Allow Me to Show Off Just a Little...

Posted by Eleanor Burke on

Eleanor, a fat, white woman with short brown hair walks towards the camera with her arms up in the air putting her cross body bag on. She's wearing a beige, navy, blue and purple fairisle jumper, a black skirt and bright pink tights. There's a lot of energy to the photo.


So, Dr Chris is working over in Sweden at the minute and so I've been thinking of knitting him something lovely in wool for a little while. Two (now three...) weeks ago, I got chatting to a gorgeous customer about fairisle projects, I can't even remember what was said honestly but she totally inspired me and I cast something on that very night! I knew I wanted to do a top down, I knew I wanted it to be based on the navy colour in the King Cole Wool Aran and the rest was... anybody's guess really. 

I think my vague plan was to have the Midnight (that navy colour) running all the way through and then bright sparky other colours as motifs throughout but the colours I chose weren't really right for that - the beige would have worked but the purple and the blue wouldn't have popped so I thought back to my most successful jumper that I've ever made for Chris and I thought I'd retake inspiration from that. 

Dr Chris, a white man with very little hair and a beard stands at a funny angle with his arms outstretched in front of a painted white, brick wall. He's wearing a fairisle jumper in shades of blue.

Isn't he handsome?! *heart eyes emoji* 

I knew I didn't want the checkerboard thing but the way I introduced the colours in that really worked I think. I've done a beautiful piece of artwork to try and show you how I did that: 

A series of squiggles on a white background. They're in different, contrasting colours in the set up described in the paragraph below.

But also, maybe I should explain because I am actually not a graphic designer and I'm not sure how well that shows what happened...

The first strip is A - B - A - B - A

The second strip is B - C - B - C - B

The third strip is C - D - C - D - C

and then you can reintroduce A again for D - A - D - A - D

Does that make any sense at all???? I think I used five colours for the original jumper but that example and this new jumper only had four. 

So I wanted to use all the colours, two at a time, in a sequence that introduced each colour in order and repeated throughout the jumper. But by the time I had done the first motif - the navy into beige - and then the next combo - the beige into the lighter blue - and I started into the third combo - the lighter blue with the purple - I was like..... noooooooope. Not working. Maybe I would have worked that out if I'd have bothered with a swatch but here we are and here I am and do as I say not as I do. I decided to pull back that third motif and make beige the background and add the colours as motifs throughout.

I also realised that the motif I'd chosen for the lighter blue on the beige receded quite a bit compared to the boldness of the triangles, I love the boldness of those triangles! I first used them in my version of the Oranje many many moons ago and I'd put them in basically every fairisle I've made up since then! 

Eleanor, a fat white woman with grungy, greeny, bluey hair stands on a street with her hands on her hips. She's wearing a longlish, black summer dress with flip flops and a bright orange cardigan with a black and white fairisle yoke.

I decided to do some purple triangles pointing the other way and repeat the smaller motifs in the lighter blue in between to give the lighter blue more 'airtime' as it were. I think it worked really well. I had a few motifs in my brain already but I also scoured some stitch dictionaries I had. 

A close up of the fairisle

By the time I got to the split for the arm - which I did whilst I was on the plane - I kind of knew that the shape that I'd chosen wasn't going to work for Chris. I used the cast on, increase and a version of the short row shaping from this pattern here (it's a ravelry link, I can't find anything else, sorry!). 

A fairisle yoked jumper, main colour beige and motif sort of bluey purple.

It was a bit of a risk using the pattern as I think the shape of it is quite boxy and I always think of that as more feminine but Dr Chris isn't exactly masculine so I thought it would be a good (and free!) starting place. After the initial cast on and the first few sets of increases I rarely look at the pattern anyway. What I definitely did wrong was choosing the size, I just went too big I think, so what was already pretty boxy was obviously, by the time I split for the sleeves an oversized almost sort of poncho type shape. I carried on but by then I was pretty sure that I'd be having it for myself. 

The length was going to be set by the motifs actually, because I needed the bottom rib to be in the navy and I think it would have looked weird to have any other transition than the beige into the navy. I was a bit worried that would be too short for Dr Chris so I made him try it on when I was still working the second to last motif and it was just so obvious that this jumper wasn't for him - length or not. The yoke was too baggy and poncho-y and the pattern and colour was too jazzy. So I knew at that point that it was for me WHICH WAS GREAT BECAUSE......

The inside of a beige, navy, blue and purple fairisle.

(Isn't the inside of fairisle just the best?!)

It meant I could make the sleeve motifs different from the body motifs!!!! There's no way I would have done that for Dr Chris, not that he would have noticed, but I can do whatever I like for myself - AND I DID! 

A close up picture of Eleanor wearing a fairisle jumper with different motifs on the sleeves and body. It's not massively obvious but it's enough and it's cute!

The arm lengths were also defined by the same parameters but luckily, they're in just about the perfect place for me. 

I sewed in the ends and blocked the whole thing just about a week after I cast it on which is pretty good going for me at the moment, but it does mean I should get back and get some other things finished (I'm just about finished on something I started around about a year ago so watch this space). 

This is the second time I've worked with the Wool Aran - I've got a tank top that I started in the purple some time ago but it's not finished and I took some of the purple to finish this so that won't get done for another week or so at least as I need to order more. From the first minute I started knitting with this yarn I knew I loved it. It's really filling a hole that's been missing for a long time. It's got such a beautiful handle too it - lots of body, almost a little crunchy, but with a softness and a drape that feels wonderful to wear. It's a perfect aran - smack bang in the middle, not too thick and not too thin. I enjoyed doing this colourwork in it, it's not splitty at all and it flows so beautifully in my continental hand unlike some more slubby yarns. I think the colours are great and I'm already thinking about the jumper I might actually make for Dr Chris - back to navy but with bold strips of colourwork motifs in the brighter colours - reds, mustards, creams, even the magenta. MMMMMMMMMMMM. 

Four balls of King Cole Wool Aran laid on a table - colours are mustard, red, magenta and deep, deep navy.

And that's your lot. Loved knitting this, loved writing this. 

Love Eleanor. xxx

P.s. If you're not on our instagram or facebook then you won't have access to my delightful self timed photos of me and Dr Chris but here's a little snippet.

Eleanor and Dr Chris, a fat, white couple kiss and embrace on dry looking grass with a lovely blue sky.

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