Amazing Boreal cardigans

One of the most rewarding aspects of this very rewarding job is seeing folk happily wearing the stuff that you’ve designed. I particularly enjoy seeing knitters’ inventive modifications of my work, and recently came across three versions of my Boreal sweater that are so wonderful that I just had to show you.

Here are friends Shannon, Maggy, and Carol looking completely amazing in their Boreal cardigans. Each size of the Boreal design is totally symmetrical down a central axis . . .

. . . this symmetry makes it really easy to convert into a cardigan. You just add a few stitches to the centre of the body charts, work them in a striped or checkerboard steek sequence, cut the front up the middle when you’re done, and then add button band edgings. Shannon, Carol and Maggy also modified the design by knitting it in the opposite direction to the way it is written — top down.

Again, this is much easier to do than one might think: its simply a matter of turning the charts upside down (each size has its own separate set of charts), and working in the opposite direction, reversing the shaping instructions. I really like the neat side pockets that Carol and Maggy have added to their cardigans.

But what I love most of all about Shannon, Maggy and Carol’s modified Boreals is that they are theirs. Each seems to have selected a palette that perfectly suits their colouring; each cardigan looks totally different, but each completely suits its respective wearer. To see knitters happy in beautiful sweaters makes me happy — particularly when they have been produced and modified from my design.

Shannon, Carol, and Maggy kept careful notes about the modifications they made, which you can see on ravelry (follow the links to see their individual project pages).

Thanks so much, Shannon, Carol and Maggy for allowing me to share these photos!

Boreal giveaway!

Would you like to win a kit to knit up your own Boreal sweater over the holidays? Well, my nice friends at Artesano are providing the yarn for you to do just that! One lucky winner will be able to select their own colourway from Artesano’s great range of aran shades, and I’ll send you the pattern. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite thing about Winter. We’ll announce the winner on the 20th December. Good luck, everyone!

COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED! JENNIFER HAS WON!

B o r e a l

We had a lovely day out in the Highlands today. Bruce loves a good walk up there – though, as you can see, he is not a fan of sitting still and posing for a photo.

Would you like to see what I’ve got on underneath that jacket?

Boreal — my new design!

Two years ago, just before Christmas, we were out walking on the same West Highland hillside. I spent several happy hours tramping through the snow, photographing trees and undergrowth, and marveling at their transformation in the frozen landscape. You can see those photographs in this post. I was particularly transfixed by the effects of snow on the branches of fallen trees . . .

. . . and I decided then that I’d like to knit something inspired by those West-Highland conifers and their snow-covered branches. Two years later, this is the result.

Boreal is knit in Artesano Aran, a well-spun, hard-wearing 50/50 wool-alpaca blend. It is one of my favourite aran-weight yarns, and is superb for Winter colourwork, as it makes a lovely dense, warm fabric. I knit this dress from it a couple of years ago, which is still going strong, and still looks great. There’s a good range of Wintery colours, so it was an ideal choice for this sweater.

Boreal is knit from the bottom-up, and uses a modified seamless yoke construction.

The sizing covers a 32″ to a 50″ bust. I’m wearing my sweater with a couple of woolly layers underneath, and about 2.5″ positive ease. It is really warm, exceptionally cosy, and quite possibly ludicrously seasonal.

It makes me feel jolly, anyway.

I’ve spent over a month working away on this sweater and its pattern, and I confess to being very pleased with the finished result in both knitted and written form. The pattern has been tech edited by the brilliant Jen-Arnall Culliford, and test knitted by the equally brilliant Melanie Ireland. I hope to show you some photos of Mel’s rather different Boreal sweater very soon! Anyway, if you’d like to make your own, the pattern is now available here or here.

It was so nice to be out in the hills today – I do love a good Winter walk. We had a grand one, and our day concluded with some suitable refreshment from what has to be one of the best places to buy beer in Scotland.

Slainte!

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