learn next; but, for now, it's soft and pretty and she likes it. She'll take it with her when she goes. I reach for my new handbook, Kate Davies' Yokes. I have a way to go.