I thought it might be time for a round-up of all the little jumpers I have so far designed for the hairier 4-legged people in our family. It’s been a while since I did, and the woolly family has grown since then, so let’s gallop down Memory Lane with a quick refresher of the story so far. (I’ll add links to the patterns in case you fancy a go yourself).
It started with the Juno Jumper. Don’t let her looks fool you – she’s a) a princess and b) feisty as all hell. But butter wouldn’t melt in this shot, huh?
Then I was asked by Loveknitting to design and knit some little sweaters for Simon Cowell’s pups for a Christmas ITV special, which is where the Yorkie Christmas Jumper came in. (Have the pic of the man ‘imself, just to maximise my 15 seconds of fame 😉 )
And then, of course, I felt that Juno also needed a Christmas sweater, and the Juno Christmas Jumper was conceived.
And look, I’d kind of got the bug, ok? But I had guilt. After all, Juno isn’t our only furbaby. We have an enormous, gentle, but seriously-terribly-not-very-bright chocolate Lab called Aphrodite, or Aphy for short.
As a speedy aside, I recall one visit to the vet when I mentioned her, ahem, shall we say, slight deficit in the brains department? And the vet said “Yes. That’s chocolate labs, for you: heads full of fluffy pink balls”. At which point I decided it was best to just accept that she would never be graceful, would always fall over her own feet, would never learn that Juno doesn’t ever want to be her best friend, and that anything edible in the house that wasn’t under lock and key would be consumed. And some things that aren’t edible, too. Like Jenga. Most expensive dog chews I ever bought…
But I digress! It was Aphy’s turn, and she got The Lab Coat. Complete with buttons because I was worried about small holes and gangly legs:
And… because I had some of the yarn left, and because I felt a bit matchy-matchy, Juno needed one, too. But in reverse, of course. So… And Juno Too!
Since the original one – the Juno Jumper right at the top – has proved to be my best-selling pattern so far and is the simplest of them all, I thought it was time a bigger version, modified for bigger legs and chests, was available. And the Juno’s Friend Jumper is now published. This one is made in Paintbox wool-mix super-chunky.
Me: What colour do you think will best suit Aphy? I’ve already used a lovely yellow…
I think we can all agree, we’re not going to lose her in the dark! 🙂
So: if you share pictures of your Alice in Knittingland dog sweaters on instagram or Facebook (links at the top) and tag me or the sweaters – e.g. #thejunojumper – they will appear in my stories and go into my highlights. I just LOVE seeing your furry friends in their new threads.
Happy knitting, lovelies ❤
PS If you are interested in receiving all the patterns, tutorials or ebooks I create as soon as they are created, you might consider becoming a Patron. You can find more information over here. Aphrodite’s Juno’s Friend Jumper pattern is already there and available for download as soon as you sign up, and here is a sneak peak at two patterns which will be appearing there in the very near future:
Could it really be my third (is it third, or is it fourth??) post on the same pattern? I guess it could. But the thing is, you see, once you’ve designed it, knitted it, written it up… then the pressure’s off and you get to play.
So, as you saw in my last post, I’ve been playing with some bold and striking combos. This grey-black gradient, with the red-orange-brown has produced something I think is rather spectacular…
You saw the first sock, last time:
but before I post the next picture, check out the colours on those balls of wool – the point I’d got to before casting on the next.
What I think is rather spectacularly beautiful is that as striking as the first sock is, the second looks like its long-lost brother – left on a windowsill for a decade until its rediscovering has reunited it with its counterpart, still as fresh as a daisy. Whilst our windowsill sock looks like a sepia photograph of the original.
So, now that I’m done with the waxing lyrical, take a peek:
Also, gasp in wonder at how wonderfully well they match my kitchen table. 😉
Of course, they still look awesome with my Duckfeet boots
So… which are your favourites? I have to confess, I’m pretty hard-pushed to decide:
Well, here’s how this story goes: I have a dress. It’s one of my favourites. Covered in owls, in autumn tones. And I always wear it with boots.
Here it is:
I bought it in Norwich, back when I lived in Norfolk around 7 years ago. A spontaneous, impulse buy that paid off as I’ve worn it to death over the years and love it still.
