My newest sweater. Valdres in DROPS Karisma

I do love a big slouchy sweater at this time of year, with plenty of room for layers underneath when it gets cold. This was my most recent big project: the Valdres sweater from DROPS. – I took a break from it a few times to knit other things but kept going back to it. I like to start something like this early in the year, take regular breaks to do other things and work through the summer so it’s ready to wear in the winter, without having to hurry.

I found it in a magazine but the pattern is available free online on the DROPS website. I used the recommended DROPS Karisma yarn (100% wool DK) which was lovely to work with and feels quite soft against the skin compared with some pure wool yarns I’ve used. This was worked in the same main shade as the pattern illustration (Light Oak -77) but I used different contrasting colours (Dark Purple – 76, Cerise – 13, Blue turquoise – 60)

The sweater is knitted bottom up, in the round – Nordic style, and alternates colour work and texture patterns – perfect for people like me who hate sewing up. If you haven’t tried this construction before, there are three sections, knitted on circular needles: the body (large tube) and two sleeves (narrower tubes). The components are eventually combined on one large circular needle to work the yoke, decreasing to form a raglan, up to the neck (leaving out the underarm sections, which are sewn closed at the end) – love it.

I knitted it a size larger to accommodate t-shirts underneath. The only downsides were that the sleeves were quite long even though I’d shortened them to accommodate my short arms! – The pattern charts vary for the different sizes. Maybe I misread the pattern! Also the neck opening is quite large, so I usually wear a scarf with it – I have a cerise one that is perfect! You also need to make sure that the colour work sections are not worked too tight – the pattern recommends using a larger needle size to overcome this.

It was fun to make, once I got the hang of reading the the colour and texture pattern charts. It really kept me engaged as it changed from colour to texture. That also provided plenty of milestones along the way to look forward to (my heart sinks when a pattern tells you to continue straight for 40cm!). As I like to take my knitting out and about, I found the body got quite bulky to carry round as it grew, so I started a sleeve for knitting on the go – much more portable!

I’ve worn it loads, getting a lot of compliments which always feels good!

Do you have a new favourite sweater?

I really do knit by the sea!

a spot of seaside knitting today.

It finally stopped raining so I joined K and the dog at Alnmouth today. I’m not good at walking on sand so decided to take a few pics for the blog. I love to sit and watch the sea (sometimes knitting at the same time). The view changes so rapidly. The carpark at Alnmouth overlooks the beach so it’s a perfect vantage point. We love it in the winter as there are fewer picnickers (Buddy the labrador is very greedy).

The sea was rough today and the tide was in. Usually there is a good view of Coquet Island from here but the weather was too murky to see it.

Tank traps from WWII

The waves have washed a lot of sand away and the old tank traps are easy to see here. These concrete cubes are found at lots of places along this coast – they were defences against enemy landing craft, left over from World War Two. Today some children were having fun climbing on them. In summer they are a great place to dry wet swimming towels, but nobody was venturing into the water today!

I’m on the next stage of the stash busting blues project, having done lots of maths last night to work out the transition from the collar to the body and the shaping increases for the next part of the pattern. It’s pretty straightforward for the rest of it if all goes to plan, so it was bliss to just be mesmerised by the waves and get on with my knitting!