Last year was quite a tough one, medically speaking, for me. I was put on a new tablet to fiddle with my hormones which resulted in quite bad side effects. One of the side effects was to put on 42 lbs of weight, within 6 months. I felt horrible and it took another 6 months to settle down with a new tablet that did not have the side effects. As you can imagine I was not happy with my weight gain, especially as I had already worked to hard to lose it in the first place after previous hormonal weight gain. Once my side effects settled down I went back to WeightWatchers, which worked so well for me before.
As a reward to myself for having worked really hard to lose my first 14 lbs, I decided to reward myself. For me exercise is nigh on impossible, so the only thing I can do to lose weight is to cut back on calories. Sometimes it can be very hard indeed so I really felt the need to reward all that hard work.
My reward to myself was of course yarn!
This yarn is Rowan's Colourscape Chunky in colourway 432 which I have had my eye on for quite some time. I have always liked the colour changes in this yarn but it was only once this colourway came into the shop did I have itchy fingers. I was dying to get this yarn on my needles and didn't know how to justify buying more than one skein at the extortionate price of £11.95 a skein. I usually spend that amount on a whole project so you can see why I resisted for so long. Then I found the perfect project that only used 4 skeins and it also happened to be in a magazine I had bought. It was in The Knitter, issue 9 and the pattern is Lily by Sarah Hatton. I do like Sarah Hatton's patterns and this is not the first time I have been drawn to her designs. The pattern originally comes from Rowan Colourscape Folk, which I haven't seen, so for once I was grateful that The Knitter re-publishes patterns.
I cast on this project on 3rd March and I took it off the blocking mat this morning, 11th March, so the whole project took just over a week, which is a very fast knit for me. I think one reason it was so fast was that I knit like a woman possessed. Like I said before, I love this yarn. It seems, to me, like the British Noro. Well it had the bits of dried grass in it like Noro often does. It also has the wonderful colour changes that Noro yarns do. These colour changes always draw me onwards to knit one more row to see what colour comes next. It makes even the most basic knit feel like an exciting adventure.
This waistcoat pattern is a clever design. It is knit in one piece and has a single seam, from the edge to the centre.
The waistcoat is one big circle with armholes in. The armholes are worked like two giant button holes and the edges are then picked up at the end to put a rib edging on. The top of the circle folds over to make a shawl collar and the front can be fastened with a shawl pin.
Or it can be left to fall open.
This style is very flattering, and I love the way it fits to the waist when it is held closed. I am so pleased with this quick and easy project and only had one problem, which was because I was so eager to knit I often missed the increase stitches. I got to around 20 rows and realised my mistakes. I ripped back the yarn until I had the correct numbers and then added stitch markers to mark where the increases were to be made. It really helped keep me on track and ruled out future mistakes of this kind.
The only thing I would have changed about this pattern is the seaming. I would have knit the circle in the round, which would have made the colour changes smoother. Trying to match up the colour changes evenly did create some problems for me, and the seam does make the back centre heavier. However that may have been the intention as it pulls the back downwards to help with the way the fabric hangs.
Very strangely I have ended up with a whole skein of yarn unused. I don't know how, as the next size down is supposed to use 4 skeins as well. Ah well, it is the right size so I can't complain and it leaves me with the extra luxury of deciding what to do with the spare skein. I feel an urge to felt with this yarn, which feels exceptionally extravagent, but it is technically free yarn as it was supposed to go in to the waistcoat.
I am so happy that as Spring approaches, I now have two lovely waistcoats to see me through to the Summer. I think I will be getting a lot of wear out of both of them.