And I fancied a pair of bobble socks in the right kind of colours to match it. I also fancied trying these ones with two balls of Lang Merino + Color rather than a different kind of aran wool, as I then plan to reverse the colours for another pair. See? There’s method to my apparent madness 😉
Well, I’m REALLY pleased with how the first one has turned out and am, as we speak, casting on the second.
Can’t wait to finish and wear them with my owls. (The colours, for those interested in this colourway, are 68 and 5).
We have had our first snow of the winter! Well, the first snow that has hung around. And whilst I HATE driving in it, especially when I have 5 chicks spread far and wide, I blooming LOVE the effects, and every outing, whether it’s a school-run or a walk, is an excuse to drag along the camera.
This was the first school-run of this morning’s three 🙂
Anyway, I digress.
Last week, in the midst of course of various other millions of started-and-not-finished projects, I realised that my little Ted was the only one not currently in possession of a pair of gloves. Fortunately, the extremely chilly walk on which I discovered this – at Derwent Reservoir in January – I had brought along my Seaglass Mittens as well as my own gloves, so Ted had those for the day. They were, of course, ridiculously big.
The temperature was plummeting and snow being threatened promised left, right and centre, so it became my handbag knitting, dragged from pillar to post and giving me the excuse to sit and wait from time to time.
(Whimsical aside: one of the reasons I love knitting so much, apart from being thoroughly addicted to yarn of all descriptions, is that it is one of the only ways I am able to force myself to slow down. I’m a massive fan of slow living, but with five sons, autism in the family, a house half-renovated, and several businesses to run, it’s not the easiest. So when I can, I’ll sit and knit, and I find the slow, methodical, rhythmical creation of perfect identical stitches utterly meditative. It’s the very best therapy.)
So, car-knitting. I’m designated driver, so car-knitting only happens when I’m waiting. But thanks to over-running after-school clubs, late buses, and teenagers not answering their phones, I manage to fit in a fair bit whilst stationary.
That one gives you a nice close-up of the cubics, doesn’t it? I’m quite a fan.
I sewed in the last of the ends at around 11pm last night. And somewhere around 2 or 3am the snow arrived.
And Teddy walked to school in his mittens. Delighted. But probably mostly because of the snow.
Me? Mostly because of Teddy ❤
(These will fit most kids and dainty adult hands. Teddy is 8 years old).
Cast on 40 stitches Ramble.
K2, P2 rib for about 2 inches, then knit around 4 times.
Begin the thumb increases:
K18, place marker, K1fb, K1fb, place marker, K20
K around Plume, slipping markers when you get to them
K to marker, slip it, K1fb, K to 1 stitch before marker, K1fb, slip marker and K to end
Repeat these last two rows until you have 14 stitches between the markers, ending on a Ramble row.
With Plume, K to first marker and place the 14 thumb stitches on scrap yarn, cast on 2, K to end. (You’ll have 40 stitches in all again).
Now alternate rows between Ramble and Plume until you are about an inch from the top of your fingers. (For Ted, this was 19 rows of Plume altogether).
Begin the decreases:
With 20 stitches on each needle for front and back:
K1, SSK, K to three before end, K2tog, K1. Repeat for the next 20.
K around all stitches.
When you have 20 stitches left, bind off using the Kitchener stitch.
For the thumb:
Using Ramble, pick up the 14 stitches from the scrap yarn and pick up 2 from the gusset. K around until you reach the top of your thumb. Then k2tog around (8) And again (4), then sew through the live stitches, pull together and sew in ends.
… it needs a better name. The Polar Bear Jumper…? Nah. Although (don’t tell him), he is a bit of a bear, and the older he gets, the more polar he looks 😉
The name question stays on the drawing board for now.
What I realised was that this was (shamefully) a WIP for oh-so-very-much-too-long. Inexplicably, I had actually got it to the point where there was only half a sleeve left to knit, put it down, and not picked it back up for about TWO YEARS?!? I mean, I know I’m a bit of a project magpie (ooh, the shiny new yarn! ooh, let’s have a crack at THIS! ooh, I neeeeeed to make THIS, right NOW!) you get the point, but this was pushing prevarication to its very limits.
And then I never actually shared with you the fact that I had finally finished. One picture on Instagram passed by with barely a nod.
