My Return To Knitting, Inspired By The Taking A Break Sweater By Debbie Bliss


Why am I posting about knitting an Aran sweater in July, you may ask? Has she gone mad?! 

The answer, of course, is that knitting can take a long time (especially with a complicated pattern), so it’s always best to start early.  If you don’t do that, then you run the risk of the season being over before you have finished!

This was to be my first knitting project in some fifteen years, maybe more. Was it going to be like riding a bike, I wondered? I certainly hoped it would be; but, either way, I knew it was time to get back in the saddle.

THE WOOL

I searched through my stash of wool, carefully organising and documenting what I had left. 

For this first project, I chose some Rowan Magpie wool in a lovely soft shade of green. I have to admit that I am in love with Rowan yarns: they have fabulous colours and they knit-up beautifully. It is basically an Aran-weight, knitted on 4.5-5 mm needles. I had used it in the past, and so was familiar with it and the possible outcome. 

Rowan Magpie
FINDING THE RIGHT PATTERN

I also have a stash of old Rowan knitting pattern books, which were the obvious first choice when looking for a pattern designed for that yarn. 

Sadly, I either found that I had knitted the pattern before (and I did not want to repeat myself), or that I did not have enough wool for the task. 

I therefore threw myself onto the mercy of internet and searched for a suitable pattern for the weight and quantity of wool that I had.

I was soon well and truly down the Pinterest rabbit hole, and I was quickly overloaded with options. Not a bad position to be in really, and I was thankful to have so much choice. 

One of my favourite knitwear designers is Debbie Bliss, and I found the perfect pattern for free on Love Crafts:

https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-gb/p/cable-panelled-sweater-in-debbie-bliss-blue-faced-leicester-aran

There are also reviews and information for the sweater on Ravelry:

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/taking-a-break

KNITTING THE SWEATER

At first, I was a little daunted by the pattern, largely because I had not knitted for so long. However, once I had gone through all the pattern panels, the design quickly fell into place.

It is all very intuitive, and you are soon knitting without needing to look at the pattern at all. You can clearly see, as you knit, what the next logical row is. It was so relaxing to knit this jumper, that it was difficult to put down. I found that I was looking forward to an evening of TV with my knitting once again! 

PATTERN ADJUSTMENTS

I am not tall (just 5’1”) and so I shortened the sleeves by 4 cm. However, if I made” the sweater again, I would do so by at least 6-8 cm. 

The only thing that I did not like about the sweater was the neckline. It seemed too low, and so I reduced the curve of the neckline by knitting a further 4 cm, approximately, before shaping the neckline. This then simply eliminated the need to knit further on the side sections, to measure the same as the back. 

Finally, I added a roll neck as opposed to the crew neckline (for me, this is going to be a cosy winter sweater to keep me warm in my Welsh winter months). I followed the instructions for casting-on, and simply kept knitting until the desired collar length seemed right. For me, this was around 7” or 18cm finished length. 

CONCLUSION

This is a great sweater pattern: one that I will certainly knit again and again. It is easy to knit once you are past the first 28 rows, and is really enjoyable. If you have some Aran-weight wool in your stash, then I certainly recommend giving it a go. 

Michele x

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(2) Comments

  1. Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.

    1. Thank you Mark for your words of encouragement.

      I am already in the process of a couple of projects. One is recycling an old sweater, which I am particularly enjoying.

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