Yesterday was the photoshoot for my next book. ‘Born & Bred’ is a joint project with baa ram ewe, the world-famous Leeds yarn shop. The book will feature 9 designs by me knitted in wool from Yorkshire sheep breeds. These include Wensleydale, Swaledale, Masham, and Whitefaced Woodland. It was therefore very appropriate that we had the photoshoot on location at Masham Sheep Fair.
Verity Britton, the passionate joint owner of baa ram ewe, was photographer again. She has a great instinct for powerful picture compositions, and I’m delighted with the images she created yesterday.
One of the most popular designs amongst folk on the shoot was a swan-yoked jumper knitted in Wensleydale wool. You’re welcome to guess at the jumper’s name, which inspired my design. I’ll give you the clue that, like everything else in the book, it has a very Yorkshire origin.
This jumper has a very unique construction which I’ve not seen in anybody else’s designs. When I talked about this yesterday, Verity said I should make more noise about this, and about all the other things that make my designs special. With typical British modesty I find that difficult! I’ll do my best though…
This jumper, whose name begins with a W, has a circular yoke. Normal thus far; there are a lot of jumpers that feature stranded circular yokes. However, very few of them have a scooped front neck, and as far as I know, only 1 by another designer scoops the neck with short row shaping below the stranded pattern (Chickadee by Ysolda Teague). This method means that the stranded pattern is high on the back, but flatteringly curves down toward the bust on the front. In fact, the way I have arranged the neck shaping on W means that the scoop is deeper in the larger sizes where a very scooped front neck is particularly flattering.
Because the stranded pattern in W is reasonably short, it finishes at the shoulder point. This makes it possible to stop the circular yoke construction here and switch to a ‘simultaneous set-in sleeve’ construction. Having checked through circular yoke jumpers in the Ravelry database, I believe this combination (circular yoke with seamless set-in sleeves) is currently unique to me. I often hear knitters saying they love seamless circular yokes, yet need set-in sleeves to suit their particular figure type. Here is my answer!
Of course, from a designer’s point of view creating an excellent pattern involves much, much more than simply determining a construction method. A lot of maths goes into making a construction work across a range of sizes (this pattern is written for 32–58 inch chests!). Key measurements in generating the numbers for this construction are back width, top sleevecap width, upper arm circumference, bust circumference, and armhole depth. There are also considerations re appropriate amounts of ease at each of these points to take into account. Thank God for spreadsheets!
The sample was made to fit our beautiful model, Ruby. She looked fabulous in it and has begged her Mum, Verity’s business partner Jo, to knit one for her to keep!
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