But I DID finish. And it fits him beautifully, and he has actually WORN it this winter. Quite a lot. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is the mark of something he actually likes. 😉
So without further ado, or too much of a flourish, here he is, posing beautifully outside my perfectly blue house.
I did write it all down as I designed and knitted it (I’m a make-it-up-as-I-go-along sort of designer. Intuitive rather than mathematical, if that makes sense) but I haven’t written it all up formally yet. It’s rather a job, and I’ve got all my charts to map up etc. I will though, as I’ve had quite a few enquiries about it. Just let me catch my breath 😉
Anyway. Another WIP turned to FO and a sigh of relief, a big smile and a large gin.
It’s a joy and a blessing when the small people you’ve spent years running around after are at last able to begin to fend for themselves and, even better, to help around the house.
Dishwashers emptied, washing up done, sitting room tidied and hoovered… A total gift. And a blessed relief.
There’s a sore point about to be made and I’m sure you have already figured it out. It seems that every post I make at the moment mentions my Beauteous Boot Socks. There’s a very good reason for that. I love them. I love them so much that I knitted myself about 5 pairs over the last couple of winters. Indeed, if you click on the link, you will see that the photograph for the pattern itself is the very pair in question.
You don’t need words, though. You just need this picture:
Yup, that’s the very same pair. *le sigh*
See… when your darlings start putting on the laundry, it’s worth mentioning to them that wool – you know, proper wool – shrinks. It’s also worth NOT putting said wool in the family laundry basket when you’ve taught them how to use the machine, and asked them to put a load on.
How on earth only ONE made it into the machine is another question entirely.
So now, I have one delightfully soft and fluffy boot sock, and one tiny, stiff, very thick felted… thing. Don’t get me wrong, I still find it quite beautiful, but what to do with it??
Well, it started with a gulp, a pair of scissors and:
It then progressed to the 1950s PFAFF sewing machine we recently acquired for peanuts on eBay:
Next was a decorative button and magnetic popper and… voila!
My new handbag phone-sock is born.
I think it’s a thing of beauty and I guess I’m just going to have to shrink the other sock, right?
As for my plans for the bottom of the sock, oh, yes! I have some. But I had to order something to make it work, which will take a little while to arrive, and, to quote my husband, it is a bit bonkers. (At least, he thinks so 😉 ) When the time comes, I’ll let you decide ❤
You see, in the summer, I’m in flipflops, and autumn, winter, spring, I’m in boots. I’m not sure I actually possess any shoes.
And in the winter I get chilly tootsies, I’m afraid, so big chunky boot socks are the way forward for me.
And we know I’m a Mama, too, right? And I have some rather fabulous teenagers who, I am delighted to say, have been helping me with the laundry.
See, the thing is… Well… Put it this way: Note to self – Don’t put wool socks in the general family laundry basket. Keep them separate and wash them myself. I am now the proud owner of some very tiny, thick, heavily felted boot socks. Which, I confess, are a thing of beauty in themselves, but entirely useless when it comes to wearing them now… sigh.
So, it was time for a pair of superwash socks, which even if they are put in the machine a bit hot, are far less likely to end up quite so tiny.
I had this really gorgeous yarn in my stash (I do love colour-changes, as you may have noticed) Lang Yarns Merino+ Color which is pure merino. One of my favourites. And I had some Drops Nepal, too, which only occurred to me rather too late was something that will also shrink (I’m a little tired, I confess, which often leads to a rather slower brain 😉 ) so having put a little research in, I would suggest Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (also a superwash) in Citrus to match the ones I made.
This weekend, like most just now, has been a bit gruelling. My youngest needs meds through the night, 3-hourly, and I couldn’t get back to sleep after the 3am dose. My lovely husband is off in the woods with his bushcraft buddies on their monthly trip, so I turned on the light and got on with my socks, Netflix and headphones. And having started them yesterday lunchtime, by lunchtime today they were finished so they’re a fairly speedy knit, too (though I don’t recommend the crazy early starts if you have the option to snooze merrily till the sun is well and truly up).
In other news, I’ve got to the heel-turning point on my second Toast sock, so I’ll be updating you on those in the not-too-distant, though I’m rather hoping for a better night tonight, so it may be a few days yet, fingers crossed!
Right – back to school-runs, teatimes, the daily grind and squeezing in a few stitches where I can.