Saturday, 10 September 2016

All's Fair

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.

21 comments:

Patio Postcards said...

Such a lovely warm story. You are not only a knitter of wool but of words, each thought & feeling graciously stitched together. The sweater is such a lovely shade of blue & mauve & I am sure She will treasure.

alexa said...

So very nicely written. And I hope when your young lady receives it, she'll have a copy of the back story too :).

Maggie said...

Beautiful story and she will treasure it.

Lizzy Hill said...

GORGEOUS post. LOOOOOVE the story. GLORIOUS sweater. The colour and the subtle patterning is divine. Still don't get the knitting. Still puts me into a cold sweat. Finally sent the cardigan I started knitting Tom 20 years ago [yeah, a stupid 'love' job...you know, first throws of luuuurve thing!!!]...... to the op shop. With pattern, needles and wool. In the canvas knitting bag. Maybe someone like you will pick it up & give it some finishing off. So relieved to be able to ditch it finally. Felt guilty for YEARS not getting to finish it.... but no more;)!!!

Karen said...

It's hard to know which is more beautiful---the sweater or the story. One of the best things about blogging is now the story is recorded.

Susanne said...

Awww, sweet story so wonderfully told.

Jennifer Shaw said...

Such a beautiful sweater. Love the soft purple.

debs14 said...

So beautiful. The story you've told and the masterpiece you've knitted.
You inspired me to try socks, but I'm not sure I could ever manage something like this. You are an amazing knitter!

Ali said...

It's looking gorgeous and such a lovely post too xx

helena said...

beautiful squared. I love the strands of inspiration that are woven through crafting - we were talking at my crochet group today about the first craft at school we could remember and its impact. Have you seen the colourway knitting magic of Kaffe Fassett?

Mitra Pratt said...

So very lovely! Made my early Sunday morning to read your blog and feel the satisfaction from here!

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

It's so beautiful Sian. I love looking at Kate Davies' blog as well, even though I don't knit! I featured her clever owl design on my blog a few years ago, when I used to do the 5 Things posts.

Barbara Eads said...

I see what you did there with all of those "Fairs"! Love the sweater and the subtle shading. It looks soft from here!

Lizzie said...

Hello Sian, what a lovely story. I had a favourite sweater too, a Fair Isle design, knitted by my mother. She wasn't an expert knitter and it cost her much time, effort and patience, but what an amazing result! I really appreciated it then - I do still, though I have no memory of what happened to that wonderful Fair Isle cardigan...
I'm sure your daughter will love to wear her own special jumper, knitted just for her, by her own special mother. What a gift - all the time and love that goes into such a thing is even more special than the thing itself.
And for you, the satisfaction of achieving what you so wanted to do. A gift that you earned by your own hard work, that you have earned for yourself.

Jo said...

I really love this post and feel like I have time travelled with you! That is a really lovely sweater with great colours x

Susan said...

Thanks for taking me back to my high school days and my love affair with the fair isle sweaters that were all the rage back then. I can still see my favorite pink one...

alexandra s.m. said...

What a beautiful post!
The sweater is gorgeous Sian! Bravo!

Ruth said...

That jumper is so beautiful and you are very talented.

Melissa said...

It's absolutely lovey & such beautiful memories to go along with it!

Lisa said...

This is so beautiful. I 'can' knit - if you call the fingerless gloves I made as a teenager and promptly wore every single minute of every day, much to my teachers' annoyance - but in reality I can't! And therefore, I'm in awe of just how gorgeous it is. I'd love to own something as beautiful as this. Just gorgeous

Missus Wookie said...

Oh that is lovely - and what great memories are woven in with the love and colours. As I'm reading backwards, I'm delighted it went with her to Uni.

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